As one of the world’s most successful bands during the MTV era, Def Leppard has always known a thing or two about how to rock. The UK superstars of the 1980’s have found success through high-selling albums like Hysteria and Pyromania and have recently teamed up with Seattle-based Elysian Brewing Co. to create a special pale ale – as a tribute to the 30th anniversary of Hysteria and to combine the band’s love of beer and music. Def Leppard Pale is currently available at most stops of the band’s current tour with Journey and at select restaurants, bars, and pubs near specific concert venues. The band is still going strong, playing seminal Hysteria classics such as Love Bites, Animal and Pour Some Sugar on Me and I was fortunate enough to see the show during the tour’s stop in Philadelphia – and get my hands on the Def Leppard Pale as well.
As far as the 16 oz. can design goes, it is modeled after the cover artwork for Hysteria, with eye-popping red, blue and green colors, somewhat resembling a kaleidoscope. When it comes to taste, Def Leppard Pale uses premium two row, munich, carahell, and acidulated malts, along with cascade, simcoe, chinook and magnum hops. It is 6% alcohol by volume (ABV) and has an International Bitterness Unit (IBU) amount of 37. If you’re a fan of ales that have some bitterness without an extra earthy taste, this is definitely for you. By the bottom of the can, the ale retained its taste and held up nicely compared to typical ale in my personal experience – which means it’ll last for several songs on the setlist.
With so many rock and metal bands venturing into the world of brewing, you may be familiar with some other artists’ work. For comparison purposes, Tenacious D’s Tribute Tripel via Neshaminy Creek checks in at a 9.3% abv, AC/DC Rock or Bust checks in at a 5% abv, and a standard run of Iron Maiden’s Trooper Ale checks in with a 4.7% abv. Taste-wise, Def Leppard Pale comes closest to Trooper Ale, which has a 35 IBU score. Despite the higher IBU score, the lower reliance on an earthy flavoring leaves less of an aftertaste if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy that aspect. Def Leppard Pale gets its unique taste because it uses hops from the Pacific Northwest, while still utilizing the malt bodies of standard British ale.
Elysian Brewing Co. is a three-time Large Brewpub of the Year according to the Great American Beer Festival. They operate locally to Seattle, with four neighborhood restaurants and a production brewery. They were founded in 1996, and use a variety of recipes and unusual ingredients to give their brews a unique taste. Annually, Elysian Brewing Co. hosts the Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, which is something to keep in mind towards the end of Def Leppard’s tour if you’re looking for Elysian products tied to their specialties. As for their Def Leppard Pale Ale, if it comes around locally, then “Armageddon it“, and you should too.