How Having a Beer with Entourage’s Adrian Grenier Made Me Appreciate Hipsters

Entourage’s Adrian Grenier watches as his partner Justin Hawkins works the church key on a Churchkey.

It’s been well-documented in this space that I have a problem with hipsters. There’s something about those people and their “fixie” bikes and their trucker hats and their ironic facial hair and their koi fish tattoo sleeves and they’re lumberjack shirts and their love of Pabst Blue Ribbon that makes me want to expose them for the posers they are.  I feel the hipster look is a costume someone slips on when they’re simply not cool enough to be themselves.  Being a hipster a false affectation, something to hide behind.

Then I met former Entourage star Adrian Grenier, and my thoughts about hipsters were forever changed.  A little.

I was at the New York press launch for Churchkey, a craft Pilsner that comes in a flat top steel can and requires a “church key” can opener to get to the beer (hence the name).  My editor at the Today Show Online had forwarded me the invitation, confident I wouldn’t want to slog it into the city to drink a fizzy yellow beer from a silly can with a former cable star. But I surprised her and said I was interested, because my brother Don had primed the pump.

Don had just written a piece here about Churchkey, and thought it was a nicely crafted Pilsner, so I knew the beer was worth tasting.  Plus, we had a lot of hipster-bashing fun in the comments of Don’s post – I even called Grenier a hipster’s hipster.  The chance to ask Grenier face-to-face about the whole “hipster beer” thing was enough for me to take a half day at work and grind my way down to a hipster bar in Chinatown, where the event was being held.

When I walked through the door, Grenier was behind the bar, looking at his phone.  I walked up, and he offered me a beer.  He was a mellow, gracious dude, and lacked anything approaching an “I’m a star, aren’t you lucky to meet me?” attitude.  He was very disarming.

Grenier and Churchkey co-founder Justin Hawkins got up and gave a brief presentation about the beer.  Through the whole thing, Grenier was so damn EARNEST about everything.  He talked about how the flat steel top adds another tactile layer to the pleasure of having a beer, how he’s begun to seek out the local craft beer scene wherever he travels, how steel has environmental benefits over aluminum, how his angel investors from the tech industry bought into Churchkey because they longed to be involved with a real-world product that they could touch, on and on and on.  It was all said with a sincerity and an excitement that was less of a sales pitch and more of a manifesto as to why the Churchkey Can Company is a worthwhile endeavor for Grenier.  He might be a hipster’s hipster, but he seems very genuine about what drives him.

After the talk, I approached Grenier because I had to ask him about the “hipster beer” thing – it was why I went.  So I brought up all the hipster-bashing Churchkey has been taking on the Internet (mentioning that we did our share here as well), and his answer surprised me.  He embraced it.  He told me that he was a total hipster, and is drawn to things that are authentic, old-fashioned and environmentally friendly. He said that today’s hipsters are simply a new version the hippies of years gone by, only they smell better.

As he said this, my hipster-hate briefly melted away because he was so genuine about being a hipster – it was heartfelt.  He wasn’t trying to be the coolest guy in the room, he was just living his life in a way that fit his worldview, which just happens to wear the label of “hipster.”  Grenier is a real hipster, the kind that others who long to be hipsters try to emulate.

I was right when I called him a hipster’s hipster on Don’s post, but now I think my heart was in the wrong place.  It’s okay to be a hipster, but not a poser hipster.  Unfortunately, just like the hippies 40+ years ago, there are probably a handful of genuine hipsters out there and legions of posers who are hiding behind the ethos as they try to figure out who they are.  Which I guess is okay, too.  As you can see, Grenier humanized hipsters for me, and once that happens, it’s hard to hate on anybody.

I’m not going to run out and buy a bunch of fitted vintage shirts, but if that’s your thing, go wild.  Just try and stay away from those trying-too-hard-to-be-hip Buddy Holly glasses, because I’m afraid I’d want to slap them off of your face.  I might be more accepting of hipsters now, but please don’t push your luck.

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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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27 Comments on “How Having a Beer with Entourage’s Adrian Grenier Made Me Appreciate Hipsters”

  1. jf1smith
    May 24, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    HIpsters, smipsters.. Who cares who’s pouring ? What about the beer ? agree or disagree with the Metro-bear in Idaho ?

    • May 24, 2012 at 11:51 am #

      Sorry Jeff – I reviewed it in my Today Show Online piece that’s publishing today, so I didn’t think to do it here again. It’s a nice craft Pilsner, reminiscent of the Trumer pils I had in San Diego. The can is kinda cool, too. A gimmick, but a good one.

      Also, mark my words – “Metro Bear” will be used by yours truly moving forward!!

  2. May 24, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    I used to hate hipsters. Now, I see a hipster in a positive light. These are the creative, nonconforming, counter culture purveyors of our modern society. That or they’re just better dressers than you or I. Plus, they usually have the best taste in music.

    Let’s say we move past dehumanizing, degrading labels and talk about beer. Still, the tide has turned on the hipster. The term has been reclaimed. Time to move on.

    • May 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

      You’re right Zac.

      Let’s pick on scenesters instead!! 😉

      • May 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

        No, I was thinking of picking on lamestreamers instead.

        • May 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

          That’s fine, as long as we stay away from metrobears…

  3. johnking82
    May 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    I can’t wait until Hipster Steve reads this and responds.

    • May 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

      It makes sense to wait for the experts.

  4. May 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    OK – Now I have to find some of this Churchkey beer after all. When I first saw the cans a couple weeks back I thought “wtf is wrong with these people”? and images of smokeless cigarette puffing, PBR- swilling hipsters came to mind. I mean, this beer is either marketed for hipsters or for people who actually know how to operate a compound mitre saw and probably own one – or two.

    I like how you put Griener and “true” hipsters in a better light. I’ll think of them with less derision as I try to figure out how to open one of the Churchkey cans. Without a mitre saw.

    Cheers!

    @TheAlemonger

    • May 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

      The bad news is that each six pack does NOT come with a mitre saw. They good news is that they DO come with a Chuchkey branded church key.

      and if all else fails, everything’s a hammer.

  5. May 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    I’m all for appreciating “authentic and environmentally friendly” stuff, but that’s not at all what I think of when I think of hipsters.

    • May 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

      Same here, until you meet a real one, then it all makes sense. I swear on my new PBR trucker hat!

  6. tronto
    May 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    reading this made me just buy a new pair of vans, skinny jeans, and a trucker hat! Adrian grenier is far from a hipster…I mean its hard to be over lets say, bout 28, and really be a hipster. I mean for god sakes…”I owned bleach before nevermind came out” or “I was part of the bones brigade not the x games”! The beer…wow another pilsner, but I have to carry this stupid church key in my swimsuit to open one on the river??? Kinda silly but fad worthy none the less.

    • May 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

      He’s an O.H., yo! He was wearing trucker hats back when they were just called “hats”!

      • May 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

        Speaking of old, I obviously am. I didn’t even know what a hipster was till you started dissing them on Blog. (I also didn’t know what a metrosexual was.)

        But I’m w/ Zac on this, this is just one more label keeping people from really seeing and enjoying each other. Wear a trucker hat or a tinfoil one, a flannel shirt or a wife beater, hell wear nothing at all–I don’t care, just pass me a beer.

        • May 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

          Now I’m seeing a nekkid guy with a tinfoil hat in my head – thanks, Wayne!!

    • johnking82
      May 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

      Try tucking it in your speedo.

      • May 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

        “Hey big fella, is that a church key in your speedo or is your penis just horribly misformed?”

        Oldest line in the book!

        • johnking82
          May 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

          Here’s a tip Jim…

  7. May 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

    This is a clear-cut case of Stockholm Syndrome.

    • May 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

      Ha ha. I was waiting for that or a mancrush quip.

  8. May 25, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    This packaging is still pointless. Any time your press release or a feature about your company focuses on packaging rather than what’s inside the packaging, I am officially against you.

    I HAVE SPOKEN! Use a big-boy can that is designed to let me easily drink beer, or get the hell out of here.

    The thing you wrote about them being surprised at using a glass describes the entire scenario perfectly. They’re so concerned with getting the proper packaging that they don’t even care about how it should be conseumed. All that matters is how you look when you drink it.

    • May 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

      Well good, because I looked fabulous! 😉

      On a happy note, the beer is decent, which is the important part.

  9. Diss Content
    May 26, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    Looks like 2012 is going to be the last year for mankind after all. Just when I think something has achieved the ultimate in WTF, someone invariably proves me wrong with things like the ‘Segway’, ‘Canwich’ or ‘Uroclub’.

    Now beer has progressed past the stage of analysis and beyond the empty vessel which holds its magical goodness to hip new ways to open the thing. Yes open the can.

    As if the church key making a flirtatious comeback as something charming, to those who have never used one of the things isn’t enough superfluous kitsch. Now the purveyors of some of the finest beers on Earth (Miller) have combined a trifecta of opening technologies into a single container. How about a pull tab combined with a push top which requires a church key? Well get ready to change those shorts because this has manifested in the patent pending ‘Punch-Top’ can which was invented to allow for a smoother pour.

    Smother pour? Considering the average consumer of Miller products would need a smoother appearing pour to mask some effects of the DTs, makes perfect sense as well as a business decision. Yet I’m still not sated with the latest offering as it still manages to exclude the crown finish and a slotted key opener still used on Spam cans. Perhaps I was premature in thinking the world will end this year, there is still plenty of absurd machinations which can be added to opening a beer and looking hip.

  10. May 28, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    I don’t think hipsters are allowed to self-identify. It’s like “legal moonshine” in that it don’t work that way.

    • May 29, 2012 at 10:13 am #

      Does “Ginger Jesus” fit in this category as well? 🙂

      • June 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

        That just helps people know who I am…

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