Everybody knows about celebrities endorsing or singing about different spirits and wines, but there are a few stars out there who have a love for craft beer.
Hall of Fame White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas has Big Hurt Beer, after his nickname in baseball. There are two styles; BHB Original, which is an imperial lager available in cans, and BHB MVP, an American lager available in bottles. It is brewed at Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, Wisconsin, and is distributed mostly in Chicago but has also gone to Alabama, California, Georgia, Nevada and Tennessee. The beer was featured at the Monterey Beer Festival and the Great American Beer Festival where I was very happy to meet Mr. Thomas and try his new beer.
In 2009 singer Kid Rock worked with Michigan Brewing Company to brew Badass American Lager, but soon after, the brewery went bankrupt and not much of the beer went to market. In August of 2013, Kid announced a comeback of the beer in the downtown Detroit area to be served on draft at shows and then canned and bottled at retail outlets throughout Michigan.
Pop group Hanson started Hanson Brothers Beer Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and brewed their flagship beer, Mmmhops, a pale ale style. It is widely distributed throughout Tulsa and Oklahoma City. They say with each bottle sale, the customer gets a free song and 10 percent of the proceeds go to Take The Walk, a non-profit company for clean water well-drilling in Africa.
Singer Jimmy Buffet started the very successful Margaritaville Brewing Company in St Louis, Missouri, to brew Land Shark Lager, which is distributed throughout the United States. For years the company has teamed up with Ocean Conservancy to participate in the annual International Coastal Cleanup to help clean up the world’s oceans and waterways.
Hall of Fame Chicago Bear running back Walter Payton’s son Jarrett, who played two seasons with the Titans and is now a recording artist and motivational speaker, has a single brew called The Swheatness – Jarrett Payton All-American Wheat Ale. It is brewed by Argus in Chicago. You can find The Swheatness at almost all ABCs. I was very happy to meet Mr. Payton at an Argus beer pairing in Jacksonville. He is a funny, energetic person with some great stories. We enjoyed his beer and other Argus brews with a wonderful dinner. Afterwards, he gave us a taste of his free styling.
Rock group KISS teamed up with Kronleins Bryggeri AB in Halmstad, Sweden to brew a German style pilsner called KISS Destroyer. It is distributed overseas for now in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and the UK.
Adrian Grenier who played Vincent Chase on Entourage, co-founded his very own brewery, Churchkey Can Co. There is one style, a pilsner, which comes in the original flat top can style of the early 1900s, and each six pack comes with its own church key to open the cans.
Actor and comedian Tom Green paired with Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company of Ontario, Canada, to brew Tom Green Beer, a sweet milk stout. It was debuted in 2013 at Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa and Session Craft Beer Festival in Toronto. The style is a nod at Tom’s silly comic antics of lying under cow udders and spraying himself in the face.
Wil Wheaton, best known as Doctor Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, is an avid craft beer drinker and frequently tweets under the handle @wilw about different craft beer he is enjoying. He is even a member of the beer social media phone app Untappd. In 2013 he teamed up with news website Fark.com creator Drew Curtis and Stone Brewing CEO/co-founder Greg Koch to create Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout, an ale brewed with pecans, wheat and rye, with some of it being aged in Bourbon whiskey barrels. I really liked this one with its nice smooth nuttiness and a rye spice in the finish. Sadly, I have not met Mr. Wheaton yet, but if I did, I would have a Cannery Brewing Company – Vulcan Ale with him!
In 2012, Sam and Dan the Automator of Deltron 3030 teamed up with Dogfish Head to create Positive Contact, an ale brewed with Fuji apple cider, roasted faro, cayenne pepper and cilantro. A case of the brew featured a ten-inch vinyl EP from Deltron with band-inspired food recipes from different chefs.
In 2013, the Grateful Dead also teamed up with Dogfish Head to bring fans American Beauty: an imperial pale ale brewed with organic granola (honey, toasted grains, almonds and oats). 1500 Dead fans were asked what the best ingredient should be, and granola topped the list for its major role in feeding the masses of fans at music festivals in the 60s and 70s.
Vocalist Bruce Dickenson of the band Iron Maiden developed Trooper, an extra special bitter (ESB) style brewed at Robinsons Family Brewers in the UK. It is one-time release and was distributed in the states. The bottle depicts a fierce skeleton toting a torn English flag from the album cover.
Sportscaster Dan Patrick of the Dan Patrick Show worked with Redhook Brewery to make Audible Ale. It is a “crushable” amber ale with a low ABV, making it sessionable for watching games without getting obnoxiously drunk and finding yourself face-to-face with the ref on TV arguing a bad call.
Iron Chef star Masaharu Morimoto teamed up with Rogue Ales to create three award winning Signature Series beers including Morimoto Soba Ale, Black Obi Soba Ale and Morimoto Imperial Pilsner. All three are big, hearty ales made to pair well with a flavorful dinner.
These celebrities all share a passion for craft beer and are happy to share it with everyone. The two most widely distributed ones are Land Shark and Audible. A few ABCs may have Trooper, Morimoto, American Beauty, Positive Contact, and w00tstout with Payton’s ale being exclusive to ABC (in Florida).
Adam Shugan, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits beer consultant
Follow me on Twitter @abcbeeradams