Decibel Metal & Beer Fest Brewery Profile: Cigar City

Cigar City
Tampa, FL

Start Date: 2009
Signature Metal Beer: GWAR Beer Oderous Ale

The bands that will be performing at the upcoming Decibel Metal & Beer Fest on April 22-23 in Philadelphia are no doubt familiar to Decibel readers, but we wanted to shine a little light on the craft beer underground by spotlighting the breweries that will be pouring their beers at the festival. First up is a chat with Neil Callaghan, “El Lector,” at Florida’s Cigar City.

Tampa is known for its death metal scene in the ’80s and ’90s. Do Deicide’s Glen Benton or any other Tampa DM legends ever find their way into your tasting room?
: We get our fair share of metal bands passing through the brewery but I’ve yet to spy Glen or the Deicide guys having a beer. I thought I saw Trey Azagthoth from Morbid Angel in the Cigar City Tasting Room once, but he turned out to be a customer’s uncle. Whoops!

If you could collaborate on a beer with a Tampa death metal band, what kind of brew do you think you’d come up with?
Cause of Death is one of my favorite metal albums, so it’d be great to collaborate with Obituary. Maybe a high-alcohol barleywine called “Cause of Ethanol”? Let’s discuss it over a beer, John Tardy!

How did you come to brew the GWAR beer, Oderous Ale?
A local homebrewer and metalhead named Rob Chalmers brewed a beer inspired by GWAR and contacted Dave Brockie (AKA Oderus Urungus, RIP) about using the GWAR name and artwork. Dave and Rob hit it off and developed the idea to scale up Rob’s homebrew recipe to a commercial scale for their annual GWAR-B-Q festival [in Richmond, VA]. Being one of the larger breweries in the area at the time, Rob approached us about brewing the beer and the metal fans in the brewery jumped at the opportunity. We’ve brewed the official GWAR-B-Q beer every year since 2013 and have developed a great relationship with the band and the festival organizers.

What’s the most metal beer Cigar City brews?
In 2017 we’ll be releasing collaboration beers with Municipal Waste (brewed especially for the Decibel Metal and Beer Festival!) and Killswitch Engage, both of which are definitely “metal beers.” To be honest, Invasion Pale Ale seems to be the favorite brand of most metal bands that we’ve shared beers with. The guys in High On Fire hit us up for some Invasion every time they’re in town and 1349 loved the beer as well. I think the appeal is that it’s big in hop flavor but is low in alcohol (5% ABV) so you can have a few and still be able to play a great show.

Why should attendees of first annual the Decibel Metal & Beer Fest seek out Cigar City beers at the festival? Give Decibel readers your best pitch.
We brew our beer in the same city where Altar of Madness, World Downfall and Cause of Death were recorded. That’s got to count for something, right?!

Beyond that, I’ve found that some of the biggest, most passionate metal fans aren’t necessarily the guys with long hair or Khanate t-shirts. Often times, the people that know the names of the every band Earache has ever released are the most normal, straight-laced looking folks. I like to think we’re similar to those metal fans: we may not broadcast our metal inspirations as much as other breweries, but many of us will jump at the opportunity to defend our choice for our favorite Darkthrone album over a few pints of Jai Alai IPA.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
We’re beyond excited to be a part of the Decibel Metal and Beer Festival with some of our favorite brewers and favorite metal bands. In fact, our Brewmaster, Wayne Wambles, has promised to learn every word to Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s Frozen Corpse Stuffed with Dope record before the fest!

Our upcoming projects are mostly focused on making beer of the highest quality and getting it into the hands of beer lovers across the country and the world. Look for wider distribution and more availability of our beers in 2017 while we maintain our dedication to the quality, world-class beers.

To get tickets to Decibel Metal & Beer Fest, go here.