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Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

    “Hardcore Lager”: Norfolk’s One and Only Limited Hardcore Punk Beer

    Chris, vocalist of Bato, spinning records at Benchtop Brewery.
Photo Credit to Dalton Epley
    Chris, vocalist of Bato, spinning records at Benchtop Brewery. Photo Credit to Dalton Epley

    Punk music (with the exception of straight-edge punk) and beer have a very close relationship. Bands like Fear, Gang Green, Black Flag, and more have all written songs about the bubbly substance. In the spirit of punk rock celebrations, Not For The Weak Records and Benchtop Brewery have collaborated to make a beer for the label’s hardcore audience.

    Jordan Greenough, the brains behind Not For The Weak Records, personally reached out to Benchtop Brewery. 

    “The idea just comes from bands that do ‘beer releases’, so instead of a band having a beer release, let’s just have it as a label.” 

    Greenough made a valid point. Several bands have released brews under their own names, ranging from NOFX and Pennywise to Motörhead and Iron Maiden. Although releasing it as a label was done with the intention of a fun collaboration, it actually made a lot more sense for it to be associated with the record label and not just affiliated with one band. Not For The Weak Records has done a great deal of supporting local and small-time traveling artists, releasing new local music, and overall just fostering the scene. Who wouldn’t want to make a toast using a drink dedicated to the name that’s behind it all?

    They didn’t desire anything overly complicated. Obviously, the go-to beer for everyone in the shows at the Norfolk Taphouse is the beloved $3, 16-ounce can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, commonly referred to as PBR, which comfortably sits at about 5% ABV. 

    “Most of the people that come out to shows drink like PBRs and stuff… So we wanted something drinkable but a little bit nicer than a PBR. As far as the taste, we basically let them go for it. Basically, I just went in and told them, ‘We want something like… take a PBR and put it on steroids.’”

    It’s not everyday you see a local business do a collaborative beer release with a brewery in Norfolk. It may be the first time it’s happened at such a scale with the making of the Hardcore Lager. 

    “I chose Benchtop because I feel like they’re the only brewery around here that I feel is the most authentic as far as just being themselves and doing fun things,” Greenough said. “They’re not afraid of taking risks with beer, and they’re also doing funny pun stuff [with beer names].” 

    The latter part rings especially true as the Hardcore Lager’s alcohol content sits at an amusing percentage of 6.66. As fate would have it, the Taphouse labeled the beer’s overall price as $6.66, including tax, putting the hardcore in “Hardcore Lager.”.

    To celebrate the beer’s release, Not For The Weak Records hosted a party at Benchtop Brewery in Norfolk on Jan. 19, 2024, starting at 6 p.m. The choice drink of the night? Not for the Weak’s Hardcore Lager. 

    Of course, such a special drink launch should be paired with delicious food. LeGrand Kitchen, a “finer diner” in Norfolk, came out to Benchtop Brewery and served a short menu to pair with the beer, including the famous “LeGrand Burger,” which many locals consider to be one of the best burgers in the city of Norfolk—and quite possibly all of the 757. To add to the ambiance, the guys from Not For The Weak Records came out, prepared a DJ booth setup, and started to spin their collection of records during the evening. Plenty of locals involved with the scene came out and shared a drink, supporting both the label and Benchtop.

    While Friday was a great night to be among friends and to make new ones, the fun did not stop there. The Taphouse was the place to be the following night, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024. Not For The Weak Records scheduled a show that featured a killer lineup of Norfolk bands that consisted of RHDP, Bato, Crime Line, Prime Suspect, and Reckoning Force—all of which can pull a large crowd on their own. The noise started at 7 p.m., and the night was met with the blissful cacophony of hardcore punk and straight rock and roll until the final song rolled out. The taphouse was at maximum capacity, and the crowd almost ended up draining the entire keg of Hardcore Lager. 

    The limited punk rock brew made its way into LeGrand’s lineup of draft beers, as well as Cogan’s. The can’s graphic design was in pure black and white, featuring the unmistakable Not For The Weak skeleton holding a vinyl record labeled “NFTW!!!”. The initial taste of it is reminiscent of an IPA, but once swallowed, it doesn’t leave that bitter IPA aftertaste. It’s pretty smooth and enjoyable.

    Even though the beer was intended to be limited, it’s still inspiring to see just how most of the community showed up to support both Benchtop Brewery and NFTW Records. There’s no doubt that the occasion will be a fond memory for the hardcore fans within the city of Norfolk.

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