Grab A Beer: Churchkey Pilsner

May 25th, 2012 · 8 Comments · Beer Reviews, Washington Breweries

Churchkey Pilsner
Alcohol by Volume: 4.9%
Look for this beer and more at Full Throttle Bottles in Georgetown.

If you haven’t yet heard the story behind Churchkey Can Co. here is a quick summary: Actor Adrian Grenier, best known as Vincent Chase from the HBO hit series Entourage, paired up with a former designer from Nike and Portland native, Justin Hawkins, to create Churchkey Can Co. The marketing angle for Churchkey is that they’ve brought back the flat top steel beer can for the first time in nearly fifty years. The can has a retro look to it, and the consumer must use a churchkey to open up the cans (one comes with every six-pack; don’t lose it).

Their first and only current beer is their pilsner, which is brewed by Seattle’s Two Beers Brewing Company and then transferred next door to Churchkey’s facility where it is fermented and canned. The base recipe for the pilsner is from two Portland homebrewers, Lucas Jones and Sean Burke (Now a brewer at The Commons Brewery in PDX).

Currently available in just the Northwest, Churchkey Pilsner will soon be available in other major cities across the country.

Think what you will of the packaging, but the question that matters most is, “Is the beer any good?”

Pours an almost crystal clear straw golden color with medium head that dissipates pretty quickly. Grainy malt comes through in the aroma matched with freshly cut grass. Lightly sweet bready malt is the feature all the way through the taste, with just a bit of spicy hops making an appearance. A moderate bitterness evens things out nicely. It’s clean, very refreshing, and definitely more flavorful than your typical American lager. A well-made, high-quality pilsner. For the record, there is definitely no metallic can taste (at least if you are drinking from a glass, which you should be).

As for the packaging, I’ll admit that I hate the idea of it. I don’t like gimmicks, and that’s exactly what these cans are. Sure, they look kind of cool, but I personally don’t buy beer because of the packaging. Chances are, these cans will never end up in my fridge again. But, I’d definitely encourage you to try it out for yourself. If you like the cans, then this would be a great pilsner to have around.

Verdict: Worth Trying
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Commercial Description/Press Release:

Our Mission
We are here to bring you a beer we are proud of, in a can we are honored to share. It’s about the joy of drinking good beer—from the people you drink it with to where you drink it and, now, how you open it. We didn’t make these traditions, but are keeping them alive with Churchkey.

Our Heritage: It’s Worth the Effort
To us, it’s worth to putting a little extra effort back into our modern-day lifestyle. We find ourselves attracted to
the artisans and craftsmen in our world. Much like in the past, thoughtfulness and integrity mean something and
should have a place.

We want to bring that same spirit to beer and how it’s experienced. To us at Churchkey Can Co, this means celebrating craftsmanship at every level. We will strive to support not only craft beer making with this notion but all others that share this same philosophy—from beer can to hammer to shovel.

The History
The story of the flat top beer can—which must be opened with a churchkey—goes back to 1935 when the first flat top cans were introduced. Canned beer was an immediate success and others quickly joined the marketplace with this versatile packaging. Beer lovers could now enjoy their favorite brews anywhere and with anyone. The flat top can remained a standard until the pull-tab came to market in the mid-1960s. By the mid-1970s, the flat top can was all but a memory. We’re excited to offer this often forgotten beer experience once again.

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8 Comments so far ↓

  • Pete

    I love the stuff. I find it delicious, and I think that the retro cans are very cool.

    My only gripe is the price tag — $9.99 for a 6er feels a bit steep.

  • Juan

    If you don’t want to buy a six pack, they have it on tap at Two Beers.

  • Dan O'Leary

    The beer is fine, a solid pilsner if that’s what you’re looking for. As you mentioned the cans are a gimmic and unfortunately they have the money to market the hell out of it. I say unfortunate because they market drinking the beer directly from the can, which greatly alters the flavor! Try it if you don’t believe me. Craft beer advocates galore are appalled by the thought of drinking any beer from the can or bottle. Then along comes Churchkey/Two Beers and no one calls them on it because there’s a celebrity behind the beer. I call foul!

  • mr. howard

    something missed in your evaluation is the “taste” of the can. the beer has a certain metallic taste: not surprisingly, either from the can or poured into a glass, the beer has an “industrial” tin can character. YUM! uh… please don’t tell anybody – but i rather liked it…

  • Kaiser

    Nope, didn’t miss the metallic taste it in my evaluation…just simply wasn’t present in my opinion.

  • Sanford

    I’d try it from the tap sometime, but in the can it’s over priced and over hyped IMHO. Interesting to me that it’s brewed by Two Beers and just repackaged by this other company. I’m curious to see what type of beer they make next, if any.

  • Other Brian

    I agree with Pete that for $9.99/6-pack, I will never buy it again. Doesn’t have enough character to make it stand out amongst other things cheaper or in it’s same price range. And I am also sick of the can premium that seems to be charged these days.

  • Marti Gwaltney

    I’ve seen two bulging Churchkey cans that are ready to explode.

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