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Articles Home » Music Talk » Brews With Hatebreed "Live For This" Lager Launch By Nina McCarthy
Brews With Hatebreed "Live For This" Lager Launch By Nina McCarthy

Brews With Hatebreed

"Live For This" Lager Launch

Witchdoctor Brewing Company

August 23, 2020

By Nina McCarthy

Boston Rock Radio

 

 

 

A hot summer Sunday afternoon drinking craft beer with Connecticut’s own metal/hardcore icons Hatebreed would be a dream come true for many fans. Did I mention that this includes drinking the band's own ‘Breedbrew’?  Now I have your attention!  Sunday, August 22, 2020 was the launch party in a series of such events that Hatebreed will be hosting in collaboration with Witchdoctor Brewing, in Southington, Connecticut.

 

Due to social distancing restrictions of limited capacity, only about about 120 family, friends, and metalheads gathered at the Witchdoctor Brewery to share this special milestone in the band’s twenty-six year history. This beer-tapping event included tastings, giveaways, heavy metal and Hatebreed trivia, Q&A, deejayed music, socially distanced photo opportunities, and custom merchandise, including pre-purchased limited ‘Breedbrew’ pint glasses and growlers. 

 

 Jamey & Matt Doing Giveaways

During this uncertain time for many, this relaxed event was a much needed celebration along with like minded patrons and beer lovers.  Restrictions and guidelines were enforced to keep everyone safe and have a good time.  The brewery was spacious and clean and there was inside and outside seating with a small food menu offered. The staff was fantastic! 

 Winner! Winner!

“Live For This” Lager, named after the Grammy nominated hit from the band’s 2003 album Rise of Brutality, is the first brew to be featured in the upcoming line of 'Breedbrew” that will be expanded upon in the future. “The goal of Hatebreed’s ‘Breedbrew’ is to bring a taste of what we have come to enjoy from our German family, home to our Connecticut heavy metal, hardcore family.” said drummer, Matt Byrnes. Thus, the Helles style lager.

What does this new lager taste like?  I don’t claim to be a beer enthusiast, although I have tasted my share of beers over the years. I tend to be more of a lite beer or hard cider drinker. This deep gold draft, however, was not a disappointment to my palate, as I enjoyed my first sip. Obviously, I am not a beer expert, or else I would have started with enjoying the aromas before diving in to quench my thirst. I'll leave that up to your senses. The beer was light enough that I could drink it  without reservation, and enjoyed a subtle citrus/orangy ester, slight crisp bitterness upon sipping, with a tinge of hoppy IPA bitterness for an aftertaste. It would definitely satisfy everyone from casual beer drinker, to the craft beer snobs, down to the serious connoisseurs. “It’s a good chill drinking beer that would go great with a nice burger, or maybe even used in some beer cheese gravy.” said Justin Czaja, food lover and collector of entertainment branded alcohols. “The beer was delicious and the breed was amazing, as always” lamented Wes Engle, also of Connecticut.

 

I'm glad I was able to attend this launch party. I'm an old-school fan of Hatebreed, right back to the beginning. As I stated, beer is not my area of expertise, so I highly recommend that you try it and judge for yourself by attending one of the future promotional tastings or grab it in cans, which will be available in the upcoming months.

 

I was thrilled to be able to grab a short interview with drummer Matt Byrnes to get more details on this brew-venture of Hatebreed. If you want to know more, enjoy the interview I did with him below.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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This isn’t the first time Hatebreed has played in the hops because last year you released a brew for the 25th Anniversary show at College Street Music Hall. But what led to the latest venture with Witchdoctor Brewing?

With the Covid situation, everything else is at such a standstill, this was the perfect time, because we had the time to get it going again. The last beer we did was just for that show, really. It was kind of dipping our toe in the water of this venture that we’ve been talking about for a little while now and it was about time to get it off the ground. This is full-on, let’s do a beer and create the ‘Breedbrew’ umbrella so we can do different beers underneath it.  That’s the main goal. We’re starting with the “Live For This” Lager. The craft beer scene has exploded over the last several years and the sky’s the limit on what you can do. There’s beers being brewed with cucumbers and pineapples and everyone is doing new stuff with the craft.  It was our bassist, Chris Beattie, who spearheaded it with Witchdoctor, which is kind of around the area in Connecticut that he has lived for several years.  He was talking to the guys and pitched the idea to them and they were for it.  We knew we wanted to work with a Connecticut brewery because we wanted to keep it organic and homegrown, “local” as you would call it. They were interested in the idea and we were off and running.

 

Let’s briefly discuss the name, which is from the 2003 hit “Live For This” which actually received a Grammy nomination.

It’s a good play on words with the song title of course, but also with “Live For This” Lager...it’s going to be so good that you’re going to “Live For This.”

 

I personally think it’s a timely name because we all need something to ‘live for’ right now with this Covid situation and the uncertainty of the future. How did you decide on this name and how much did you guys argue about it?

That’s a good way to put it. There was no arguing at all. There were a bunch of names for different styles of beer and song titles that tied into it that we threw around. Some we are keeping in our back pocket for future endeavors, but that particular one was the one that we decided for the style of beer that we were going to do, and being one of our more popular songs, kind of an anthem in our set. We did a video for it back in the day and it was a standout track on the record at the time. It’s a fan favorite too, so it just had a ring to it. It made the most sense to use that song title to tie in with this particular beer.

 

I know you guys like to taste the different beers as you travel the world while on tour. How did the idea originate to make a Helles style lager?

When you’ve toured for as long as we have, or I have personally, it’s been over 25 years. We’ve been to Europe more times than I can count. I’m on my sixth passport. People ask all the time where we’ve toured. It would be easier to tell them where we haven’t toured. We spend a lot of time in Europe, so of course Germany is ground zero for beer. That’s the good stuff! The particular Helles style came from the brewery. They suggested that. We kind of gave them the gist of what we were going for as far as the coloring and alcohol volume (4.5%) and what we were shooting for in the beer realm.  They thought that particular beer kind of encompasses all the things we were looking to get out of it.

 

How much was the band “hands on” with the making and tasting and what were your thoughts on first taste?

I’m not so much a Budweiser guy, although on a hot summer day sometimes a cold Bud Lite or Coors Lite will hit the spot and that’s about as lite as you can get with pilsners. It’s kind of like flavored water with those beers. I like a beer with somewhat of a bite but I don’t want to have one and have my head blown off or have it so heavy and thick that you feel full like you just ate. I want it to be crisp, yet still have a tasty bite. You want it to leave you with something, a little hoppiness or something. That style of beer is kind of middle of the road for that...and it's good. When asked about it originally, I said that if you’re a Budweiser guy, you’re not going to be scared away thinking it’s some thick crazy hippie beer. It still has some taste but it’s lite enough; but if you’re a real hoppy guy or an IPA snob or whatever, it’s not something you’re going to look down on either. It fills that side of things as well. It’s a tasty beer. (Writer’s Note: Perfect description! It was definitely right in the middle and as a lite beer girl it was still enjoyable to me.)

 

How was it working with Master Brewer, Robert Todd?

I didn’t have any direct contact with him personally. Chris had some minimal contact with him. Putting it together went through the brewer, as well as the brewery owners. There are a lot of logistics involved with this whole thing. Chris did go and do some canning to get the experience of working on the line in the brewery and just get a feel working with the guys. But with Covid, there are so many restrictions and you can only do so much. We would have loved to have been more hands on than we were. Hopefully the next round we will be. We were involved in the entire process though. We have video from every step of the way from the bags being cracked and everything being dumped into the big cylinders and brewing of the wort and the adding of the hops, and that stuff, bringing it up to the fermentation process. If we were going to do this, we wanted to be hands on. Like when KISS did their comic book back in the day. Each of the members dripped their own blood in with the red ink, so they really had a bond with it. That’s what I want.

 

Well, please don’t spit in beer! (laughing)  But, I understand what you’re saying. You want the complete experience.

Yeah. If you appreciate beer, it just makes the final product much sweeter.

 

The launch party was a kick off to a series of monthly events between the band and brewery. What can people expect from these monthly events?

This was our first event, kind of a soft event to test the waters. We just want people to taste the beer, enjoy it, and get talking about it. Even though it’s a smaller event because of the restrictions, we’re trying to immerse our fans in a cool experience where they will walk away and say, “That was cool! We got to hang out with the guys, we drank beer, it was awesome!”  

 

Absolutely! The fans love experiences like that. I already have some friends interested in the next event.

We are going to do them as much as we can, given we have the time and also work around other events that the brewery might have going on. We’d like to do things monthly. At some point we’ll release another beer. We have some cards up our sleeves, much like this one, but things that will amp the event up even more. Each one we want to take it to the next level and still keep the fans immersed and having a good time. The next one, we’re shooting for the end of September. There’s no date set yet, but we’re already talking about some of the ideas we’re floating around to bring it to the next level.

 

I appreciated being a part of the experience at the launch party. Being born and raised in New England, we like our “local stuff”!

That’s the other reason that we wanted to do this in Connecticut, because there’s that “local” feeling that you’re part of something. It’s based on Hatebreed and the music but we want to start to go outside of that too and really get other people involved that might not have heard of the band before, but are beer lovers. If it’s a good beer, then why wouldn’t you go and try it and enjoy everything that we and Witchdoctor are doing at our events? The food and beverage world is uncharted territory for us. A lot of bands have done it with beers, or whiskeys or wines, so we’re kind of venturing into it and doing our own version of it. Jamey (Jasta) doesn’t drink but the rest of us enjoy our beers. We’re going to dive in and see how it goes and just try to immerse our fans in as good of a time as we can while doing it.  Honestly, one of the things we are doing is pursuing a non-alcoholic version of a beer down the road. Some people just like the taste of beer but they don’t want to drink. We get it, so we’re going to try to appeal to them as well.  So, that’s where we’re headed.

 

That’s a great idea. Well, thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Matt. Congratulations on this first 'Breedbrew.' I’m more educated on beer and am already looking forward to tasting the next one! I may end up being a beer connoisseur afterall.

 

Follow 'Hatebrew' on Facebook to keep informed of the latest happenings.

 

"Live For This" - Hatebreed Official Music Video

  

Nina McCarthy joined the Boston Rock Radio staff in December of 2015. Nina has freelanced for over 25 years, interviewing bands for various webzines. Nina currently focuses full time as the Senior Music Journalist and Digital Content Editor for BRR. Nina is a very dedicated supporter of the music scene. Contact Nina at nina@bostonrockradio.com for interviews, reviews, suggestions, or comments.

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