Brewery News: WA/OR: Churchkey Can Brewing revives the sealed-top beer experience

For some time this writer has been hearing rumors associated with a new brewery, coming to Washington state and the Northwest. Say hello to Churchkey Can Brewing

Back to simple times with simple tools that change an interaction into an experience. For the first time in nearly 50 years, craft beer lovers in Seattle and Portland can once again experience beer from the original flat top can. Offering a unique, handcrafted Pilsner-style beer in authentic 12-ounce steel cans, Churchkey Can Co. – a new craft beer-can company based in the Pacific Northwest – is on a mission to offer this forgotten beer experience once again.

“We are here to bring you a beer we are proud of, in a can we are honored to share,” said Co-founder and Creative Director Justin Hawkins. “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.”

Co-founded by Portland-native Justin Hawkins and actor Adrian Grenier, Churchkey Can Co. began as the desire to someday experience a great beer in a simple can as the generations before had. Quickly realizing the flat top can – introduced in 1935 and a standard in the beer industry until the pull-tab came to market in the mid-1960s – was all but a memory, Hawkins and Grenier set the wheels in motion to found Churchkey Can Co.

If you read those three paragraphs then you would know that this man (pictured) image of Actor (most noted for Entourage) courtesy of Wikipediais getting into the craft beer business. But Churchkey Can isn’t so much nostalgic as it is a simplification of the beer can process.

Take for example the current canning method for beer. You have a tab, that applies pressure to an area that is prepped to open and voila, ready to serve beer.

Let’s allow the brewery to better explain it.

To get the flat top can just right, Churchkey turned to the Ball Corporation, the largest supplier of beer cans in the world and a company that played a key role in the evolution of the beer can. Made from highly recyclable steel, protecting the beer from both light and oxygen, the Churchkey flat top can provides an airtight seal and must be opened with a churchkey. This opener, which obtains its name from its similarity in style to the large old fashion keys formerly used to open a church, is used to punch two small triangular holes into the top of the can allowing for aeration and pouring of the beer.

And of course the other question being asked is, what is in the can?

About Churchkey Can Pilsner

Inside each can, craft beer lovers will find a delicious Pacific Northwest-brewed Pilsner-style craft beer. The recipe for which was originated by Portland-based home brewers Lucas Jones and Sean Burke – who have been crafting home brewed beer in their garages for many years, and are passionate about their beer and the community they cultivate with it – the Churchkey Pilsner is made using only the highest quality ingredients. The body of the beer comes from the light, grainy pilsner malt taste, accented by a smooth clean bitterness. The Saaz hop taste and aroma featured in the Churchkey Pilsner make for a uniquely complex, yet sessionable beer at 4.9 percent ABV and a 29 IBU.

Still with us? Good. Because it’s about to get even more exciting as local Seattleite, Joel VandenBrink, of Two Beers Brewing has entered an agreement to help Churchkey Can become a reality.

Now don’t start thinking that Joel is becoming owner of a new brewery (ala, Pyramid re:Mike’s Hard Lemonade). Instead the (Churchkey Can) brewery is owned & operated separately from Joel and Two Beers. But Churchkey will share space in the same building that hosts Two Beers. We repeat, the space but not IN Two Beers’ brewery or pub. Essentially Joel is providing some advice on the 12 ounce canning experience, including packaging and design.

Curious about this beer that comes with a free chuchkey opener? You will have to wait until around April 15th when the brewery releases six packs ($9.99) of their cans to grocers, with limited draught distribution throughout the Oregon & Washington.


About Churchkey Can Co.

Launching in April 2012, Pacific Northwest-based Churchkey Can Co is a new craft beer-can company on a mission to reintroduce beer lovers to the original flat top steel can. For the first time in 50 years, Churchkey Can Company offers this forgotten beer experience once again. Because in the tradition of the great men and women before us, we know it’s worth the effort. Follow Churchkey Can Co on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, visit

Please visit our sponsors
Zeek's Pizza. With over 10 locations. Open daily till from 11AM - 10PM