Decibel Metal & Beer Fest Brewery Profile: Champion Brewing Co

Charlottesville, VA
Start Date: 2012
Signature Metal Beer: Canis Lupulus Bourbon Barrel Barleywine

The bands that will be performing at the upcoming Decibel Metal & Beer Fest on April 22-23 in Philadelphia are no doubt familiar to Decibel readers, but we wanted to shine a little light on the craft beer underground by spotlighting the breweries that will be pouring their beers at the festival. Next up we hear from Hunter Smith, president and head brewer at Champion.

Tell me about the metal heart that beats under Champion’s clean-cut exterior?
Funny you ask, I’ve always been a metal guy despite my own relatively clean-cut exterior and folks are surprised by that sometimes, too. I’ve been into metal since I was a kid, and several of our brewers are as well, so that’s a common theme that runs through our brewery. People know when I’m in the office, that’s for sure. 

I first heard about Champion via a collaboration with Ramming Speed, have you done any other band collabs?
We have done a number of band collabs, each fun and rad in their own way. To date we’ve worked with NOFX, Against Me!, the Hold Steady, GWAR, Ramming Speed, Corsair, a joint collab with Surly and Mastodon, and we have an upcoming collab with Power Trip.

What do you see as the connection between extreme music and craft beer?
I think the connection between extreme music and craft beer is pretty linear. I think people are drawn to both for the same reasons: intensity, passion and something you can get totally fucking pumped about – a big crazy barrel aged stout, a super hoppy double IPA, a 45-second grindcore blast, a 9-minute stoner riff. I think people are drawn to them all for similar reasons. And we all like to thumb our nose at the norm.

What’s the most “metal” beer Champion brews?
Probably our Canis Lupulus Bourbon Barrel Barleywine. It’s toothy, massive, hard to get, goes down easily and will totally wreck you. 

Why should attendees of first annual the Decibel Metal & Beer Fest seek out Champion beers at the festival? Give Decibel readers your best pitch. 
Attendees of the first annual Metal and Beer Fest need to seek us out because there’s a good chance they’ve never had our beer! We’ve got a GABF Gold Medal under our belts and we don’t distribute very far yet. We care about making the best quality beer more than any other aspect of our business. We’re hardcore and fun to drink with. 

To get tickets to the Decibel Metal & Beer Fest, go here.