The Cut: A pilsner born of friendship, and available in a can

Courtesy Weeping Radish

“My Pilsner” is available in cans! Our latest creation has been creeping around on draft at local establishments, but the cans have finally arrived!

While I’m admittedly not a huge beer drinker, I do enjoy our lagers quite a bit and they are the styles we’ve brewed my entire life. The Corolla Gold and Black Radish are old friends while the Christmas Bier is a much-anticipated Yule time treat.

My Pilsner may be a new addition to the fold, but it is just as near and dear to my heart as it’s older companions. A friend of mine has kindly pestered me for years asking why we didn’t brew a pilsner, his favorite type of beer. After I’d exhausted all of the reasons why we didn’t have time or tank space, I went to our Head Brewer Ryan Stanley and asked if it was possible to brew a small test batch of a pilsner. It turns out Ryan had wanted to brew a pilsner for ages and this was just the excuse he needed. So he carved out some time in the winter for the test brew and then we waited. And waited. You have no idea how long lagering a beer takes until you have a friend asking at least once a week, “So when’s my pilsner going to be ready?” Thankfully it turns out the beer was worth the wait!

My Pilsner is aged, or lagered, for a minimum of six weeks to allow the flavors to fully develop. It’s smooth without being heavy and perfectly balances sweet malt flavors with a floral hop aftertaste. Basically it’s a really good beer!

The next step was to decide how we were going to market this really good beer. As a seasonal? A new year round standard? Once the decision was made to carry it year round on draft and in cans, the real work began.

What were we going to name it and what was the can going to look like? After I was told I couldn’t name it after my friend (Sorry Chris!), we compromised on My Pilsner because he could honestly say he was drinking “my Pilsner!”

The beer was born out of friendship and that got Uli thinking. He knew just what he wanted to feature on the can, the village that raised him, Bad Feilnbach. Uli moved to this small village in Bavaria from Peru when he was just 8 years old. He didn’t know anyone, barely spoke the dialect, and had been raised in a different religion from the famously Catholic Bavarians. Yet none of this mattered. Families welcomed him into their homes, taught him the traditional folk dances that had been part of their culture for centuries, and let him participate in church festivals without pressure or judgment.

Later town officials cleared unthinkable hurdles to complete the paperwork allowing Uli to marry his English bride while living in North Carolina. On one visit my sister and I were able to meet the registrar who made it all possible which was incredibly touching. And not long ago the entire village came together to give his mother the Bavarian funeral celebration she wanted.

Bad Feilnbach’s Catholic church Herz Jesu Kirche graces the front of the My Pilsner can and along the back is the Wendelstein. This mountain is visible from everywhere in the village and is instantly recognizable, as its peaks resemble a sleeping woman. Growing up my grandmother often referred to her as the Sleeping Maiden, which I thought was so appropriate. Given the entire village looked like a storybook, its identifying feature should be a fairytale.

These days it seems like we are stuck living in a Grimm’s fairy tale, before it got the Disney treatment. Every day there are new stories of hatred, destruction, and violence. Not in the world at large or some country we’ve never heard of and couldn’t begin to place on a map, but right here in our own towns and cities. There are many things that divide people, but not matter how different we are still all people. Compassion for your fellow man is not a weakness. The tiniest acts of kindness can create incredible friendships and who knows, maybe even one day your own beer!