When Stone Brewing announced their partnership with NOFX to create an official Punk in Drublic beer, it seemed to make a lot of sense. Much like the recent creation of Pennywiser, NOFX and their fans like to partake in a good brew as much as anyone. But while most bands only dream of someday reaching the level of success where breweries are naming beers after your iconic albums, the guys in NOFX are just excited to finally have a beer company take them seriously rather than just using the catchy name.
“I think it’s cool because a couple of breweries have tried to work with us before, but it’s always been janky,” says NOFX frontman and bassist “Fat Mike” Burkett. “But when Stone wanted to work with us, they were taking it seriously. I was like ‘This is the kind of beer I want to do’ and they listened to me. It’s a hoppy lager, and they don’t do lagers here very often. They had to bring in a certain malt that they don’t usually use, but it’s a really drinkable beer.”
But along with the limited edition beer (which is in stores now), the punks and brewers also teamed up for a traveling festival. With six weekend dates on and near the West Coast — concluding with October 28 in Huntington Beach — the Punk in Drublic Festival is bringing a handful of punk bands to each stop. Why only a handful instead of a few dozen on multiple stages? Because more than that is too much for an adults-only (21+) punk rock and beer festival, and the point isn’t to cram as many acts as possible into a day.
“I did [Ye Scallywag] in San Diego last year with Stone as a sponsor, and it was so fun,” Burkett says. “It was five or six bands — which is about how many bands I want to see — it was on a weekend, and it had free beer tasting. The promoter was talking about doing one in LA, and I was like ‘Let’s just do it everywhere!’ So this year we have a few of them, and hopefully next year we’ll have a bunch of them.”
Of course, even if Punk in Drublic is among the first festivals Fat Mike’s been primarily responsible for, a quarter-century of playing massive stages has taught him enough lessons to know what he’s doing this fall. In some ways, Burkett says he’s actually more comfortable onstage a lot of the time than he is in real life (except when he has to do “Cokie the Clown,” but that’s another story), and it always helps when the band can add friends like Bad Religion and Goldfinger to the bill — like they did for Huntington Beach.
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“No one knows this, but one of the deals we had with Warped Tour the last three times we did it was that we’ll only do it if Bad Religion does it too,” Burkett says. “We wouldn’t do the Warped tour without Bad Religion, and now we’re doing our own festival with Bad Religion. They’re a little older than us, but we’re from the same time and we like the same things. We’re adults — or we’re old.”
But whether they’re playing alongside Bad Religion, Pennywise, Goldfinger, Less Than Jake, or any of the other various bands NOFX likes sharing a festival stage with, it’s the brotherhood mentality of punk rock that’s allowed these types of events to continue on for so long. While other genres often get stuck with infighting and drama tearing apart their scene (or at least preventing it from growing), most of the established punk bands get along swimmingly — with a few exceptions of course.
“Punk rock’s not like metal or rap,” Burkett says. “We’re all bros. There are no beefs — well maybe some bands have them. I had one with Underoath, but that’s different because they’re Christian.”
Punk 'n Brew Craft Beer & Music Festival will be in Huntington Beach on October 28. Tickets start at $59 and are available through the festival's website.