Five Pop Culture Beers: The Good, The Bad and the Blue

Star Trek Vulcan Ale recently began beaming into beer stores across Canada, another sign that the day of the officially licensed craft beer is upon us.

There have been a few movie and TV related brews that’ve sprung up over the years; some good, some great, and some pretty darn bad.

Here are five that run the gamut:

Star Trek Vulcan Ale

VA

The first in a planned series of Star Trek inspired brews, Vulcan Ale is a 5.4% ABV Irish Red Ale brewed under contract by Montana’s Harvest Moon Brewing Company for Canadian distributor Delancey Direct.  Early indications are that it’s a decent beer, but what “Irish” and “Vulcan” have in common is anyone’s guess – do the Vulcans even have drinking songs?

Romulan Ale

RAWe can’t discuss Star Trek themed beers without a mention of Romulan Ale, an American Adjunct Lager brewed a few years back by Cerveceria La Constancia S.A. in El Salvador.  The one thing this beer had going for it was its color – a raspberry radiator fluid blue that most likely made the drinker think they had bladder cancer the first time they approached the urinal after drinking the stuff.

Monty Python Holy Grail Ale

HGAProbably the best part of this English Pale Ale is its name – anything related to Monty Python immediately puts me in a good mood.  I can’t honestly recall if I’ve had this beer, but I know at least one gentleman (who is not a beer geek and CERTAINLY not a beer snob) who swears by the stuff.  I just wish they’d brew something a little more absurd, like a coconut clapper Porter or an elderberry-scented Saison.

Imperial Stout Trooper

sts

Even after George Lucas flexed his legal muscles and forced a label change that made the beer look a little less, uh, Stormtroopery (and a little more Groucho Marxey), it’s still clear that this beer is from a galaxy far, far away.  Imperial Stout Trooper is a great beer with a cool name and label art that makes you feel like you’re twelve again, only this time you’re not drinking warm cans of stolen beer down by the creek.  That’s a win-win!

Game of Thrones Iron Throne Blonde Ale

GOT

I’ll admit I have a crush on Game of Thrones dragon-mama Dany Targaryen, so I’m not going to argue with Brewery Ommegang’s choice to dedicate the first beer in their HBO-licensed series to coolest chic this side of Westeros.  This well made Belgian Blonde Ale is as complex as the shifting allegiances on the show, and would make a great gift if you were trying to woo a warrior princess (well this, or *SPOILER ALERT* a couple of heads in a knapsack).

Of course there’s also all the Dogfish Head/ Sony Music brews to consider, Kid Rock’s Bad Ass whatever, and the soon to be wrought Hanson Mmm-Hop beer, the release of which is being held up by “complications of distribution.” I’ll say, “complications” never sounded so comforting!

I think we can expect to see more and more of these pop culture collaborations come to market as craft brewers seek to stand out in an increasing crowded marketplace and media makers seek new ways to connect with fans.

Hopefully we get more Iron Throne Blonde Ales and fewer blue monstrosities like the Romulan Ale (the folks behind the new Vulcan Ale are working on a new version – here’s hoping they do better!).

At the end of the day, one of my favorite sayings applies to licensed brews, both now and in the future: If the beer’s good, then it’s all good.

So please, Hollywood marketer types, make sure the beer is good!

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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle, News

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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10 Comments on “Five Pop Culture Beers: The Good, The Bad and the Blue”

  1. May 20, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    So, based on this list, pop culture only refers to nerdy, sci-fi films and TV shows? You’re totally missing all the music-based beers out there not to mention other beers that reference pop culture in other ways.

    • May 20, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

      Well, I referenced a lot fo the music beers in the last graphs, Zac – even the Hanson one! Plus, I led the piece talking about TV and movies…

      • May 20, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

        Right, but referencing is different than actually ranking. It’s fine if these are really your five favorite or if you prefer sci-fi-themed beers to all other pop culture brews. I’m just pointing out the limitations of the beers you did choose to rank. FWIW, the Dogfish Head Hellhound On My Ale was pretty good.

  2. Michael
    May 20, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    This is just one more way to squeeze more money from the suckers. I include me in that group.

    • May 20, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

      I try to resist these things, but a good beer like the Imperial Stout Trooper or a favorite show like Game of Thrones ropes me in.

  3. May 20, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    I love that we live in a world where the geekeries of pop culture and beer combine forces, for better or worse. It’s a mad, beautiful thing, even if the results so often disappoint – the vision lives on.

  4. May 21, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    Like you, I’m a sucker for all things Python – hence my use of the phrase “Quest for the Holy Ales.” I’ve had Holy Grail Ale and, to my chagrin, it doesn’t hold a candle to a penguin on a telly. That said, I’d still plop myself down on the comfy chair and pair it with Spring Surprise or Crunchy Frog.

    *Graham Chapman enters*

    “Now move along! This comment is very silly!”

    Cheers!

  5. May 21, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    Imperial Stout Trooper is really more of a pun than a licensed beer. See NEBCO’s other beers: “Gandhi Bot”, “668: Neighbor of the Beast” “Premeditated Muder”, etc.

    And I have to say, it’s kind of cool that Hanson is making an IPA instead of yet another Bud clone.

  6. Diss Content
    May 21, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    I’ve used some products which benefitted from the synergy they produced. I recall flying out of O’Hare on United Airlines with the meal being supplied from various ‘Taste of Chicago’ vendors. That’s right my friend, the plane was filled with Italian Beefs, ribs and beersch, from which you could partake. Obviously this was a memorable event which showcased the culinary identity of Chicago, and broke some tedium on a long flight. I have a positive association of United and the ‘Taste of Chicago’ event.

    I’ve also been exposed to some from the polar opposite of the spectrum which had me question the very existence of reality. I was on a wonderfully long motorcycle tour of the US and needed to replace a tire on the bike. This particular dealership had grown exponentially as part of the irrational fiscal frenzy which preceded the Great Recession, and included the construction of a diner. Yep, there was a motorcycle themed restaurant, in the dealership. Certainly no less improbable than a ‘rainforest’ themed restaurant constructed with a jungle canopy made out of petroleum based polymers and plastics. But where’s the synergy, the bump, the advantage?

    Ultimately this approach will appeal to some pre-existing fanboy base of whatever, which leaves those who are disinterested in such a license agreement, paying the cruelest tax of all in the form of a subsidy.

  7. June 17, 2013 at 12:19 am #

    We thank you for taking the time to write about our new adventures in our 5 year mission to Boldly Brew where no beer has gone before…we hope you can follow us on facebook – http://www.facebook.com/vulcanale1

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