A year after his rift with Surly Brewing came to a head, brewmaster Todd Haug is returning to Minneapolis this weekend to play some riffs and bang his head with his pioneering thrash-metal band to tout a new metallically named beer brand.
Haug’s group Powermad will reunite Sunday at the Triple Rock as part of a local coming-out party for WarPigs Brewing. The new line of brews is a collaboration between Haug’s new Chicago-based employer Three Floyds and Denmark’s Mikkeller, each with their own Surly-like cult following among beerheads. WarPigs' three flagship beers thus far are Lazurite IPA, Salmon Pants Lager and Foggy Geezer Hazy IPA.
Haug also collaborated with Mikkeler’s founder while he was at Surly, most notably on the limited-run Brett Mikkels IPA. Having a Black Sabbath reference in your beer name instead of Poison is obviously much cooler. Having the two breweries team up also widens the distribution range.
“Co-brewing these beers has allowed us to get the beer into more states without compromising Three Floyds’ beer production and growth,” Haug said, noting that WarPigs brews should be widely available on tap and in cans by fall. He described the brand as having a “respectful irreverence for beer styles and trends.”
As for returning to his former brewery’s home turf, Haug remains respectful of his former compatriots at Surly and said there are no hard feelings lingering as he heads home this weekend: “It’s not weird at all really, since I still get to do what I love for work,” he said.
Shredding on guitar is still Haug’s other great passion. A fixture on the scene in the late-'80s and signed by Warner Bros. Records, Powermad issued its first album in 25 years in 2015, “Infinite,” but did not get out much to promote it. Sunday’s Triple Rock show is an early one, 7 p.m., and will also feature performances by Sunless and Lockgnar ($5 cover).