Dayton band The Filthy Heathens releases collab beer with Devil Wind Brewing in Xenia

Dayton Southern rock band The Filthy Heathens released The Filthy Pilsner, a collaboration beer with Devil Wind Brewing in Xenia, on Memorial Day weekend.

In tandem with the beer’s launch, The Filthy Heathens performed at Devil Wind alongside Xenia native-led country act, David Payne and the Midwest Business Machines. The show was aimed at those who dig classic and outlaw country, derived from the greats of the 1960s to the 1990s.

The Filthy Heathens played its first-ever show under that moniker at Devil Wind around 2021, so their connection to the Xenia microbrewery runs as deep as beer is cold.

“We have a little bit more of a redneck crowd,” Ryan Palcic said, who plays bass and sings backup in the band. “We’d get a lot of feedback from the people who’d come out. [They’d say,] ‘What do they have like Bud Light? What do they have like Miller Lite?’”

The Filthy Pilsner started as an inside joke between the band and the brewery. But because the band draws so well at Devil Wind, the brewery approached The Filthy Heathens with an idea: to brew a beer that suits their crowd.

Bronson Hetzer, the lead singer and guitarist of the band, admits that the Filthy Heathens is a Miller Lite band. Furthering that assertion is Cody Doench, lead guitarist, semi-jokingly stating that the members wear Miller Lite merch on stage in hopes of a branding sponsorship. And when this writer met up with the band, buckets of Miller Lite were perhaps enjoyed.

All this to say that the Filthy Pilsner — originally named and unnamed the “Pilthy Heathen” — is modeled after Miller Lite. And because the Heathens were able to bring their “redneck” crowd to the microbrewery scene, they can now point those fans in the direction of the beer that tastes like Miller Lite.

It’s on the Devil Winds Brewing beer menu as an “American Light Lager.”

“The collabs we’ve been doing this year so far have pretty much just been with musicians,” said Doug Lane, head brewer at Devil Wind.

Singer-songwriter Rich Reuter won a raffle last year that included a day to brew with Lane, thus the English Pale Ale, The Captain, started pouring into glasses in January. Heather Redman & The Reputation’s red ale, Mama Red, was offered on tap at Devil Wind in March. And what Lane believes to be Devil Wind’s first musical collaboration, the Small Town IPA, was with the New Old-Fashioned in the early days of the brewery.

Around the time of the Mama Red release in March, the Heathens’ Devil Wind collaboration started brewing.

“It’s got a little bit of a malt character,” Lane said, on the Filthy Pilsner, adding there’s also a little hoppiness with floral and spicy notes. “It’s just so clean. You take a sip and it almost makes your mouth water it’s so refreshing.”

Lane says the ABV (alcohol by volume) is around 3.5%, meaning it’s smooth and not too heavy.

Or as Doench says, it’s like Miller Lite with a perm and a good mustache.

“We told them to make it like an everyman beer,” Hetzer said. “That’s kind of what all of us are. Ryan’s a contractor. Cody’s a firefighter. I do metal fabrication and maintenance stuff at a scrapyard. We’re just regular people.”

While there currently is no plan for canning the Filthy Pilsner — it will only be available on tap — based on some of the early reactions of those who’ve sampled it, Lane says he thinks it’s going to have to come back fairly regularly.

Preceding the beer release, the band put out a video for the song “Cyril,” which it filmed as a stripped-down acoustic version of among the metallic fermentation tanks at Devil Wind. The song is from the perspective of a soldier coming home from service. Suffering from PTSD, he eventually takes his own life.

The lyrics are based on Hetzer’s friend, Cyril “Rocky” Rockwell, who happened to be in the same Army division as the Filthy Heathens’ guitarist, Cody Doench. Doench personally knows several veterans who have lost their battle with PTSD, too.

This story is tragically common: Veterans Affairs estimates 22 veterans die of suicide every day.

The beer’s release on Memorial Day weekend was originally a coincidence. But along with Hetzer’s song, the Filthy Pilsner acts as a fitting tribute to those we lost and those who got lost along the way.

As for the Filthy Heathens, singles are coming soon, as is a full album later this year. And they recently signed to Smokeshow Entertainment.

That alone is something to raise their light and drinkable beer to.

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