John Wright of legendary Canadian punk band, NoMeansNo fame, a.k.a. Johnny Hanson of legendary Canadian punk band, The Hanson Brothers infamy, has teamed up with Quebec-based brewery, Le Trou Du Diable to launch a new beer collab called Johnny Hanson’s Punk Rauch.
“It’s a trendy thing nowadays with bands and beer companies, I guess [with respect to commercial production] I’m behind the curve – they’re already doing it and I’m just getting started”, John states laughing, citing AC/DC and DOA’s recent forays into the marketing of sudsy adult beverage products. But distinctive about Wright’s latest venture is that it is not simply an exercise in brand licensing or artist endorsement. This is John Wright’s recipe. This is John Wright’s brand. This is John Wright’s baby.
“It’s a Bavarian-style, unfiltered, smoked, dark lager, aged it in bourbon barrels,” He explains proudly. “And it came out at 6.2 per cent.” By no means, a flash-in-the-pan beer aficionado, Wright has spent his last 20 years honing his chops as an amateur brewmeister and pursuing his interest in small-batch brewing.
“I bought land in Powell River,” he explains over the phone from his tranquil rural acreage, “back in the ’90s. I built a couple log cabins on it, and that’s where I brew now – Grandma’s Cabin.” And it was at Grandma’s Cabin where Wright spent his entire 2012 summer perfecting the Rauch recipe.
According to Wright, it was a rather fortuitous set of circumstances that unfolded over the past few years – beginning with the release of a DVD called All Grain Brewing with Johnny Hanson (a guide to DIY home-brewing) – that lead him to expand beyond personal-use brewing and into developing a marketable product.
“We made that video, and it was supposed to be a joke, you know? But I mean, I was still doing everything the right way in it. A couple of fans in Shawinigan, Quebec had a copy and they asked us to play their brew pub on a day off we had on tour. We don’t get the opportunity to do much touring in La Belle Provence outside of Montreal, so we did it. They had these big bags of imported Bavarian Bamberg grain there and I asked if I could have one. They said sure, so I had to haul this 25 lb. bag of grains around with me for the rest of the tour”.
As it turned out, over the next couple of years, those fans expanded their brew pub into a full-production craft brewery operating under the name Le Trou Du Diable and approached Wright in 2012 with the proposition of collaborating on a beer release.
With hits like Blitzkrieg Hops and We’re Brewin’, the Hanson Brothers have made no effort to hide or even curtail their stein-swilling proclivities. In fact, Johnny Hanson and his brain-scrambled brethren wear about as much beer during a performance as they do hockey gear, but the Johnny Hanson brand doesn’t define the full scope of Wright’s vision in commercial beer production, as he is slated for future non-Hanson brand collaboration with Bomber Beer, a Vancouver-based upstart brewery run by long-time NoMeansNo sound engineer, Blair Calibaba.
Johnny Hanson’s Punk Rauch will be on tap as part of Le Trou Du Diable’s tap takeover November 19th, at BierCraft on Commercial Drive.
By Evan Wansbrough