In 1994, California-based punk band NOFX released their fifth full length album, Punk in Drublic. Just two years later, in 1996, a small microbrewery by the name of Stone opened in California. Both NOFX and Stone Brewing started out small, but exploded into household names by doing things their own way. As a punk and beer enthusiast, the collaboration between the two twenty-plus years later quickly made its way to the top of my must-try list. It was first released on April 2nd and is widely distributed throughout much of the country, so my search began.
Call me a sucker for advertising, but seeing the NOFX logo and the bright pink rendition of the classic album cover on the can really drew me in. After so many recent, hyper-local releases, I’ve become far more accustomed to four-packs of 16 ounce cans. But few things beat the feeling of picking up a fresh six-pack of 12 ounce cans on a hot day. The cans themselves embrace the NOFX’s bassist and lead vocalist “Fat Mike” lore. “Brewed with Fat Mike, who showed up and mostly just got in the way,” the beer’s description reads.
I was a little surprised at how mellow this beer was.”
The beer is advertised as a “hoppy lager,” which, I must admit, is not typically a go-to beer style for me. I find that often times lagers, due to their higher sugar content than ales, are a bit too sweet. But nonetheless, I approach them with an open mind, and there’s nothing wrong with a little sweetness for a humid afternoon refreshment.
The pour on Punk in Drublic is smooth, clear and crisp, as one would expect a lager to be. Aromas of berry and melon emerge from the Huell Melon hop varietal used in to achieve the “hoppy”quality in this hoppy lager. The taste was clean, with a hint of sweetness that was rounded out nicely by a light, hoppy melon flavor profile. As the beer warmed a bit, the flavor actually fell off into the realm of an unidentifiable, almost standard-tasting, lager. Enjoyed cold, though, the beer was relatively easy-drinking and certainly checked the box for what a “hoppy lager” should taste like: Both flavorful and approachable for those not quite ready to make the IPA leap.
Based on what I know about Stone for being heavy hitters with flavor, as well as Fat Mike and NOFX for being a wild group who don’t pull any punches—or, in Fat Mike’s case, kicks—I have to say I was a little surprised at how mellow this beer was. It didn’t quite feel like a beer that was trying to make a statement, or even really be remembered as something special. At 5.8% ABV, it’s on the higher-end of the sessionable beer spectrum, so it’s not exactly a beer that you should be pounding down during sets at a punk show. When all is said and done, the beer is enjoyable, especially cold, but I had expectations for something a little louder from this collaboration.