Black Flag Brewing Co. in Columbia had considered collaborating with a band on a beer for a while, and one particular act came to mind for Ian Cahoon, the brewery’s taproom manager.
A few months ago, Cahoon reached out to Baltimore hardcore band End It, several members of whom he’s known for a long time. He said he also liked their general aesthetic and deep connection to the city.
“We’re always looking for ways to incorporate aspects outside of beer that we love here into the process,” Cahoon said.
The brewery on Friday is set to release the result of that collaboration: the Hard Head hazy IPA. The beer is 7% alcohol by volume and will be available on draft as well as in four-packs of 16-ounce cans for $16 at its taproom. That’s in addition to soon hitting shelves throughout Maryland.
Members of the band — and the Old Line Eats food truck — will be at the brewery for the release. Stickers will be available for purchase. T-shirts will be available later in the spring.
End It recently played the sold-out Disturbin’ the Peace festival at Baltimore Soundstage. The band contributed a new single, “Familia Finito,” to the “The Extermination Vol. 4″ compilation, which the Baltimore hardcore label Flatspot Records released earlier in 2023.
Cahoon said the band left the style of beer up to the brewery, which picked a hazy IPA, its most popular kind.
Hard Head features three different hops: strata, simcoe and mosaic, said Jon Cole, Black Flag’s head brewer.
He said he’s used that combination in other hazy IPAs, and thinks they work especially well together. The beer has berry, citrus and dank notes, while oats contribute to a big, silky mouthfeel. And some wheat helps, as well.
Cole said he also tries to keep the bitterness to a minimum, and noted that the beer has a slightly lower ABV than other hazy IPAs.
End It drummer Chris Gonzalez said he’d been thinking for a while that it would be cool for the band to partner with a Maryland brewery. He’d seen other punk and hardcore bands, including Integrity and Loud Boyz, do beer collaborations, but did not want to be the one to initiate that conversation.
Then Cahoon approached him about the concept.
“I just thought it was a cool idea,” Gonzalez said. “It fits well with punk and hardcore. So we were like, ‘Yeah, we got to do it.’”
Gonzalez said he looked through the band’s catalogue for a song title that would work for the name of the beer and suggested a rat for the label to represent Baltimore. The brewery sent the group some of the past artwork from its label designer, Michael Kroptavich.
“We can make so many T-shirts,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a bucket list thing. Let’s just do a beer.”