Bands, festivals and the lot are releasing branded booze by the dozens these days. GRIMM makes it its mission to get to the bottom (of the bottle) of this trend with insightful reviews and extra backgrounds. So sit back, PICK YOUR POISON, and discover all you need to know about your favorite band's alcoholic brands!
HappyFace Beers has been around since 2016 and are operating from Delft in The Netherlands. They're fans of metal and have been creating beers and a look that they think would appeal to that crowd. You can find them at Dutch metal festivals like Dynamo Metal Fest (for our report of the 2017 edition go here), Stonehenge and Into The Grave and there have been pictures going online of prominent metal bands sporting either a shirt of HappyFace Beers or actual beers on stage (or both).
Besides all of that they've created a range of special "metal brews" throughout their existence like:
- a Weizen IPA for the band Heritance on an album release party
- a Stout for the band Sinister on an album release party
- "Bomber", a Jack Daniels infused beer as tribute to the late Lemmy made for a memorial event
And most importantly their motto is: "Metal makes thirsty, bring on a HappyFace"
For this tasting we picked out the HappyFace IPA, if we can believe the brewer it should be a full IPA with a strong bitter note and a pronounced hoppy aroma because of the healthy addition of Citra hop during the lagering and inspired by English style beers. The added hops are Galena and Citra and they used Pils, Amber, Cara and Munich malts.
When we poured the beer in our glas we got a nice amber colour with a long lasting beige head and a rather cloudy appearance like you often get with IPA styled beers. The aroma brings scents you rather associate with darker beer styles than an IPA: toffee, coffee and roasted malts. It seems out of place, but definitely peeked our interest in how the taste will be like!
When we finally put our lips to the glass for a first taste, we get a medium body with medium carbonation. The flavour starts with biscuits which develops to earthy notes as resin but also obvious coffee notes. There are some sweet fruits to be found but they're mostly blown away by the coffee. We get a bitter end so I'd say it's worthy of the style IPA. The bitter punch at the end remains when the beer warms, which seems very important when you drink it on festival grounds. The punch can be blurred at times because of the many other flavours going on.
It's still a very atypical IPA with a somewhat warming feeling due to the flavors I associate with darker beers. Out of the top of my head I would say it reminds me of the American Spencer Trappist IPA but with much more coffee notes. What also feeds this comparison are the many negative comments this beer receives when you scroll through Untapp'd or Ratebeer. Most likely because it is different from what you expect from an IPA. I, on the other hand, would rather compliment the brewers on this experiment and challenge those intrigued with this out-of-the-box IPA to give it a try. In any way I can imagine leaning on the bar of a festival this IPA would stir a discussion.
For the packaging they kept it simple and clear. Central you can find the little "HappyFace" guy that is featured on as good as every beer that comes from this brewery. This way you can always recognize a HappyFace Beer from quite a distance. For every different beer they just adjust some small details to have at least something indicating which one you have in your hands. In this case for the IPA they adopted a green theme with the letters of "HappyFace IPA", the outline of the face and his pupils colored. For the rest they kept it black and sober with a dark grey image of a hop flower behind the face and "Hop" with on both sides another hop flwoer below the image. It's not necessarily the most original and exciting design, but makes it very recognizable and somehow we like their "mascot" and the small little details they add...
Keep an eye out for our article about some of their other beer like their "HappyFace Tripel"!