It’s been 25 years since the release of Sublime’s debut album “40 oz. to Freedom,” and love the album or not, you still probably know the choruses to most of the songs by heart. (I personally still get “What I Got”—though that’s off Sublime’s 1996 self-titled album—stuck in my head every time I read the phrase “early in the morning,” and now you will too. You’re welcome.)
To mark the anniversary, Sublime co-founders Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson, manager Dave Kaplan and Troy Holmes, widow of Sublime’s former lead singer Bradley Nowell, teamed up with San Diego brewery AleSmith for a Vienna lager riff called Sublime Mexican Lager. It will hit stores nationally in June in six-packs of 12-ounce cans, with a limited release of 40-ounce bottles at locations to be determined.
Gaugh says he tasked the band’s management with finding a like-minded brewery that could bring a warm-weather, easy-drinking beer to market on a national scale while still retaining California roots.
“We wanted to keep it small-time, didn’t want to go a big [brewery] route. We wanted to keep it backyard-style but with a good reach; we want to be able for people to get it everywhere,” he says.
Once Sublime had AleSmith on board, the next question was what to brew.
“We go down to Baja all the time for surfing, three or four weeks at a time. We bounce from the Pacific side down to Cabo having a ball down there. So we wanted something beachy, not necessarily light, but crisp and refreshing,” Gaugh says. “We wanted a beer that was beach-motivated.”
The resulting Mexican-inspired Vienna lager debuts this summer across AleSmith’s national distribution footprint, with some accounts receiving the limited 40-ounce bottles. Official can art hasn’t been released yet, but expect the iconic Sublime sun to make an appearance.
“I really like this beer. They sent me a quart to taste and I split it with my girl and was like ‘Oh man, I wish we could get more of this,'” Gaugh says. “We’ll reserve a few cases for our own release party. That’s why we’re doing it, right? To drink it.”