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!
Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y'all's neighborhood
And what a thriller night it was during Laugar's tap takeover at Beerlovers Bar in Antwerp! The brewers from Basque Country had brought 8 beers on tap and one in bottle for us beer geeks to savor. Little did we know, we would be treated with no less than two liquid musical tributes! And very dark ones as well... Let's get started with Thriller!
It's hard not to delve in immediately when we receive our glasses fresh from the Beerlovers tap. Thriller is a black beer with a beige coloured head. While we patiently wait to let the beer warm a bit to its recommended drinking temperature of 8 to 12 degrees, we are surprised we already get the promising aroma of a rich, toasted and full beer with chocolate and coffee. The first sips do not disappoint and deliver a full, yet slick mouthfeel with low carbonation. The coffee is present, but not overwhelming and in great balance with the toasted coconut flavors. For some the Thriller might be on the rather sweet side for a coffee stout. Somewhere along the taste process we also notice some nutty, earthy notes. I guess the brewers wanted to liquefy the ideas of zombies crawling from the ground like in Michael Jackson's music video?
Don't be mistaken. We know we have featured some reviews here for bands that wanted to commercialize a beer to have extra income. However, Laugar and Austmann's Thriller is pure craft and beer geek madness! The problem with tap takeovers and tasters is that your glass is empty way too quickly and you're off to taste the next one! Stay tuned for another one of Laugar's musical tributes coming to our column soon...
Since the beer was on tap we had to look up the artwork to make sure we were dealing with a tribute here. While the word 'Thriller' has been used for other beers as well, the artwork leaves no doubt that Michael Jackson's classic song was playing in the brewery. The stunning artwork was designed by Maite Diez and Crisiscreativa. Be sure to check out their other fantastic artworks for Laugar collabs inspired by the Kill Bill movies, The Big Lebowski and William Shakespeare. On the Thriller label we see zombie Michael in his iconic red jacket staring in front of him on the label. The drawing has a bit of an aquarel feeling. His jacket contains the patches of both collaborating breweries, Laugar and Austmann. Behind zombie Michael two blue, female figures strike the equally iconic dancing pose known from the Thriller video clip that changed how people looked at music videos forever. Take your time to re-visit the close to 14-minute short film below the review.
There are lots of other fun details to be found elsewhere on the label. First of all, the grabbing zombie hands return in the barcode of the bottle. Laugar proclaims it brews 'rebel beers', so they also added a 'rebel level' indicator on the bottle. The Thriller scores high with its 9,5% alcohol level and the addition of oat flakes, natural coconut essence and coffee, which is listed nicely along the side of the label. The brewers make sure you realize they are from the Basque Country and that they are are proud of that! We can see the ingredients are listed in Basque first, Spanish second and English third. Good to know for those who care about our furry or feathery friends: this is a vegan beer! Finally, the logos on the right side of the label kindly stimulate you to follow this cool brewery on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.