Punk rock time seemed to be in effect during San Diego’s Stone Brewing Company’s brew day with Michael Burkett -- a.k.a. Fat Mike, singer and bassist for the legendary punk rock band NOFX. As employees and a handful of press loitered over coffee and fruit, he strolled into the room a surprisingly short 10 minutes late and was promptly handed a pint.
“They sent me a schedule, but I didn’t really read it,” he laughed.
That devil-may-care attitude makes beer and punk rock make pretty compatible bedfellows. Collaborations between the two independently-minded industries have ranged from Tired Hands Brewing Company/Pissed Jeans to Mikkeller/Descendents and beyond. Now, it’s Stone Brewing Company and NOFX’s turn.
The collaborative Punk in Drublic beer -- named for the celebrated 1994 album that’s sold more than a million copies to date -- is a 5.8% ABV hoppy lager that Stone’s Senior Manager of Brewing & Innovation Steve Gonzalez describes as “heavily dry hopped, but pretty approachable at the same time”. The joint brew with screaming pink packaging inviting people to “frink dresh” will be available in 12 oz. cans in early September to coincide with Fat Mike’s Punk in Drublic Craft Beer and Music Festival.
Dubbed “a punk rock tour for adults”, the festival will feature NOFX, Flogging Molly, Bad Religion, and a handful of other iconic punk bands over five weekend-only dates in September and October. The 21+ restriction and daytime hours means NOFX’s devoted fan base, now in their thirties and forties, can relive their youth without losing steam (in public, at least).
“It should be fun,” promises Fat Mike. “My friends… want to drink and don’t want a lot of kids around them.”
The beer itself will be available at each show during the craft beer tasting portion from noon - 4 p.m., along with approximately 100 other beers. Starting in early September, cans of Punk in Drublic will also be distributed around the areas surrounding each venue, which include Huntington Beach, California; Tacoma, Washington; and Boise, Idaho.
Although the album Punk in Drublic predates Stone Brewing by two years -- the record was released in 1994; Stone was founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996 -- this nostalgic pairing makes perfect sense. Notoriously anti-mainstream, NOFX refuses to sign to any major label, so partnering with an independent but still equally successful brewery like Stone takes their shared “getting big without selling out” ideology to the next level. They keep punk rock elite the same way Stone keeps craft brewing legit.
“Music is a part of what we do,” said Dominic Engels, CEO at Stone. “We love to think about the soundtrack to your beer drinking.”
He confirmed this project -- the brainchild of Cameron Collins of Brew Ha Ha Productions -- has been in the works for almost a year.
“Music first, beer second,” declared Engels.
Before donning pink boots just a shade brighter than his mohawk and heading into Stone’s brewhouse to begin the actual brewing process, Fat Mike shrugged off the questions about forging this alcohol partnership after going through detox from painkillers last year. He casually dismissed beer as fairly harmless as far as vices go. He’s no stranger to making, singing about, or drinking (but really, mostly drinking) beer; he’s even dabbled in homebrewing in years past, although he admits his concoctions were less than stellar.
Brewing a lager seems to be the natural choice for the band; they even have a song called “Lager in the Dark” on their 1989 album Maximum RocknRoll and are often photographed with bottles of Stella Artois onstage. However, with backing from the ninth largest craft brewery in the United States, even the most diehard craft beer enthusiasts are likely to forgive the band’s proclivity for the non-indie lager after tasting Punk in Drublic.
Follow #PunkinDrublic on social media for updates on the beer and music festival this fall.