Decibel Metal and Beer Fest Brewery Profile: Burnt Hickory

Burnt Hickory
Kennesaw, GA

Start Date: 2012
Signature Metal Beer: Charred Walls of the Damned Bourbon Barrel-Aged Belgian-style Quadrupel

The bands that will be performing at the upcoming Decibel Metal & Beer Festival 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. Kennesaw, Georgia brewery Burnt Hickory is run by one of the most rock n’ roll brewers out there, Scott Hedeen—a record collector, guitarist and brewing badass. Here’s his story.

You’ve done a lot of band collaboration beers over the years, including Charred Wall of the Damned, but how do you come up with the style of beer to brew for each band?
In the case of CWOTD, we had a bourbon barrel-aged quad in the works. The inner “walls” of bourbon barrels are actually “charred” before whiskey is aged in them. Thus? CLICK! An email to Richard Christy (CWOTD head man, Howard Stern employee and craft beer nut) was sent and in a few minutes he replied and said, “Name that beer that! NOW!”

With our Order of The Owl (a local Atlanta Doom band), we knew they played thru Orange Amps exclusively. I had been wanting to do an orange chocolate stout for forever, so . . . CLICK!

To answer the original question, it’s based on some similar thread or just a bolt of enlightenment.

Who have been some of your favorites to work with and why?
Die Kreuzen were one my favorite band in the ’80s. Loved everything they did from the fast as hell hardcore to their shoegaze alt metal phase. Dan, the singer, is a helluva guy and is truly grateful that we pay tribute to his band. He’s now become a personal friend because of this beer. Makes me smile.

As a guitarist and record collector, what got you into brewing craft beer?
I love the ability to create something. If you think about it, a beer is like a song. You imagine the recipe (the lyrics/melody) you brew it (record it). You taste it and tweak it (you tour it and perform it) and you sell it. You also can design the record cover (the label), the swag (t-shirts and merch). You also control the message or way the beer/band is seen. So the Decibel Metal & Beer Fest is a perfect combination of what I love!

What’s the most “metal” beer you brew?
What is “metal” these days? If I have to answer, it’s our Burial Truce beer. BT is our 13% ABV stout [that’s] hit with habaneros/cold-pressed coffee/honey/chocolate/vanilla. It’s not named for a band, but for the six-hour period when the Union and Confederates called off fighting so they could clean the dead off of the battlefield. This happened about 150 years ago, about two miles from our brewery. Sounds like a cover of a Slayer record to me!

Why should attendees of first annual the Decibel Metal & Beer Fest seek out Burnt Hickory beers at the festival? Give Decibel readers your best pitch.
Burnt Hickory has been independently owned and operated by a man who for the last 40 years has held the opinion that Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” is the best song ever recorded. Every drop of our beer is labored over and produced with such pride and care. To us, music is a window into your soul.There you can see what kind of beer you are going to produce. If you like Hootie and the Blowfish, please don’t make beer. If you think Aerosmith’s best song is “Crying,” please don’t make beer. If you went to see Dave Matthews on the same night that Electric Wizard played in your town . . . get the point?

Will you be pouring anything special for the festival?
We are going to debut our collab with local band Withered [who will be performing] at the fest. Mike Thompson (singer/guitarist) and I figured out that we are in the same city and thought this is a no brainer! So we plan on a Blackberry Berliner, made with a whopping dose of Devil love! Atlanta is a huge metal town, from Withered to Mastodon. ATL is getting loud and fast!

For tickets to Decibel Metal & Beer Fest, go here.