Today is your lucky day. Friday the 13th is upon us, and let’s face it, you’ve had a rough year - from pandemic (ongoing) through protests (mobilizing) to the election (recounting), we could all use a beer.
Here’s a list of ten metal infused brews and mead, organized from highest to lowest alcohol for campside drinking along Crystal Lake. Since nothing else can possibly go wrong in 2020, take a slug of Slipknot No. 9 Iowa Whiskey and settle around the fire.
Surly Brewing - 13 Imperial Stout, 12.5% ABV (Minnesota)
Surly is no stranger to the dark side after collaborating with heavy metal royalty King Diamond on his Black Horsemen dark lager, as well as black metallers 1349 for their signature black ale. With eleven varieties of malted grain plus Warrior hops and vanilla beans, that’s thirteen reasons to love Surly 13, aged in maple syrup barrels and released once a year on Friday the 13th. Lead brewer Josh Lemke describes the color as black like a moonless night, but we say forget the pancakes and start your day with this beer.
Brimming Horn Meadery x Fires In The Distance - Echoes From Deep November Mead, 11-14% ABV (Delaware)
Mead is among the most ancient and most metal of beverages. It’s mentioned everywhere from the good book to better books, mythology and epic poems. Fundamentally fermented honey, Brimming Horn adds a host of black currants, black cardamom and black peppercorns in harmony with Fires In The Distance new album Echoes From Deep November on Prosthetic Records. Together, they welcome the change in seasons like a death doom funeral dirge with proper drinking horns.
Cosmic Eye Brewing - Your Friend Death Imperial Oatmeal Stout, 8.4% ABV (Nebraska)
Fun fact: International Stout Day is the first Thursday in November and how better to celebrate than with Your Friend Death? Cosmic Eye is Nebraska’s ‘most heaviest’ brewery, making eye opening beer in an old Laser Quest building outside Lincoln. Your Friend Death is a return to traditional stout with deep roasted character and healthy dose of oats for a round, silky mouthfeel. Imperial or no, owner/founder Sam Riggins will shotgun this beer with you, and Wolfmama Riggins won’t turn down a game of laser tag.
Adroit Theory Brewing - Elegy
If you read The 10 Most Metal Halloween Beers on Knotfest, you know Adroit Theory is responsible for the best remake of The Crow since the original. They succeeded where even Momoa failed. The secret? Double dry hopping - when hops are added twice more during or after fermentation - in this case a fruit cocktail of Mosaic, Ella, Vic Secret and Simcoe. Pain sits right on the threshold of Double IPA at 8% and you can expect four more brews of The Crow including Fear, Elegy, Despair and Death. Drink it up!
Wayfinder Beer x YOB - BeYOB Doppelbock, 7.7% ABV (Oregon)
Like all great Doom masterpieces, you’ll have to wait a bit longer than Friday the 13th for Wayfinder’s next band beer, but it’s worth it. YOB are their neighbors and cosmic power trio, formed in the ether or whatever’s in the air over Eugene. To match the band’s intensity, Wayfinder brews a double strength lager where a portion of the grain is removed, boiled, and returned to brewing for rich, malt-driven flavors. Try BeYOB as your BYOB for the next BBQ, just don’t forget a side of vegan ranch from Sizzle Pie.
Ghost Town Brewing - Hellscape Hazy IPA, 6.7% ABV (California)
Though San Francisco feels like a ghost town these days, thankfully there are signs of life in Oakland. Ghost Town Brewing sits right next door to Oakland Music Complex, both blasting enough metal for neighbors to call the cops (seriously). Hellscape is a hazy IPA for a hazy year, just the right amount of Enigma hops to keep us guessing with a slap of Simcoe bitterness that we’ll never forget. Notes of berries and mango pair well with cursed frogurt* if you’re among the first to get a can on Friday November 13th.
*Cursed frogurt not included.
Unibroue x Megadeth - Saison 13, 6.1% ABV (Canada)
Lucky for us, Unibroue partnered again with Megadeth following the album Th1rt3een for a heavier riff on their session saison À Tout Le Monde, this time aptly named Saison 13. As Dave Mustaine sings, he went to the well thirteen times and came back with a beer that includes thirteen different ingredients. Saison 13 is farmhouse ale with characterful Belgian yeast, fresh hop taste and a proprietary mix of fruits and spices that only the band or brewmaster Jerry Vietz can reveal. Maybe after they’ve had a few...
Burial Beer - Heavier Notions Lager, 5.5% ABV (North Carolina)
With Heavier Notions on the mind and currently on tap, Burial Beer promises a damn fine time whether you voted red, orange or blue. This is a modern take on classic lager made with North Carolina corn for subtle sweetness, domestic grown hops then lagered for perfect clarity in an American oak foudre, a bigger barrel or wooden vat that predates steel tanks. Fuck yeah. Come for the Sloth and Selleck mural at the original location in Asheville, stay for fresh cans of Tonin’ The Librarian IPA and more dad jokes with @rigsofdad, or go for luck this Friday to their new Forestry Camp restaurant.
Kings County Brewers Collective - The Hour Of Death Black Pilsner, 4.666% ABV (New York)
KCBC are kings of collaboration. They made Wolf Ov Siberia Double IPA for Behemoth, as well as Morbid Hour Black Pilsner with Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn and yours truly @sixmostmetalbreweries. Morbid Hour is dark as the stage at Saint Vitus now, but light on your feet and refreshing as that first show will be when live music is back. For the Hour of Death, KCBC ages Morbid Hour in oak barrels to be even more smooth with a hint of vanilla like adding cream to roast coffee. Is this real? I once made a beer parody of The Matrix asking that very question, there’s no fake news on YouTube.
BrewDog x Lamb Of God - Ghost Walker IPA, 0.5% ABV (Ohio)
In 2019, Lamb Of God played Sonic Temple Art & Music Festival in Ohio and connected with BrewDog USA. Their pilot brewer Shaun Carney conducts a micro-fermentation where just enough sugar converts to less than .5% alcohol and Randy Blythe joins for brewday to select bold, ‘Big C’ hops like Cascade, Centennial and Citra. The result is an American IPA with all the pith and pine bitterness but none of the alcoholic bite to leave you ghost walking in the aftermath.
If you can stand one more poll, we’re taking votes for most metal beverages of the year - beer, wine, liquor, coffee, you decide! Just no hard seltzer.
Adam Zuniga is an Advanced Cicerone® and creator @sixmostmetalbreweries.