Once it became obvious that just hand-churning butter in the town square would never provide Portlanders with enough nostalgia, there arose Churchkey: the metal collaboration between PDX home-brewers and Seattle’s Two Beers, plus a Portland packaging whiz and, for some reason, Adrian "I Swear I Don’t Hang Out With E In Real Life" Grenier. Together, they developed a 4.9% ABV pilsner that comes in a dense, flat-top, throwback steel can that requires a special "church key" opener to get at the goods inside. Since flat-tops (both the cans and the hairstyle) have been unseen in bars for nearly 50yrs, here’s a quick primer to get you up to speed:
- "Church keys" are named after the big, oddly shaped keys that monks used to unlock doors to their churches/beer stashes (not beer ‘staches, you get those from Guinness).
- Each sixer comes with a key, which you’ll use to rip two triangular holes (one for drinking, one for airflow) in each can's top like it was one of those giant Hi-C barrels, except now you’ll be the one running through brick walls.
- This is the first mass-market flat-top to be introduced since the late '70s, when pull-tab cans became the standard.
- Apparently the flat-top prevents skunkage, turning the can into a miniature keg, and making Warwick Davis anatomically able to do keg stands.
- To keep things totally authentic, Churchkey brought on original flat-top-makers Ball Corp., a 130-yr-old Colorado company that seriously has a European subsidiary named Ball Packaging.
Church’s rolling out its first stack of steelies this Thursday from 7-10p at appropriately retro saloon Dig A Pony ($2 cans and free keys for everybody!), while the final product will be up for grabs in other bars and stores April 15th, as long as Portlanders save room in their shopping baskets full of knickers and smallpox vaccine.