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Beer Giving Back

I was raised in a family where helping those around you was always considered very important, and it’s something that I still try to do. I’ve been on work trips to East Saint Louis, IL, Albuquerque, NM, Seneca, NY, and Wilmington, NC. (You’d never guess I’ve hung drywall and refinished hardwood, huh?) In State College I try to give back individually and through my graduate program. My program has adopted families through the Women’s Resource Center for at least six years, and we’ve also participated in blanket and food drives for the community. For my part, I’m a pen pal for a nine year old in the Bald Eagle School district. The day I get her letters is always one of my favorite day of the month.  As a result, I’m always a fan of when a brewery takes a larger interest in their community, as well as the world. I’ve written about it before in regards to Maine Beer Company, and it’s something that is gaining more momentum.

Beer for Beasts

Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn hosts the annual event of Beer for Beasts, which benefits the Humane Society of New York City. At Beer for Beasts, there are a wide variety of single-batch brews from Sixpoint’s brewhouse, oftentimes collaborations with friends of the brewery. Beyond the cost to put on the event, 100% of proceeds are donated to HSNY, and the venue, The Bell House, graciously provides the space gratis. The event is a real party, featuring comedians, a DJ, and a fleet of food trucks outside. This is an event that I would happily attend, and feel great that I am helping animals in need.

One thing that is particularly cool to me is how many breweries support super local charities. When Hill Farmstead released Double Barrel Damon, bottles were priced at $35, which included a $15 donation to the Hardwick Northeast Kingdom Community Action to benefit childhood literacy. All funds raised went directly to the Hardwick NEKCA for use to create and expand literacy programs for 3-5 year old children in the area.

Saison de Rose

In Pennsylvania, I was really struck and impressed by the movement toward supporting local breast cancer charities as opposed to the larger ones. For October, Free Will Brewing paired with Philadelphia Beer (and wine) Mavens Erin Wallace, Marnie Old, Tara Nurin, and Carolyn Smagalski to brew Saison de Rose, in support of Penn Medicine’s Rena Rowan Breast Center. Saison de Rose is a legitimately pink beer, meant to be both enjoyable for non-beer drinkers and satisfying for craft beer lovers. (Their official press release also said “accessible for women,” but I take issue with that statement for many a reason, which is an entirely separate post). A farmhouse pale ale, Saison de Rose has flavors of pink peppercorns, grapefruit, ginger and hibiscus, all of white also contribute to its rosy hue. Each keg and bottle purchased benefits Rena Rowan Breast Center, as well as $1 from each pint. It is estimated that $10,000 will be donated as a result, plus additional donations from participating bars. What I find coolest is how the Rena Rowan Center will use the money—it goes directly towards helping patients and improving the center, as well as the services it provides. Kudos to you, Free Will and Philly Beer Mavens, for making such a difference in your community and the lives of the women who go to the Penn Medicine’s Rena Rowan Breast Center. I unfortunately never saw any bottles of Saison de Rose in State College, but is something I would gladly purchase.



Weyerbacher Brewing Company out of Easton, PA, is making a difference through their brew Althea. The recipe for Althea was developed by employee Natalie DeChico, and is a 8.5% Belgian-style dubbel with Italian plums. Althea is the Greek word for healing, and that is what Weyerbacher hopes to help women in the Lehigh Valley do through their partnership with the Breast Cancer Patient Assistant Fund of Lehigh Valley Health Network. Weyerbacher recognizes that a breast cancer diagnosis can lead to insurmountable bills during what can be the most trying time in a woman’s life, and wanted to be able to help the women in their community. For each bottle sold of Althea, Weyerbacher is donating $1 to the fund, which will help the women going through breast cancer treatment in their area cover costs including travel, child care, prosthesis, and medical bills. I had the privilege of getting to try Althea once it hit the State College market, and I enjoyed it. Knowing that its sale is helping make a difference made me feel even better.

I know that I have left out many breweries that are doing amazing work in giving back to their community and the world—frankly, a post highlighting them all would be unmanageably long. Nonetheless, I wanted to highlight and thank a few of the breweries I know that are making a difference in their community. Thank you to Sixpoint, Hill Farmstead, Free Will and Weyerbacher for doing your part to make the world a better place. I encourage more breweries to do the same. Do you know about a brewery in your area that gives back on the local level? Post it in the comments.

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Written by Paige Deckert

Paige is a fifth year graduate student at Penn State; she received her craft beer education while bartending during undergrad at the University of Illinois. Over several months, Rogue’s Dead Guy served as her gateway beer, because it was $2/pint on Thursdays, and thus offered the highest ABV/$. This eventually turned into enjoyment, and everything is history from there. Her first legal beer was Robert the Bruce on cask at the Blind Pig in Champaign, followed by the Duchess de Bourgogne. Paige has visited over 15 breweries, including Great Divide, Bells, Jolly Pumpkin, Three Floyds and Dogfish Head, with plans to add more in 2012 via trips to San Diego, Phoenix, and Austin. Paige became friends with Russ (and subsequently Garrett) when they became friends on untappd. She clearly remembers seeing a check-in of his and thinking, “Who is this clown checking into Miller Light at the Shandygaff?” Soon thereafter he introduced himself at a Zeno’s beerfest, and they bonded over their beer geekery (sans adjuct lagers). Find Paige Deckert on Google Plus

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