The Propagator R&D Brewhouse is starting 2023 off strong with its first canned release of the year: Phluffhead Powerful Pils. Brewed in collaboration with our friends at Urban Roots Brewery in Sacramento, Phluffhead is available now for a limited time at our three locations and online store. Keep reading to learn more about the brew.

This collaboration with Urban Roots is a result of the years-long friendship between Urban Roots founder Peter Hoey and Firestone Walker Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. But Peter and Matt didn’t start bonding just because of beer.

“Both Peter and I are huge fans of the band Phish, and we see each other at shows more than at beer-related events,” Matt told us. He explained that the two of them have bumped into each other at Phish shows at the Shoreline Amphitheatre on a number of occasions.

“There are few things better than an outdoor concert with friends and great beer,” said Peter. “This beer was definitely inspired by travels, going to shows together, and a love of lager.”

The beer’s name is inspired by Peter and Matt’s favorite Phish song, “Fluffhead.” The lyrics reference “powerful pills,” so we took a twist on those words and landed on a pilsner as the style for this collaboration.

When it was time for our Creative Team to get started on the label design for the beer, they took inspiration from Phish tour posters. The final design even includes an outline of Shoreline Ampitheatre below the Firestone hoop.

The beer itself is a German-inspired pils. We started with a base of Weyermann Extra Pale Premium Pilsner malt, and then added large additions of German Tettnanger and Herbrucker hops throughout the boil for a powerful hop flavor that perfectly balances the crisp, crackery malt character. A long, cold fermentation with our house German lager yeast makes for a clean and crisp profile honoring the Continental lager tradition.

Mixing the firm bitterness of North German pilsners with the elevated hop flavor and aroma of Bavarian pilsners, Phluffhead doesn’t quite fit into a stylistic niche, but its perfectly crushable profile features the best flavors and aromas of classic German malt and hops.

“Phluffhead was a really cool beer to brewer here at The Propagator because the recipe and approach are a unique departure for us within the pilsner style,” said Propagator Brewery Manager Sam Tierney. “Peter has developed a phenomenal lager program at Urban Roots, and it was a pleasure to channel his perspective into a hop-focused pils where I got to approach just about everything differently, from malt selection to hop varieties and timing. In many ways, this is the most traditional pils we’ve ever brewed, and it should please hardcore German beer fans.”

Phluffhead is now available on draft and in 16-ounce cans at our three locations in Paso Robles, Buellton, and Venice. You can also have 4-packs of the beer shipped straight to your door via our online store.