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Pils & Love Beer Festival Comes to Brooklyn in June

The Italy-spawned celebration of pilsner will take place in NYC for the first time, with an event June 29 at Threes Brewing in Brooklyn

Interior of Threes Brewing

Threes Brewing will host the Italian-founded beer festival Pils & Love on June 29. Photo: Threes Brewing

There’s always hype about the “Drink of the summer,” and it’s usually some fruity cocktail concoction, but I’d like to nominate Italian pilsner for this year’s entry. The crisp, flavorful beer has become a style unto itself, and even has its own annual festival to celebrate it. 

On June 29, Threes Brewing will host the NYC debut of Pils & Love at its Gowanus Bar and Brewery, with more than 50 lager brewers from around the U.S. and Birrificio Italiano’s Agostino Arioli, the original found of the Pils Pride Festival in Italy. The U.S. offshoot, Pils & Love, debuted in 2017 at Oxbow Brew Company in Maine (which will also make the trip) and has moved around to other breweries around the U.S., but this will mark the first time it will hit Brooklyn and New York City. 

“The Italian-style pilsner is a special beer. The way the dry hop adds a fresh, noble hop character to a crisp pilsner base makes it truly unparalleled,” says Ben Peterson, head brewer at Threes Brewing. 

Pils & Love poster
Breweries from around the U.S. will take part in Pils & Love at Threes Brewing in Brooklyn.

Appetito reached out to Arioli, Peterson, and Threes Brewing director Mike Naclerio, who each wrote in with their thoughts on the exciting events planned for June 29, which includes early access to upcoming releases from the featured breweries, Mission-style burritos available for purchase from Super Burrito, and unlimited Pilsner pours in a commemorative Pils & Love glass. Tickets are available for purchase here.

There are two sessions on June 29, from 12-3 pm, and 4-7 pm, and tickets are $83.34 (including fees) for each session .

Read on for the what Naclerio, Peterson, and Arioli have to say about Pils & Love, Italian pilsner and more, in their own words:

Mike Naclerio, Threes Brewing director 

We could not be more excited to have the honor and privilege to host this storied event in NYC for the first time. Agostino and his team at Birrificio Italiano were, and still remain, a major contributor in igniting America's modern pilsner movement. For nearly all of the craft beer industry's 21st century boom, lagers took a back seat; hoppy beers ruled the day and "fizzy yellow beer" was kicked to the curb. Bringing excitement and a fresh perspective to this category was paramount to the premium pilsner movement that we have seen take hold over the last half decade plus — Agostino was instrumental in that. When Agostino originally partnered with the team at Oxbow in 2017 to bring Pils & Love stateside, the festival was one of the first of its kind. After participating in all the previous Pils & Love festivals and collaborating with Agostino and team more closely last year for the release of our Typopils pilsner, it means a great deal to us at Threes Brewing to carry on the Pils & Love stateside legacy and be able to host this epic gathering.

Threes Brewing bar
The main bar at Threes Brewing in Brooklyn's Gowanus neighborhood. Photo: Liz Clayman

Ben Peterson, Threes Brewing head brewer

The Italian-style pilsner is a special beer. The way the dry hop adds a fresh, noble hop character to a crisp pilsner base makes it truly unparalleled. 

We hesitated to brew this style for years, just waiting for the right moment. Jokingly, we said we'd only make an Italian Pils if we could do it with its creator Birrificio Italiano —a dream that seemed far-fetched.

Fast forward, and through industry connections, we linked up with Birrificio Italiano. They were coming to the States and wanted to collaborate. This led to the creation of our collaboration beer, Typopils. Working with Birrificio Italiano founder Agostino Arioli was invaluable; we got to understand firsthand what makes a great Italian Pils in his eyes.

Inspired by this experience and armed with learnings from the collaboration, we launched our own Italian Pils, Atypical, this spring.

Agostino Arioli, founder Birrificio Italiano and Pils Pride founder

When I started brewing Tipopils in 1996, I had no “grand plan” about it. Tipo was just meant to be a homebrewer’s first endeavor in professional beer making, my personal attempt at recreating a hop-rich pilsner on the model of some German classics who had struck me at the very first taste and whose memory I held, and still hold dear. Little did I know, while borrowing from the English and American traditions the technique of dry hopping and using it to pack the meadowy, herbal freshness of noble European hop varieties into a crisp lager; that Tipopils would go on and meet the success it has since had… Let alone it single-handedly spinning out a whole substyle, which would somehow even become “fashionable" almost 30 years later! 

Tipopils bottle
Birrifico Italiano's Tipopils.

It would be a lie to say that we at Birrificio Italiano are not somewhat humbled by the amazing reception Italian Pilsners are garnering internationally, with at least one declination of the style becoming a staple in the offerings of some of the best breweries in the world. We would say much of this success, especially in America, is to be credited to the cycle of Pils and Love festivals. The Pils and Love festivals, with their straightforward formula — great people getting together at amazing locations to enjoy no-frills, yet wonderfully drinkable beers, and ultimately have the best of times - have tapped into the collective subliminal desires of the craft beer industry’s in-the-know crowd, filling the demand for a beer festival that would by conception turn out really different from most others. Carefree and whale-free, Pils and Love is designed for the drinkers who enjoy conviviality more than aimlessly collecting ticks and appreciate beer for its connection-making abilities. Craft pilsners are a “long term relationship” kind of beer, of the type to keep you coming back for more, and a more intimate and deep understanding of the endless complexities and play of balance hidden behind their apparent simplicity. Pils and Love events have played a huge role in showcasing this alternative model for a beer festival, and helped consolidate and amplify a reputation for Italian Pilsners worldwide. After last year’s edition hosted by DeCicco’s in the Hudson Valley, we are extremely excited for Pils and Love coming back to the Empire State, with the forthcoming event to be held at Threes in Gowanus for the first time in New York City at the end of June. When we first visited Threes last year, we were astonished at just how good and rich in individual character their nigh-endless array of different pilsners was. We really look forward to them hosting P&L, and can’t wait to join the many friends who will be attending.”

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