Heavy Metal Band Anthrax Gets Its Own Beer

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Anthrax Wardance Beer
Butternuts Beer & Ale releases Wardance, a beer in honor of metal band Anthrax. (Credit: Butternuts)

Proving that craft beer isn’t just for hipsters, the heavy metal band Anthrax is getting its own beer.

A New York City bar owner connected Anthrax band members with Chuck Williamson, the owner of Butternuts Beer & Ale. Butternuts, most famous for its Pork Slap Pale Ale, is launching a rebrand so the intro to Anthrax came at just the right time for Williamson.

The new beer, called Wardance, is the first new canned beer in several years for Butternuts. Wardance is a 5.5% ABV pale ale brewed with New York-grown and North American two-row malt and a mix of specialty malts. The hops are sourced from both New York and West Coast growers.

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“I’ve wanted to do our own beer for a long time,” says Anthrax’s Scott Ian, one of the original band members. “I am a fan of Butternuts, so when I found out Chuck was interested in doing a beer with us I immediately said yes.”

Williamson and marketing man David Ciancio (who, like Williamson, counts Anthrax as one of his favorite groups) worked with Ian and his bandmates to create a beer that fit the band members’ tastes and would appeal to the group’s fans.

“I spoke to Chuck about what we like and don’t like and what I would want from our beer,” Ian recalls. “It was simple: a beer that would be very drinkable yet still have flavor.”

Williamson and his team sampled the band on a test batch, and then worked the group’s feedback into a second batch that struck a power chord with the band.

“Wardance,” Ian says, “is a beer you can drink over and over again. And I have!”

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The beer’s name references a circular mosh-pit dance Anthrax fans do during the song “Indians.” Wardance will be available in New York stores, bars and restaurants in late March. In the future, the beer will hit some of the nine other states in the brewery’s distribution reach.

Anthrax becomes the latest band to want its very own craft beer. Earlier in 2017, Crying Eagle Brewing Co. unveiled Hop Blooded, an IPA named in honor of rock band Foreigner.

Jess Baker walked into a beer fest in 2010 and realized beer had come a long way from what her dad had been drinking since the 70s. She served as editor-in-chief of CraftBeer.com from spring 2016 to spring 2020, bringing you stories about the people who are the heartbeat behind U.S. craft brewing. She's a runner, a die-hard Springsteen fan, a mom who is always scouting family-friendly breweries, and always in search of a darn good porter.

CraftBeer.com is fully dedicated to small and independent U.S. breweries. We are published by the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers. Stories and opinions shared on CraftBeer.com do not imply endorsement by or positions taken by the Brewers Association or its members.