Freedom Hawk shreds against the apt backdrop of industrial equipment at Atlas Brew Works. (Rachel Murray)

Since hosting the holiday party for the blog DC Heavy Metal in 2016, Atlas Brew Works has become a top venue for D.C.-area heavy metal bands. With its towering steel tanks and industrial equipment, the brewery floor is an ideal setting for hard-driving bands with pointy guitars. “We are a steampunk brewery, so it does go with our aesthetic,” says Atlas events manager Rachel Murray. “Plus, a lot of brewers are big metalheads.” On Friday, the brewery will host the official kickoff show for this month’s Philadelphia-based Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest. We asked Murray to consider all the Atlas brews that will be on tap at Friday’s show and pick the ones that go best with each of the three bands.


Ilsa is a D.C.-based doom metal band. (Marie O’Sullivan)

The band: Ilsa

The beer: Batch 666


In February, Atlas brewed its 666th batch in its main tanks, a Czech dark lager christened Batch 666. The uncommon style is gaining fans, just like D.C.’s Ilsa, which regularly plays Atlas. “Dark lager is something people are starting to get into and Ilsa is a band that people outside of D.C. are starting to discover,” Murray says. The lager’s subtly spicy hops enhance the death-metal band’s distorted guitars and punk-rock influences.


Crypt Sermon is a Philadelphia-based doom metal band. (Scott Kinkade)

The band: Crypt Sermon

The beer: Silent Neighbor


The hearty richness of this canned pumpernickel stout brings out the earthy notes in Crypt Sermon’s blues-tinged doom metal. “It’s heavy but approachable, so I figured it’d be perfect for a band like Crypt Sermon,” Murray says. Plus, the Philadelphia-based band’s name is a perfect match for a beer inspired by Mount Olivet Cemetery, Atlas’ next-door neighbor.


Evoken is a New Jersey-based doom metal band. (Jenny Panic)

The band: Evoken

The beer: Schadenbrew


Only a rich, complex brew can stand up to the dense wall of sound created by this New Jersey-based doom metal band, which is playing its first-ever D.C. show. That’s why Atlas brewed this special beer, debuting at the taproom Friday, for Evoken and this show. “[The band] picked the style and the name,” Murray says of the blood-red Belgian dubbel, which she describes as “bready, with notes of dark fruit and spice.”