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!
We return once more to the Netherlands’ largest brewers. And by that we don’t mean Heineken, but rather HappyFace Beers! With their length of 2m23 and 2m14 it’s easy to spot the brothers Zwaan at every metal or beer festival. In fact, head brewer Rob Zwaan is officially the tallest Dutch! After we got surprised by their IPA during the summer, we couldn’t hold back and crack open their tripel. In case you forgot or missed our previous feature of the HappyFace brewers, let us quickly refresh your mind. These guys are operating from Delft in The Netherlands, they're huge fans of metal (both literally and figuratively speaking) 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 they have been creating some special edition brews especially for bands. We might get our hands on some of them soon, so keep your eyes open for future reviews of these Dutch brewers!
"Metal makes thirsty, bring on a HappyFace"
Warning: this beer contains some sediment, so pour carefully if you don't want (too much) of it in your glass! When refraining from pouring the sediment we get a lovely golden coloured beer with lively carbonation from the center of the glass. The white head diminishes but does not completely disappear. Delving in with the nose, herbal notes, grains and orange meets us. Overall, we get that familiar Belgian tripel aroma. In goes the first sip and we notice a mild carbonation on the tongue. The mouth feel is creamy and cereal. Already I can tell this is a very pleasant tasting experience. These Dutch brewers have clearly been inspired by some of Belgium's classics like Westmalle, Gouden Carolus or Tripel Karmeliet. The taste evolution is not that diverse, but what you get is delightful. The fruits lean towards apricot, pear and pineapple and other yellow fruits. The fruity sweetness remains together with wheat flavours. There is only a slight herbal or spiciness to recognize. Because of the hint of biscuits, I once again am reminded of the 'fruitpap', the blend of fruits and biscuits so many of us in Flanders ate as a baby. It's been since Mysticum's Cosmic Tripel that I had this.
When I look online to learn more about the beer, I discover the used malts are Pils and wheat, while Magnum, Chinook and Citra contributes the hop character. The beer's label informs us that orange zest and coriander were also added to the mixture. On Untappd the brewers recommend us to try it with and without the yeast sediment. When adding (part of) the yeast to the glass it mostly brings exactly that to the flavour profile. The yeasty taste really compliments the overall fruity sweetness of the tripel, as it often does with a brew of this calibre. We'd suggest you try to get at least 2 bottles if you get a 33 cl bottle or a big 75 cl bottle so you can give both ways a try!
Once again, we have the 'HappyFace guy', with its tongue-in-cheek-attitude and beard in the center of the label. Compared to the green accents of the IPA, this time yellow is the dominant color of the tripel. The mascot is always around with their beers and makes for a recognizable brand image, although it isn't the most exciting artwork out there. While the IPA says ‘Hop’ below the beer's name, the tripel's bottle says ‘XXX’. We’re guessing they are not referring to a porn movie, but rather the fact it's a tripel. While the logo remains largely the same overall the details make it fun to compare the bottles. We’ll not disclose all the different details we have discovered just yet, because we are pretty sure more HappyFace beers will pass our judgment on this column!