Ever since I started going to Metal shows at the age of 14 or 15, I’ve noticed the extent to which beer and the consumption thereof has played a part in the Metal experience.  With the surge in interest of craft brews and homebrewing in the last 10 years, I’ve noticed the subtle ways in which Metal has creeped into the craft brewing world, as well as vice versa.

TRVE Brewing, based out of Denver, Colorado, is one of the young examples of this growing phenomenon.  I recently had the pleasure of talking with Nick, owner and head brewer at TRVE Brewing, via e-mail, about Metal and brews.


Judge Dredd: Let’s start with the basics. What’s your name? What is your job title with TRVE Brewing? How did TRVE Brewing come into existence? How did you initially become interested in brewing beer? How did you first get into Metal?

I’m Nick, owner and brewer at TRVE.
I’d been homebrewing for about 4-5 years before I started writing a business plan, and about six months in I finally decided on the theme. I’ll be the first to admit that it came to me after visiting Kuma’s Corner in Chicago. I had one of the best burgers of my life sitting next to some grandma while they were blaring something brutal like Cryptopsy. I knew Denver needed something in the same vein.
I’ve been a metalhead since I was fifteen. I’d been playing drums since I was eight and when I heard the intro to Death’s “Sound of Perseverance” it blew my brain out the back of my skull.
Judge Dredd: I’ve noticed that most, if not all of the names of your beers, reference Metal albums, songs, or bands (Sunn O))), “Prehistoric Dog” by Red Fang, ‘Diotima’ by Krallice, “Tunnel of Trees” by Deafheaven, etc.). Is this a theme you will continue? Do you decide on a name just by whatever you are currently listening to, or is the thought process a bit more involved than that?
This is definitely a thing that’ll continue. All our beers will always be named after albums or songs from bands we think are killing it. We kinda broke the system a little bit with our new Double IPA – Nazareth – since it’s a quote from a song instead of a title, but the gag still works.
The naming kinda works both ways. I could be listening to something and think a beer would be great to name after it, or I might come up with a beer and hunt around for a song that fits the style.

Judge Dredd: Continuing this theme a little bit, my friends and I often describe non-Metal things (like novels, movies, dish soaps, etc.) according to different Metal sub-genres. For example, I would say the movie ‘Roadhouse’ with Patrick Swayze is Technical Sludge/Southern Metal with some 80s Thrash influences. Using this system, what sub-genres of Metal are pilsners, IPAs, stouts, hefeweizens, and Belgian ales? Also, what is overall the MOST Metal style of beer in your opinion? Why?
There’re countless ways in which metal and beer are similar. I definitely associate certain beer styles with different sub-genres of metal. Stouts are like doom, IPAs are like stoner metal, a hopped-up American pils is kinda like grind.
I don’t think that there’s a style of beer that’s the MOST metal, just like there’s not a sub-genre of metal that’s MORE metal than any other. It all depends on what you’re in the mood for.

Judge Dredd: In a video interview with Billy Broas (of billybrew.com), he asked you about the name of the brewery, and I really liked your response. You mentioned that it’s in part about making fun of people who take themselves too seriously, and of course, I immediately thought of the many many Metal elitists who sometimes take themselves and Metal way way too seriously. Could you elaborate on your response for our audience?
A truly exhausting aspect of the cultures of both Metal and Beer is the insane amount of elitism that pervades the dialogues in both circles. A person’s palate and a person’s ear are their own, and are totally subjective. I named the brewery TRVE as a jab to folks who I inevitably knew would come in and talk down to us and act like they know better than we do. As predicted, we definitely get the occasional kvlt warrior coming in disappointed that we have beer that isn’t swill and working bathroom doors.

Judge Dredd: As someone who has dabbled in homebrewing, I know that picking the right ingredients for a new brew is of the utmost importance, and that it can take a long time to perfect a recipe. How do you go about picking the hops and other ingredients for a new brew? How long does it take you to perfect a new recipe?
To be honest, I’ve gotten REALLY lucky in that I used gut instinct to come up with some of our recipes and they turned out damn-near perfect. Stout O))) and Hellion both haven’t changed at all since their initial batches since we honestly can’t think of a single way we’d want to change them.
Tunnel of Trees is another story entirely since I’ve been continually tweaking it from day one and am only just now really happy with it. One of the best aspects of our small system and unexpected popularity is that we rip through batches really quickly and are able to make a lot of tweaks to recipes. It’s also given me a lot of time to familiarize myself with our system enough to know how certain ingredients or processes are going to change the end result.

Judge Dredd: From what I understand, craft brewing is especially popular in Colorado (New Belgium, Left Hand, and Great Divide just to name a few of the larger ones). Why do you think this is? Also, do you feel there is a lot of competition as a result?
We had a strong start 15-20 years ago with the big wave of craft brewery openings in the 1980s, all of who you name above were a part of. These dudes and ladies paved the way for little guys like us to get open by enlightening a ton of people to great beer.
Craft beer as a whole at this point is not at all about competition, or if it is it’s very friendly competition. We’re out at other breweries whenever we can be and other breweries are stopping in here all the time. Since craft beer as a whole only JUST surpassed 5% of the entire beer market, it’s very much still an “us versus them” mentality with craft beer fighting together against the big three.

Judge Dredd: From what I can gather, it looks as though you only sell your beer at the brewery, or takeaways via growlers. I know the brewery is still very young, but are you looking to eventually expand to regional distribution in the future, or do you prefer to keep the business local?
I still haven’t really decided how far out I want to take this. There’s a certain degree of beauty to the simplicity of what we’re doing – we brew beer and listen to metal, and that’s it. The upcoming battle for shelf space in liquor stores in Colorado (and around the country for that matter) is about to get brutal, and I’m not sure I want TRVE to be a part of that.
Judge Dredd: For many Metalheads, it seems as though beer and Metal go together like peanut butter and jelly. From all the way back to Iron Maiden’s collective, herculean ability to down thousands of beers on a tour, to the present where one has bands like Municipal Waste getting their very own beer produced by Three Floyds Brewery. Do you think there is an inextricable link between Metal and beer? If so, why do you think that might be? Additionally, do you think that relationship has changed at all as craft brews have gained in popularity?
I like to think that part of the appeal of metal is the escapism of the whole genre, and part of the reason humans have loved booze for six thousand years is that it makes them feel unlike their normal selves. That desire to get away from reality is present in both domains.
Why beer though? My guess is that it’s cause beer’s always been the working person’s drink, and metal’s always been the music of lower/middle class working folk. It’s a natural fit.
It’s unfortunate that the dominant beer of metal is the macro-lager. I know not every hesher’s gonna want to drink craft beer, but I’m hoping I can get some of them to try something different than a Banquet or Peeber once in a while. Seems to be working so far!

Judge Dredd: In our hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, we have a brewery called Free State Brewery. In the past, employees and customers alike have commented on how Free State brings the community together and encourages the exchange of ideas. What part do you think your brewery plays in the Denver community, or even just the Denver Metal community? How would you compare the Metal community with the craft brewing community of Denver? Are they mutually exclusive?
The cool thing about the crowd at our brewery is that it’s the weirdest mix of people imaginable. A couple of my metalhead friends were in the brewery for one of our beer releases and were amazed at how many “normals” there were in our taproom. I love that part of what we’re doing. We expose the bangers to good beer and the normals to great tunes.

Judge Dredd: What would be your advice to someone who wants to start homebrewing or even start their own brewery?
If you’re gonna start homebrewing, dive the fuck in! Don’t get all neurotic about every little aspect of a brew day, and don’t overanalyze what’s happening at every moment. It takes time to tune yourself in to how things should progress so in the beginning I can’t stress enough that you just need to chill the fuck out and brew. Focus on good sanitation and proper fermentation temperatures and your beer will be perfectly good, if not great.
If you’re one of the thousands of people looking to open a brewery these days, all I can say is get ready to have your ass handed to you day after day. It’s a shitton more work than you’re imagining.
Mostly I would just recommend being different. Don’t just be another boring brewery blending in with all the others. If you do something fun and original, you’ll kill it.
Judge Dredd: Any last words?
Drink beer and worship the riff!


Visit the Trve Brewing website here.  If you are in the Denver, CO area, then you can visit their brewery at this location:

227 Broadway #101
Denver, CO 80203