beer column

here are my notes from tuesday's on the coast with stephen quinn:

From charity brews to charitable donations, and from hiring differently abled employees to mentoring, the craft beer community really gives back to the greater community.

For example, Phillips Brewing in Victoria has for the past 4 years brewed a “Benefit Brew” – a beer whose entire profits (approximately $10,000) are donated to a charity chosen by the public.  And it’s not too late to vote for this year’s recipient.  You have until November 15th to cast your vote, and you can vote every day between now and the 15th.  Regardless of which charity is announced on November 17th as the winner, all of the nominees come out ahead as the other nine finalists receive a $500 donation.  Visit the website to see the nominees and place your vote.

Phillips says:  "We make beer, and we want to use our powers of craft beer creation for good!  A few years back we decided that an awesome way to do this would be to create a special beer for a charity, name the beer after the cause and donate the proceeds - the charity receives some much-needed support, and we get to brew a fun beer!  However we quickly ran into a problem: there are just way too many deserving causes for us to simply choose one.  To solve our conundrum we put it out to the community to tell us who they wanted to support adnd the Benefit Brew was born!"

Phillips isn’t alone.  Last month Steamworks Brewing donated some of the profits from their Heroica Red Ale to the BC Burn Fund; for the past two years Central City Brewing in Surrey has brewed an Imperial IPA for Autism.  They hold a fundraising dinner, sell branded glassware for $5 – all of which goes to charity and research, and donate $2 from each imperial ipa sold as well; Cannery Brewing in Naramata brews a Wildfire IPA (a black IPA or Cascadian dark ale) every year with partial proceeds going to the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation...

VCBW – Vancouver Craft Beer Week brews a collaboration charity brew each year, with $1 from every 650 ml bottle sold going to the charity chosen that year.  2014’s $5,000 donation went to the Music Heals charity.  2011’s $1,294 went to Japanese Tsunami Relief, 2012’s donation of $3,200 went to the Farmland Defence League of BC and 2013’s donation of $3,500 went to Mark Brand’s A Better Life Foundation.  As you can see, the donation amount just keeps on going up for VCBW!

Other than charity brews there were also 2014’s charity calendar spearheaded by Moon Under Water brewpub in Victoria – The $20 Beautiful Brewers of BC calendar featured PG-13 nude shots of various BC brewers for each month, with proceeds being donated to the BC Cancer Foundation to support provincial cancer research; Driftwood Brewing entered the Ride to Conquer Cancer this year and held fundraisers for their team’s required donation, such as a long-table 5-course dinner at Hop & Vine in Burnaby back in April; and there are always fundraisers for people in the brewing community, such as a head brewer who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2013.  Beer-pairing dinners, silent auctions and raffles were held with donations from breweries and beer lovers alike all raising funds to help the brewer and his family.

Powell Street Brewing is currently collecting items for the Vancouver Food Bank.  For every item you donate, they'll pour you 4oz of their delicious beer (max two per person per day).  Doing good never tasted so good!

Breweries are also very generous in donating beer to other fundraisers.  I have first-hand experience with this as any fund-raiser I have been involved with has featured beers generously donated by local breweries.  In my experience, Storm and Dead Frog have been particularly forthcoming with donated beer.  Thanks guys!

Breweries sponsor local sports teams, the tasting rooms partner with food trucks and other local businesses to provide food to their hungry patrons… and of course, as we mention on On the Coast from time to time, the breweries collaborate with each other and help each other out of ingredient shortages, as well as supporting the local homebrew club via contests and hosting brews.

And then there’s the CBC FoodBank Day fundraiser.  Last year I began by asking 6 breweries to donate and all of them came through with so many beer and beer swag donations that I had three really awesome gift baskets filled in no time, and had to stop asking for donations before I got deluged!  This year I am asking different breweries to donate and expect that they will provide me with just as many wonderful items for gift baskets.

Last, but certainly not least, Parallel 49 employs several differently abled staff.  P49's program was spot-lighted in October’s CommunityLiving month as a success story of local businesses who hire people with developmental disabilities.

Beer picks:

Parallel 49 – Toques of Hazzard is back! This Imperial White IPA is 9.2% but doesn’t taste like it, so go easy with it! – bottles on tap around town and in the tasting room

Bomber Brewing – Absolute Horizon CDA – 6.5% - bottles and on tap around town and in the tasting room

33 Acres of Darkness - Schwartzbier –5% - at the tasting room


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