Keith Greiman: “We Make Weird, Dad Rock. We Just Go For It.”
As part of our partnership with Philly Beer Scene magazine, we’re documenting Philly’s relationships between music and beer. For a recent issue of Philly Beer Scene, G.W. Miller III caught up with Keith Greiman, the longtime bartender at Memphis Taproom and frontman for the funky rock group Prowler.
Two weeks after Keith Greiman got married, he went on a beer tour in Belgium.
With his friends.
Of course, he had already done the regular honeymoon stuff with his wife. The trip abroad was just another in a series of beer-related adventures with his friends, which included visits to area breweries and festivals as well as trips around the United States. He’s been to Belgium to enjoy the brews twice, actually.
“It’s just something I’ve really come to enjoy,” says Greiman, an artist who tends bar at Memphis Taproom in Kensington and serves as the frontman for the funky rock band Prowler (though he claims “stay-at-home father” as his primary occupation).
A few years ago, Greiman and his crew traveled to Worcester, Massachusetts for a craft beer festival. He saw Johnnie Compton rolling a kegerator into the hotel on a luggage cart and the two became fast friends.
Compton, it turned out, was a longtime homebrewer. But he had a dream to open his own brewery.
“He’d been threatening to do it for a long time,” says Greiman.
In April, Compton officially opened his brewery, Highway Manor Brewing Company, in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. As he set to launch his four initial beers into the world, he contacted Greiman to create the label art.
Greiman had previously created label art for Vault Brewing in Yardley. Over the years, he’s been hired to illustrate a variety of ideas for numerous publications, including Fader, the Los Angeles Times, Willamette Week, Newsweek, The Village Voice and many others.
For the Highway Manor project, Greiman enlisted the help of fellow artist and musician, Nick Apice. The two began collaborating last year, working as a team they’ve dubbed Nice Futures.
The result is four labels that combine Greiman’s eccentric shapes and bold colors with Apice’s intricate sketches.
“The artwork is really popping,” says Compton, whose beers are now appearing at restaurants and bars around the region. “We have a design that is really eye-catching.”
In the fall, Highway Manor will introduce a sour stout, Funky Prowler, named after Greiman’s band.
“Music was always on the peripheral for me,” says Greiman.
He grew up in Southampton with talented friends, Mike Stazseski and Ryan Kerrigan, and they began making music in 2000. Prowler has been an on-and-off project since 2003, including a 7-month hiatus after Greiman became a father for the first time (his second child is due any day now).
“It was always silly,” Greiman says. “They are all talented musicians but I never expected anything from the band. It was just fun.”
As he approaches his 38th birthday in June, he appreciates the ability to get on stage and go crazy all the more.
“It makes more sense to me now,” he says. “We make weird, dad rock. We’re all married with mortgages. We just go for it.”
Having the beer named after the band is an honor, he says. But the bandmates didn’t have any input in creating the taste or making the brew.
“I’m not getting my hands dirty,” Greiman says with a laugh.