Thirteen Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi and comic book inspired beers amongst the best American breweries offer for an adult Halloween celebration. What is a Halloween beer anyway? It’s all about names and labels until someone brews a candy corn beer and don’t get me started on pumpkin ales. We have went dark and demonic with our selections though the inspiration for these killer labels ranges from the uber-popular blood thirsty Zombies of The Walking Dead to Vampires, Monsters and the Occult. Someone should make a calendar.
Terrapin: The Walking Dead blood orange IPA
The Walking Dead comic book turned #1 Television show is the hottest thing around right now so how could we not include the official tie in beer by Terrapin Brewing. For this Blood Orange IPA the brewery goes for a 21 Days Later type of imagery with a lighter tone in turning their turtle mascot into a zombie. Blood Oranges also go terrifically well with citrusy bitter hops so this beer should be as good as well as zombified.
New Belgium & 3 Floyds: Gratzer
This Lips of Faith series limited release beer takes the same zombie theme and even similar design only in our humble opinion, more than a few steps up in design and coolness. Instead of walking stumbling zombies we get hipster bike riding zombies and another cool gothic bottle in this New Belgium Brewing collaboration with 3 Floyds Brewing who are no strangers to gothic horror labels themselves. The beer itself is the rare and resurrected Gratzer style of smoked wheat beer, a well chosen and tasty option to go with the resurrected dead.
Rogue: Hellboy Right Hand of Doom
Though their Beard Beer, PDX Carpet Ale and Voodoo Dougnut series are arguably more scary, I cannot NOT include this Hellboy tribute beer. Right Hand of Doom Red Ale is made in honor of the 21st Anniversary of comic book and movie character Hellboy. Created by Mike Mignola, Hellboy comics are published by Milwaukie, Oregon’s Dark Horse Comics and featuring a colorful and bold label image by Mignola himself. Is the beer a fitting tribute to the demon spawn character turned good guy who is destined to bring upon the end of the world with his red right hand? Who knows, I have never seen this beer in the wild but you can purchase it directly from Rogue via their website. http://buy.rogue.com/rogue-hellboy-right-hand-of-doom-red-ale/
Great Lakes Brewing: Nosferatu
Great Lakes Brewing of Cleveland, Ohio has brewed up a tribute to the original on-screen vampire — Nosferatu! Considered one of the first and most influential monster films, Nosferatu and the performance by Max Schreck is the stuff of legend and has even inspired films about the film (Shadow of the Vampire), and now a beer. Great Lakes Brewing’s Nosferatu is an Imperial Red Ale at 7% Abv and full of rich roasted malts and bitter hop bite at 70 IBU’s with a ruby color. Available in 4-packs every Fall beginning in September
Ninkasi: Dawn of the Red
Eugene, Oregon’s geek lead brewery team are so into Halloween they have made a year-round beer out of it. Dawn of the Red – India Red Ale also features a zombie theme (are we sensing a trend here?). The name and the label are clearly an homage to influential zombie flick Dawn of the Dead who Ninkasi’s art director Tony Gigoli is a fan of. “We’re all about mash-ups here at Ninkasi, so I thought what better than a pop-culture reference tied with a little rock n’ roll,” says Figoli. This IRA is full of tropical fruit notes like mango, papaya and pineapple from the hops and a chewy malt backbone in a frightfully strong 7% Abv and 75 IBUs.
This Russian Imperial Stout from Surly Brewing was released just last weekend to throngs of crowds at the breweries annual Darkness Day. Every year this limited edition and sought after beer features a different horror label of only black, white and red. This years label by Brandon Holt features a nightmarish screeching evil blood sucking bat adept at navigating the Darkness. This giant Imperial Stout has notes of chocolate, cherries, raisins, coffee, and toffee, finishing with a non-traditional dose of aroma hops. If you were not at Darkness Day your only chance to get this generously flavorful brew is through the beer trading black market.
Stillwater: As Follows
One of the original gypsy brewers and makers of fine Farmhouse-style ales is Bryan Strumke the founder and brewer of Stillwater Artisan Ales who’s beers often seemed influenced by gothic poetry. “As Follows” is a strong Belgian-style Golden Ale, brewed big and hoppy “sturdy enough to with stand the Apocalypse, but delicate enough to sip and enjoy all night” is how Stillwater describes it. The name “As Follows” recalls the amazing 2015 horror film “It Follows” but was actually originally called Eschatological Ale. Eschatology is the study of the apocalypse and the label recalls almost a victorian-style imagination of what the denizens of hell must experience. 9% Abv and available in 750ml bottles.
Alesmith: Evil Dead Red
Alesmith Brewing out of San Diego, California has been making Evil Dead Red Ale for many years but the timing could not be better this year with the premiere of the new tv show Ash vs. The Evil Dead on Halloween. Inspired by the cult classic indie flicks Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 that launched the careers of Sam Raimi (original Spider-Man films) and Bruce Campbell (who returns to play Ash in the new tv show). Each Halloween Alesmith releases this deep blood-red in color ale with an intense abundance of pine and citrus hops balanced by sweet bready and caramel malt flavors. Alesmith says “The result is a fiendishly smooth brew that will make your taste buds scream with delight.” 6.66% Abv and 24 IBU’s.
Avery: Mephistopheles Stout
Avery Brewing of Boulder, Colorado has an entire three beer series called “the DEMONS of ALE” all of which are worthy to make this dark list. that Mephistopheles a 16.83% Imperial Stout and is of course named after the shape shifting, second fallen angel sometimes also referred to as the devil. This huge boozy inky blackness of a beer raises notes of vine-ripened grapes, anise and chocolate covered cherries with flavors of rum-soaked caramelized dark fruits and a double espresso finish. Also check out the other demons of ale “The Beast” a 15-17%abv Grand Cru and “Samael’s” an oak-aged English-style strong ale of similar strength.
Clown Shoes: Undead Party Crasher
Clown Shoes Brewing is perhaps most famous for their risque and suggestive labels and they really got into trouble with a beer called Vampire Slayer when they were hit with a patent and trademark lawsuit over use of the name. The beer emerged unscathed but with a new name and new label like Vampire Hunter D and is now called the Undead Party Crasher. Dressed with a pretty fun comic book style action imagery and still brewed to ward off vampires with Holy Water as well as hickory and ash smoked malt. 10% Abv.
Elysian: 12 Beers of the Apocalypse
It’s impossible to choose just one label from Elysian Brewing’s collaboration with Fantagraphic books in the 12 Beers of the Apocalypse series as they are all so creepy and cool. Each is illustrated by famed Black Hole comics creator Charles Burns with thick deep black murky lines you could fall into and a sense of dread that oozes from his twilight zone/twin peaks reminiscent scenes. It’s like something right out of his comic book or the arthouse hit with Scarlet Johansson “Under the Skin”. The beers which were released monthly range from Heather Ales, Green Cardamom Pale Ales, Blood Orange IPA’s and the Yerba Mate Tripel above.
Three Floyds: Zombie Dust
The brewers at Three Floyds Brewing of Munster Indiana are comic book obsessed, Dungeons & Dragons playing metalheads and often put out some kickass fantasy labels. Zombie Dust is one of Three Floyds most popular beers and the badass label by comic book artist Tim Seeley cannot hurt. This intensely hopped and gushing undead Pale Ale will be one’s only respite after the zombie apocalypse. Available in 12oz bottles in the Indiana area. 6.2% Abv and 50 IBU’s.
Gigantic Brewing: Slip Into Darkness
Here is a brand new beer in Gigantic Brewing of Portland, Oregon’s scary rotating beer arsenal just in time for the holiday. Slip Into Darkness is a Hoppy Cascadian Dark Lager available now in 22oz bottles and limited draft production. The freaky label art is by Oakland, CA based artist Skinner who’s bio says he is “Influenced by 80’s pop culture, human struggle, myths and violence, dungeons and dragons and the heavy metal gods, Skinner’s mind is one of psycho social mayhem fueled by a calculated chaos. ” Like all of Gigantic’s beers except for their IPA, Slip Into Darkness is a one-time seasonal release and should be available for a few more months. 6.4% Abv.