Arts Desk

Hopping on the Bandwagon: D.C. Bands Get Brewed

D.C.’s hardcore scene was never known for its drinking songs. (Blame Minor Threat’s “Straight Edge” for that.) But if the recent spate of D.C. band-inspired beers is any indication, this town’s punk and metal scenes are a brewmaster’s muse.

Blistering grindcore band Pig Destroyer got its very own beer in March, when Indiana’s metal-loving 3 Floyds brewery debuted its Permanent Funeral pale ale in honor of the band. (3 Floyds gave Richmond thrashers Municipal Waste the same treatment with its Toxic Revolution stout.)

In 2011, New Belgium—makers of Fat Tire—released a strong, dark sour ale inspired by Germantown heavyweights Clutch; that year, Georgia’s Burnt Hickory Brewery also premiered an amber malt called 9353, named after the off-kilter, post-punky D.C. ensemble that formed in the 1980s.

Last year, Portland, Ore., company Upright Brewing dropped a pilsner and schwarzbier hybrid with Bad Brains–derived label artwork.

Local brewery DC Brau, meanwhile, has said it wants to produce a beer in honor of D.C. bands Regents (punk) and Darkest Hour (metal)—and it’s already co-produced one for local ska stalwarts The Pietasters.

Now, Alexandria’s Port City Brewing Company is readying its Borracho Smokin’ Brown Ale, a rich brew that takes its name from sludgy rock outfit Borracho (whose name translates to “drunk”). The limited-edition ale will be available exclusively on May 18 at Columbia Heights dive The Pinch.

This might crown Port City as the D.C. area’s most metal brewery: It hosts an occasional Metal Night at its headquarters, where bearded dudes from across the region assemble to quaff and headbang; and Port City already produced a beer in honor of a very metal thunderstorm: the great Derecho of 2012.

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  • Scott Hedeen

    Awesome! Some love to my brewery, The BURNT HICKORY BREWERY. Even though We are located in Kennesaw GA I'm a son of MD's Eastern shore, but spent many a day in The District seeing bands and buying records in the 80's.

    9353 were a band that really took the DC scene from another direction. Great band. (they have a record of NEW music out now BTW!).

    It's funny, I'm in GA but my brewery has made several DC band beers. We currently make VOID Wild Ale (a brett sour. In the past we've made beers for Black Market Baby (a return of that style this fall) and Gov't Issue Joy Ride Old Ale. (Love ya Stabb!). No word on the Minor Threat "Guilty of Being Wit" ale. J/K.

  • Alan

    Great article and I'm glad to see a vibrant beer and brewery scene going on in DC. @ Scott Hedeen congratulations on the publicity! I'm going to try to get a hold of some of your brew if at all possible here, it sounds great.

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