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Mastodon: Beasts and Beer at Roskilde

Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor makes it official, pouring hops into a vat of ingredients for Warpigs “War Canoe” beer.
Photo by Theis Mortensen

The metal titans pour hops while headlining one of Europe’s largest music fests.

Premier GuitarRig Rundown heroes Mastodon played the 44th annual Roskilde Festival in Denmark on July 2, bringing their blend of doom, prog, and stoner metal to thousands of appreciative fans. Two days before, however, they were blending ingredients for their own signature beer, adding two more selections to the Mastodon-themed beers already in existence: Signature Brew’s “Black Tongue” (England) and “The Hunter” beer by German brewer Mahrs Bräu.

Denmark is a country famous for its pork, but not American-style BBQ. American brewers 3 Floyds and Danish beer maker Mikkeller, both consistently rated among the top five breweries in the world, wanted to try something different and formed a partnership across the Atlantic. This year they opened a destination brewpub called Warpigs in Copenhagen’s Kødbyen district, which literally translates to “the meat town.” The concept is simple: authentic Texas-style BBQ and Danish-American craft beer—all made onsite.

Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher examines a batch of Mastodon craft beer being made in Copenhagen. Photo by Theis Mortensen

The restaurant’s name is both a nod to one of Black Sabbath’s finest moments, and the historical use of actual pigs in ancient warfare. Few things go better with top-notch beer and brisket than heavy riffs, and at the Warpigs establishment you’ll find stylish Copenhageners dining and drinking with tattooed metalheads, while classic and current metal plays on the sound system.

From left to right: Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher, Mikkeller’s Mixen Lindberg, and Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor take a tour of the Warpigs brewpub. Photo by Theis Mortensen

Known for special collaborations, Warpigs invited Mastodon to curate two beers—“Mother Puncher” and “War Canoe”—and timed the release with the band’s headlining Roskilde performance. Mastodon guitarists Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher joined the celebration and ceremoniously poured hops into vats, along with drummer Brann Dailor, who tells us the origin of the latter beer’s name. “When I was a kid my parents drove us around in a beat-up, rusted-out station wagon, which we called the ‘war canoe.’ When we were coming up with a name, that just seemed perfect.”

Warpigs general manager Kenneth Madsen described the War Canoe brew as “a hazy, citrusy, golden IPA, loaded with American hops.” It’s on tap now, and will be bottled, but only available from the brewpub.

Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor hitching a ride through the streets of Copenhagen. Photo by Theis Mortensen

The other Mastodon beer on tap for the event, Mother Puncher, is a farmhouse IPA “packed with funky, sweet, and tart notes, derived from passion fruit,” according to Mixen Lindberg, of Mikkeller. Lindberg’s old band, HateSphere, toured Europe with Mastodon years ago. “After they played in Copenhagen last year, we started talking about the possibility of doing a Mikkeller/Mastodon brew,” says Lindberg. “We made sure it was ready in time for Roskilde. Tuborg controls all of the beer there, but we managed to get some Mother Puncher into the backstage area. Then the band and I walked around the camping sites passing some out to stoked festival-goers who’d been drinking stale, lukewarm lagers.”

Indiana’s 3 Floyds has done collaborations with High on Fire, Pig Destroyer, and EYEHATEGOD, just to name a few. What metal band would you like to do a beer collaboration with, and what would you call it? Share your vision in the comments below.