Lululemon, Stanley Park and other bizarre beer collaborations

Photo by Leo Uribe
Photo by Leo Uribe

In case you somehow missed the news, here it is again: Lululemon Athletica is launching its own branded beer in collaboration with Stanley Park Brewing.

Lulu’s limited edition Curiosity Lager – which will be available in liquor stores soon, if not by the time you’re reading this – makes perfect sense and yet, somehow, makes absolutely no sense at all. It makes total sense because there aren’t many lifestyle brands that could ram craft beer down the throats of folks currently unacquainted with it. Certainly, there’s no better brand to promote Vancouver craft beer, even if the brewery receiving all the international coverage is Stanley Park.

Yet, this makes absolutely no sense because, fitness and beer are antithetical. Especially when paired together. Trying seal pose with a belly full of ale? I wouldn’t recommend it.

People who enjoy “doing fitness” or whatever also enjoy drinking beer, but this is a weird choice for a brand that has created a lineup of products that fit a very specific ideal of fitness-as-fashion. The idea of stuffing that $175 gym bag full of Curiosity Lager is curious indeed.

Of course, this is hardly the first bizarre beer partnership in history. As craft beer gains momentum, businesses of all sorts are finding ways to attach their brands to the trend. Here are a few of the weirdest that I’ve stumbled on.

Rogue and Voodoo Doughnuts

Rogue Ales has teamed up with the Portland’s beloved doughnut maker for several collaborations that, on paper, seem truly revolting. These beers include a Bacon Maple Ale; a Pretzel, Raspberry & Chocolate Ale; and a Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana Ale. The weird thing is, while these ingredients seem wretched in beer form, they sound stupendous in doughnut form. Weird stuff. I’ll take three (doughnuts).

Rogue and Sriracha Hot Sauce

Those wacky cranks at Rogue certainly know how to make a man grimace. Here’s another collaboration with another food manufacturer only a crazy person would ever consider adding to beer – this time with California’s beloved hot sauce maker Sriracha, which tastes good atop a stir fry and literally nothing else. And yet, Rogue used said hot sauce in its Hot Stout Beer, made with real hot chili sauce. I haven’t tried it, and probably never will. OK, maybe I will.

Cigar City Brewing and GWAR

There have been several American craft-and-heavy-metal collaborations in recent years, but the best (on paper) is Florida-based Cigar City’s line of GWAR Beers, made in collaboration with shock metal weirdoes GWAR, who if you’re unaware, dress in grotesque alien costumes and sing about poop and violence. Together, they’ve made three beers: GWAR B-Q 2013, Killsner and Impales Ale, all of which are perfect titles I wish I had made up.

Vans and Coors Light

This isn’t so much a beer collaboration as a shoe collaboration from 1990.  It’s noteworthy for how ugly these shoes are. Basically, these were basic Vans “Off the Wall” brand shoes, with the Coors Light logo etched on the shoe’s every inch. It was a hopelessly unhip attempt by a corporation to appeal to the hip skater culture emerging at that time.

Even more embarrassing were the ads, one of which that featured a picture of these shoes on a rack in a refrigerator and these words written across the top: “Cool Shoes.” Of course, with hipster irony in full bloom, these shoes are actually pretty cool now if you can find them, what with Coors Light being so lame and all.

Elysian and Sub Pop

This isn’t actually that weird. It’s actually really cool, especially if like me, you grew up loving Nirvana and Screaming Trees and other early-‘90s grunge bands signed to the seminal Seattle-based indie label, Sub Pop. Back in 2008, they teamed up with Elysian for the label’s 20th anniversary for Loser, American Pale Ale. The beer label and six-pack artwork featured the Cobain-referencing tag line “Corporate beer still sucks” – a line with added weight now that Elysian is owned by Anheuser-Busch and is now technically “corporate beer.”

Hanson and…Hanson

This isn’t really a collaboration, but it’s still weird. And a little sad. The Brothers Hanson have created their own beer company, the Tulsa-based, and aptly named, Hanson Brothers Beer Company. Their flagship beer is Mmmhops Pale Ale, and billed “From the guys that invented ‘Mmmbop’” as though this is somehow a selling feature.


Stanley Park and other bizarre beer collaborations

Stanley Park and other bizarre beer collaborations

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