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! This time pay even more attention because GRIMM and PICK YOUR POISON ventured into brewing their own concoction...
It is a bit difficult to review the beer you helped brewing. But since we are objective and critical reviewers we did our best to put our very first GRIMM beer, Óðrœrir, through the same rigorous tasting criteria as all other beers we have reviewed...
...but seriously, we loved it.
When I heard the kegs had arrived at Jeugdhuis Asgaard for the release party the next day I rushed over as fast as I could to try our beer with the rest of the brewing team. A reddish brown but clear beer topped off by a beige head filled up my glass. The aroma presented itself with light caramel, fruity hops and as somewhat bready. The first sips gave away a medium body with medium carbo. At the start you have a touch of roasted malts that, as a beer geek, I personally would have hoped to be a bit more intense. You notice the mead flavors developing, but nothing sweet or sticky at all. Instead you rather observe a certain depth being added to the beer without making it as strong as the pure mead that was used in the brewing process. The ending adds light and fruity hops to the palate. As a final point of improvement I personally would have hoped for a bit more body.
Overall, we can only say that Totem's brewer Klaas has succeeded in his mission. He created an accessible beer for all that can easily be drunk all night, while the beer geek can ponder about the complexity our house mead adds to the brew. This beers shows great potential to age because of its mead and complexity! So while we based this review on our first experiences on the young beer straight from the keg, I for one am really looking forward to taste the bottled version soon. And then to sip it again after some aging. Just so I can try it again, and again, and again...
The making of...
How do you approach creating your own beer fit for your own metal community? We've sure drunk our share of beers and reviewed or rated them, but we had to look at things from a completely different perspective this time. Obviously we wanted a brewer that resides around the area of Ghent and loves metal music. We soon found the perfect partners in crime with Klaas en Liesbeth of Totem. They like to brew beers that most other Belgians wouldn't. Among their creations are a Christmas tree IPA, a red stout, ... So we knew we could ask and expect something special for the first GRIMM beer.
But what style would our community prefer? After a few beer tastings events with our loyal volunteers we decided we wanted a beer with a pronounced flavor, not too high in alcohol so we can drink it all night in Jeugdhuis Asgaard, black as our souls and with a hint of the healing potion of the true vikings (mead!). With these instructions our brewer Klaas came up with the recipe for a braggot, which is basically the best of both mead and beer. Learn more about this historic style here. An excerpt:
The histories of beer and mead are intertwined in the cultural evolution of man. At some point, a clear genius married the qualities of mead and beer in a hybrid beverage known as braggot. The famous Hymn of Ninkasi, a pair of ancient Sumerian “drinking songs” paying homage to a brew goddess, highlights the process of making beer with the use of honey. Ruins uncovered in the 1950s from the tomb of King Midas revealed traces of malted barley, honey and grapes all in one drinking vessel. Dogfish Head would go on to recreate this beer and continue to sell it today.
We decided a beer inspired by vikings needs a viking name. Another reason we chose Totem as our partner is because they are currently releasing beers within a viking theme. So while 'a GRIMM beer' is perfectly acceptable to order your beer at the bar, you could also try to use its proper name 'Óðrœrir'. We presume that unless you know some Icelandic, this word might be hard to pronounce. So everything that slightly resembles 'Odroerir' will do. While the story of Óðrœrir has been hanging on the walls in Asgaard (the bar, not the viking afterlife) for a long time already, you can read through it here. An excerpt:
At the conclusion of the Aesir-Vanir War, the Aesir and Vanir gods and goddesses sealed their truce by spitting into a great vat. From their spittle they formed a being whom they named Kvasir. Kvasir was the wisest human that had ever lived; none were able to present him with a question for which he didn’t have a satisfying answer. He became famous and traveled throughout the world giving counsel.Kvasir was invited to the home of two dwarves, Fjalar and Galar. Upon his arrival, the dwarves slew Kvasir and brewed mead with his blood. This mead contained Kvasir’s ability to dispense wisdom, and was appropriately named Óðrœrir (“Stirrer of Inspiration”). Any who drank of it would become a poet or a scholar.
We hope that drinking lots of our Óðrœrir will help you gain the wisdom you seek! Or at least have great night out!
The label for Óðrœrir is in the housestyle of all the Viking beers by Totem. For the purpose of recognizability we added the logo of Jeugdhuis Asgaard in bright red in the center and GRIMM's logo more subtle in grey on the side. This way you will definitely know you have the right beer in your hand!
To find out how you can order and where you can taste our Óðrœrir beer please head over to this section of our website!