What’s Hot: Churchkey Can Company

This local brewski company keeps the hops drinking experience fresh with old tradition.

Many Seattleites can admit to having argued with friends/local patrons/now arch nemeses at least once about their dive bar beer preferences.  The huffy “I’m from the East Coast, so I’m a PBR drinker” logic is pitted against the indignant “Gotta go with Vitamin R, man, it’s local!” rationale.  Alas, the dispute remains objectively unresolved.

But the time of brooding has passed.  A definitive answer has arrived.  Seattle hipsters and novelty beer aficionados can now sit back and sip on one brewski together in harmony because thanks to Two Beers Brewing Company in Georgetown, Churchkey beers are back.

By the mid 1970s, the once-popular flat top steel beer cans were ushered out and entirely replaced by pull tabs.  Learning that such a can of beer no longer existed, Churchkey co-founders Adrian Grenier (yes, curly-haired dream hunk from “Entourage”) and Justin Hawkins (former Nike designer) teamed up in an effort to shake things up and bring back this retro beer drinking tradition.

That didn’t mean just throwing some run-of-the-mill brewski into a flat-top steel can to enjoy the novelty of cracking open a beer with a kind of can opener or “churchkey”.  (After all, if all they were looking to do was to get some laughs by puncturing a beer so they could drink out of it, we would gladly pass them a light brewski, a set of keys, and proudly watch them shotgun.)  True, part of the experience is opening the beer with a churchkey, which is why every six pack bought at retailers like PCC or Whole Foods comes with one and a clear set of instructions for newbies.

But while opening the flat top cans with said finesse certainly added to the appeal, Grenier and Hawkins also wanted to the beer inside to be worth “working” for.  Armed with a fresh pilsner recipe from Portland-base home brewers Lucas Jones and Sean Burke, the co-founders made it a point to have the beer brewed and canned at Two Beers, the first Washington state brewery to have produced their own 12-ounce cans.

Now Seattleites can enjoy a crisp, full-bodied, Northwest-style pilsner made with Czech Pils yeast and German Saaz hops to give it that little kick, that delightful slightly hoppy aftertaste.  It’s a beer that will both impress craft beer lovers while still being palatable to casual, light beer drinkers.

So PBRs and Rainiers, step aside.  Churchkey beers might be a little more work to crack into, but when it comes to taste, experience, and novelty, “It’s worth the effort.”