Mikkeller & The National Presents: Reality Based Pils

The American rock band The National now have their very own beer - a ’Reality Based Pils’ brewed in collaboration with the Danish microbrewery Mikkeller.

It is quite unlikely that the five members of The National will ever come off stage thirsting for beer again. When the band goes back on tour or return to their Hudson Valley Studio, Long Pond, it will be with the privilege of a fridge stacked with cans of their very own The National beer. The beer titled ‘Reality Based Pils’ is made in collaboration with the world famous Danish microbrewery Mikkeller and will be available in all of Mikkeller’s locations and outlets within the next month.

The recipe of the beer was made by CEO of Mikkeller Mikkel Borg Bjergsø, and the beautiful, eye-catching label designed by Mikkeller’s art director, Keith Shore.

“We are all huge fans of Mikkeller, so to have Mikkel make a recipe specifically for us is very exciting,” says Aaron Dessner from The National.


Bjergsø and Dessner became friends a few years ago when they were introduced through Jacob Gram Alsing, a mutual friend and COO of Mikkeller. Since then, they have collaborated in the creation of the Copenhagen music festival Haven. As fans of each other's work, making a beer together was a logical step.

“The National is one of my absolute favorite bands and we have been talking about making a beer together for a long time. I’m excited that it finally happened,” says Mikkel Borg Bjergsø.

A much needed laugh

The band and the brew master agreed on a traditional beer style. No fruit, chocolate, chili, coffee, barrel ageing or spontaneous fermentation. Just a straight up pilsner.

“After many years of drinking, tasting and brewing all sorts of different beer styles, I’ve kind of gone back to the roots. The only beer I have in my own fridge at the moment is pilsner, so making that style of beer for The National was an obvious choice,” says Mikkel Borg Bjergsø. Mikkel’s preference suited the members of the band perfectly.

“We like clear and crisp beers when we come off stage and need to cool down,” says Aaron Dessner, who along with his band members chose the name ’Reality Based Pils’ based on an excerpt from their song ’Walk it Back.’ The song quotes the infamous George W. Bush advisor, Karl Rove, who talked about how easy it has become to manipulate facts and how a “reality based community” may be a thing of the past.

“Politicians and others are now able to artificially shape reality using various means of propaganda and media manipulation. So it’s a frightening thing, the world is upside down. Imagining a ‘Reality Based Pils’ also gives us a much needed laugh,
”Dessner explains while calling Mikkeller’s art director Keith Shore “a genius.”

Shore’s inspiration for the label design was driven from the basis that the design studio Pentagram provided for The National’s ‘Sleep Well Beast’ release - and then added a twist of Mikkeller, the Art Director explains:

“Mikkeller’s label characters Henry & Sally peek out at the noisy night sky - happy to be together, but a bit terrified of the world around them.”


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