Hippie vs. Metalhead Craft Breweries

Here are a few hippie- and metal-influenced breweries to seek out.

Heather Vandenengel Mar 16, 2017 - 6 min read

Hippie vs. Metalhead Craft Breweries  Primary Image

In one corner, there are Deadheads with tie-dye T-shirts, mandala tapestries, and endless jam sessions. And in the other, long-haired headbangers with denim jackets, pentagram patches, and an encyclopedic knowledge of metal sub-genres. But what hippies and metalheads share is an appreciation for good craft beer (and also beards), and craft-beer drinkers of any musical leanings can appreciate what they’re putting out. Here are a few hippie- and metal-influenced breweries to seek out.

The Hippies

Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery

San Francisco, California

Magnolia’s brewpub is located at hippie ground zero, on Haight Street in San Francisco, where they’ve been serving traditional bitters and milds alongside American styles and cask ales for more than sixteen years. Uber chill vibes pervade throughout the pub; there’s a good chance some Grateful Dead tunes will come through the speakers; and the Slow Food-inspired menu features hearty, well-done fare. They have also expanded outside the Haight-Ashbury to the Dogpatch neighborhood with a new brewery and BBQ restaurant named Smokestack (partially as a Grateful Dead tribute to their song “Smokestack Lightning,” of course).

Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery

Boulder, Colorado


A Boulder institution, Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery is a laidback brewpub where locals, regulars, families, and visiting beer geeks can enjoy their house beers, from the Colorado Kind Ale (Amber Ale hopped with Cascade) to the Isadore Java Porter (brewed with “a generous amount of coffee”). For food, there is a solid selection of vegetarian offerings, including the outstanding tempeh Reuben sandwich and a hefty Boulder burrito. And service is notoriously friendly. Sister restaurants include the Southern Sun Pub & Brewery in South Boulder, Vine Street Pub & Brewery in Denver, and the Under the Sun Eatery & Taphouse in Boulder.

Honorable Hippies

  • Cambridge Brewing Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has a hippie streak, with beer names such as Flower Child IPA and Weekapaug Gruit Ale, named for Phish’s “Weekapaug Groove.”
  • Dogfish Head-brewed American Beauty is a Grateful Dead-inspired IPA made with organic granola.
  • Earth Eagle Brewings in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, specializes in herbal gruits, beers typically brewed without hops. Ingredients may include chickweed, catnip, sea buckthorn, sweet flag, hyssop, and many other herbs, spices, and shrubs you probably never knew existed or were edible.

The Metalheads

TRVE Brewing Co.

Denver, Colorado

While tattooed, cut-off clad patrons may line the bar, non-metalhead beer-loving locals are made to feel just as welcome at TRVE Brewing, where the taproom space is dark and lined with barrels (top photo) and a long beer hall-style table fills the space. Here, creative, nontraditional styles rule, such as Prehistoric Dog, a salted wheat beer named for the Red Fang song; and Hellion, a 4.4% ABV table beer brewed with oats. They celebrated their second anniversary with two anniversary beers: Cvlt One, a “blend of two beers from two separate barrel types with Saccharomyces, Lactobacillus, two strains of Brettanomyces, and fruit—tart cherries to be exact”; and Volume II, a sour brown ale. And, of course, there was an anniversary metal show with a loaded lineup that included Power Trip, Bongripper, Call of the Void, and Stoic Dissention to help them ring in their “terrible twos.” They are also in the process of opening a new 5,000 square-foot production facility called the Acid Temple, which will be dedicated to barrel-aged and sour wild ales.

3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Munster, Indiana

A look at the labels (often featuring intricate drawings of skulls and freakish creatures) and beer names (Zombie Dust, Arctic Panzer Wolf) from 3 Floyds Brewing gives away their metal leanings. But the influence runs much deeper than surface level. They invoke a “not normal” philosophy in their brewing style and have collaborated with a number of metal bands such as EyeHateGod and Pig Destroyer, with equally appropriate beer names: In the Name of Suffering Black IPA and Permanent Funeral Pale Ale, respectively. Todd Haug, who left Surly Brewing Co. last year for 3 Floyds, was a guitarist for speed metal band Powermad. And 3 Floyds' annual Dark Lord Day, on which they release their highly sought-after Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, features a heavy metal lineup that goes until last call.

More Metal

  • Denver has a second metal brewery, Black Sky Brewery, opened by Breckenridge brewer Harry Smith in Fall 2013.
  • At Port City Brewing in Alexandria, Virginia, brewer Will Cook tweets his metal and beer pairings and hosts heavy metal nights at the brewery with Metal Chris from

Craft-beer breweries, brewpubs, and beer bars are expanding all over the United States at a rapid rate, yet who do you trust for accurate and up-to-date information about where to go and what to drink? The Ultimate Beer Guide Western Edition 2017 answers that question with expertly curated reviews, suggestions, and insight from the editors and writers of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Order your copy today.