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May 30th, 2012 BEN WATERHOUSE | Drank
 

Drank: Churchkey Can Co. Pilsner

Lousy beer in a stupid package—just like dad used to drink.

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The modern beverage can is the product of 100 years and millions of dollars of research, at least some of which involved a particle accelerator. It weighs half an ounce. It is easily recyclable. Most important, it is very, very easy to open.

Too easy, apparently. Churchkey Can Co. recently debuted a Pilsner packaged in an old-fashioned, straight-sided can—the sort that littered American roadways before the introduction of the bottle bill, and requires a wedge-shaped opener to punch holes in the top. The company was started by two Portland homebrewers, a Wieden+Kennedy designer and an actor, though the beer is brewed in Seattle. The explanation for their ecologically despicable move—the cans are much heavier than their more technologically advanced counterparts—is that they’re an “homage to an era of hard work, community, and some great stories,” none of which are apparently to be found among today’s worthless, tab-pulling American drinkers.

Never mind that tabless cans were last widespread in the early 1970s, the nadir of the American brewing industry, when the beer was lousy and Anheuser-Busch was busy gobbling up smaller competitors. Never mind that possibly no one who was old enough to drink beer in the pre-tab era is nostalgic for the extra effort. None of that matters, because Churchkey is the beverage equivalent of lugging a typewriter to the coffee shop. It doesn’t matter how stupid it is so long as other people see you doing it.

But does it taste good? The company’s slogan is “It’s worth the effort.” I respectfully disagree: Beermongers didn’t have any of the openers that ship with six-packs of Churchkey when we picked up our cans, and all the openers in our office were of the post-1965, single-ended variety. After a half-hour search, we resorted to taking the whole top off the can. We were rewarded with a sub-standard Pilsner with a catty nose. The beer is unpleasantly slimy on the palate, overly bitter with a metallic aftertaste. It’s lousy beer in a stupid package—just like dad used to drink. Not recommended.


DRINK: Churchkey is for sale at bottle shops and bars.

 
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