Founded in 2011, Pistonhead is produced by Brutal Brewing – created by Swedish brewery Spendrups. Established over 100 years ago, the family-run brewery has since become one of Northern Europe’s largest breweries, with over 1000 employees, producing upwards of 400 million litres of drinks for brands such as Norrland’s Gold, Mariestads and Heineken.
Spendrups’ Brutal Brewing, on the other hand, operates as a brewery work shop with an intention to produce exciting beers specifically designed for enthusiasts. Now exported to 12 countries, Pistonhead has become the subject of cult popularity with its unique can designs emblazoned with cartoon sugar skulls. The brand’s website reads: “We are serious about our brews, but not serious about much else – our simple mission is to create great drinks.”
Specifically targeted at clubs and live music venues in the UK, Pistonhead has also launched The Pistonhead Foundation, supporting and encouraging creative talent. “Pistonhead Foundation has supported underground clubs with a tight budget, artists who need help to cover their train tickets or bands who need three cases for a video shoot,” explains Pistonhead’s website. “We choose do this in different ways: send a check, put up new mufflers in the rehearsal room, make sure you have a hard drive to back up your beats or work with spreading artists’ expressions and messages!”
A dry-hopped lager, Pistonhead Flat Tire is also available in a surprisingly serviceable non-alcoholic alternative. Both brewed with American Centennial and Mosaic hops, the fully-loaded 4.5 per cent ABV version has a bitter, citrus forward edge. On pour, the beer is hazy yellow, capped with a restrained white head. Hoppy citrus and grass aromas are noticeable alongside some feint cereal and caramel, plus some feint papaya. Citrus notes continue on the palate – namely lemon and grapefruit rind – alongside some resinous pine and light biscuit sweetness, complete with a light-medium body and pleasant bitterness which continues on the dry finish.