Black Friday: Punk Rock-Inspired Beer

This Black Friday–the day after Thanksgiving–is the release of Upright Brewing’s Untitled,” a beer inspired by the seminal D.C. punk band Bad Brains.It’s sort of a companion piece to 2010’s untitled “Clash” beer. Both beers make up a new punk rock tribute series that will see releases rotate, with a new one coming out every other year. So, 2012 will be “Untitled” Bad Brains and 2013 will see The Clash tribute resurface.

But I digress. The “Untitled” beer is a strong dark lager that comes off like a lager version of a Cascadian Dark Ale in some ways. The bottle artwork–designed by yours truly–is in the same minimal colors of the previous Clash tribute beer, this time adopting Bad Brains’ rastafarian red, yellow, and green. and the band’s trademark imagery that includes a lightning bolt. I am also excited that we will have brand new limited edition Upright Brewing t-shirts bearing the new artwork.

The original punk rock “Untitled” Clash tribute beer makes its return in 2013.

“Untitled” Bad Brains uses a nearly identical recipe to the original “Clash” beer, but with just enough highly roasted malts to lend it a very dark brown color. It is hopped with Perle, Liberty, and Tettnanger varieties, but stays smooth all around. It also has the distinction of being the first true lager fermented in one of Upright’s open tanks and clocks in at 6.4% abv.

The release party on Friday, 11/23, at Saraveza’s newly remodeled Bad Habit Room has a lot going on. In addition to the bottle release party with bottle sales to go, the beer will be on tap alongside one of the last kegs of Lactovasilios (barrel fermented Berliner-Weisse) and the new batch of Todo Modo (session saison) and the “Untitled” beer itself. Also, the brand new Bad Brains album “Into the Future,” released this week on Megaforce Records, will be playing, and the band’s documentary “A Band in DC” will be screening. Meet Upright Brewing’s Brewer/Owner Alex Ganum, Point Blank Distributing’sMorgan Torngren-Tatman, who conceptualized the beer, and myself, the artist.

Certainly this is a better way to spend your Black Friday than in some big box department store, no?

About Upright Brewing:
Upright Brewing specializes in farmhouse inspired beers rooted in France and Belgium made with local ingredients and a Pacific Northwest twist, while also dabbling in both classic and quirky projects from around the world. The name is a reference to Charles Mingus and his primary instrument. Mingus was a musician whose compositions defy categorization. At Upright the recipes and processes are decidedly unbound, making for a true hybrid style that shares Mingus’ spirit of exercising creativity and craft.
240 N Broadway suite two, Portland OR 97227 | (503) 735-5337 |

About Bad Brains:
Considered to be the “holy grail” of punk rock, Bad Brains are one of the definitive American punk groups who garner the same respect as Sex Pistols, Black Flag, The Ramones, and The Clash. It’s a return to form for the band that helped define American Punk and Hardcore music.

“This album takes us back to self-produced record shines with Bad Brains’ true sense of freedom and musical experimentation, with blends of soulful backgrounds meshed with blistering hardcore and metal riffs, with classic dub,” says Darryl Jenifer of Bad Brains.

“Into The Future is the purest Bad Brains recordings since the ROIR cassette.”
— Dr. Know

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact:


  • Anonymous
    Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:17 PM

    Will keep an eye out for the Bad Brains beer and would love to know where to get one of the shirts

    • Samurai Artist
      Samurai Artist
      Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:20 PM

      shirts will be available in a couple weeks at Upright Brewing

    • Jason
      Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:04 AM

      “adopting Bad Brains’ rastafarian red, yellow, and green. and the band’s *trademark* imagery that includes a lightning bolt.”

      So, I assume that you got the band’s permission to use their likeness to sell a pricey beer. Right?

      • Samurai Artist
        Samurai Artist
        Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:33 AM

        I dont know of any “trademark” also I personally just designed the label so thats where my job ends. Also how do you know how much the beer costs before its even announced?

      • Jason
        Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:31 PM

        So, if you don’t know of any trademark, why did you specifically refer to the band’s “trademark” imagery? Or did you forget you’d written that.

        Seems to me to be decent form to contact a band/artist etc. to at least ask permission if you’re going to use their likeness for commercial reasons. They may think it’s cool—or they may not want to have their name used to sell beer, or anything really. But hey, you just designed the label.

        I like Upright’s beer, but cheap, it ain’t—at least not the bottled versions.

        • ElGordo
          Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:51 PM

          Perhaps the word “signature” would be more appropriate in relation to the lightning bolt imagery; I don’t think there’s any true legal trademark there. But if you think this is controversial, just wait until next year’s release of Minor Threat Mild Ale.