2015 – The Burning Questions: How Much Trooper Beer Can Biters Drink?
Band beer is officially a ‘thing’ - but is it any good? Atlanta’s foremost party rockers to put it to the test.
Bands have been releasing their own-brand alcohol for a while now, but 2015 was the year we reached Peak Booze. Everyone from the obvious (Slayer, Motörhead) to the unlikely (Queen, who were always more champagne flutes than two pints and a packet of nuts) slapped their name on a bottle of falling-down juice this year.
But are any of them actually drinkable? Do they tickle your taste buds, or give them a damn good hiding? We decided to find out, and to help us we roped in rising Atlanta rock’n’rollers Biters – a band who know how to bring their own party.
And so we, and the four of them – that’s frontman Joshua ‘Tuk’ Smith, guitarist Matt Gabs, bassist Philip Anthony and drummer Joey O’Brien – gathered in the back room of Classic Rock’s favourite North London pub, The Three Johns, staring at the business end of a table of rock-star booze.
“Right,” says Tuk, a man who looks like Noel Fielding of the Mighty Boosh auditioning for the Ramones. “What are we drinking then?”
Queen Bohemian Lager
This is a odd one. Bottled lager isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Freddie Mercury and co. partying. Moët & Chandon (maybe even in a pretty cabinet), certainly; maybe dwarves carrying trays of cocaine on their heads. But lager? Nope. Still, Queen Bohemian is light and drinkable. Biters are impressed.
“This is nice,” Tuk says, grinning. “It’s got a perfumey sweetness. It tastes American.”
“They usually pump us full of [cheap American ‘training lager’] PBR or something,” adds Gabs. “But if we have a choice, we still pick piss beer.”
“I like a Monster Energy drink and vodka too,” says Anthony, taking a sip of Bohemian Lager. “It doesn’t send you to the moon like you just did a line of crack.”
So what does have that effect on you? “Actual crack,” Tuk replies with a laugh.
The frontman brought the band together in their home town of Atlanta, after the booze’n’drug-related collapse of his previous bands the Heart Attacks and Poison Arrow. If they were handing out awards for partying, then Tuk would have a shelf full of them.
“I used to do a lot of partying,” he says, speaking at 100mph. “I once pissed in my girlfriend’s car, into the air. And her friend in the back was like: ‘Quit pissing in my friend’s car!’ We got into a fight – in the car – and I chipped his tooth. We went inside and my girlfriend was mad cos I’d pissed in her car and chipped her friend’s tooth. I said: ‘You think I’m crazy, bitch? I’ll show you crazy!’ I took my shirt off and started chopping up my arm. I was out of my mind. You know Ikea furniture? It’s cheap as hell and easy to wreck. So I was throwing bottles and crushing it. Which made her scared as hell. Then the police showed up, while I tore up the Ikea furniture, and I’m standing there with my shirt off, covered in blood.”
Okay… And the moral of that story is?
“Trying to look real tough? Go for the Ikea furniture – it’s really easy to tear up.”
Our thanks go to The Three Johns (three-johns.com) and Icon Beverages (www.iconbeverages.co.uk). And remember: always drink responsibly.