While Memorial Day is first and foremost a holiday dedicated to remembering our fallen men and women who heroically served in our Armed Forces, many craft breweries think charity first and beer second. Peaks and Pints likes to think of them as liquid philanthropists as they donate a piece of their pie to charity. They believe true fulfillment never comes from financial or material success. Happiness and deep sense of connection is their goal. The five craft breweries we highlight in our beer sample flight sit on the same mountaintop. Money comprises the base, but idealism, balance and good vibes more than tops the peak. This is not a compendium of the only or even the most generous breweries, just a handful that not only serve their community by proffering fresh beer, but by pouring out their souls as well, through generous donations and volunteerism. During this Memorial Day weekend when we focus on giving thanks — and our Craft Beer Crosscut 5.28.17: A Flight of Charity — thank goodness these breweries have their hearts, check books, and mash tuns in the right places.
5.5% ABV, 30 IBU
The Pacific Crest Trail stretches from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, covering more than 2,600 miles along the way. On average, it takes thru-hikers about five months to complete the trek. Most hikers start in the south, and by the time they make it into Oregon, they’ve built up a mighty powerful thirst. Enough PCT hikers stop in Bend, Oregon for a shower, a civilized meal and craft beer that Crux Fermentation Project decided to brew PCT Porter just for them and the organization that supports the hikers, Pacific Crest Trail Association. Kick off the hiking boots, pull one of these out of our cooler and enjoy this velvety, chocolate porter with a small bitter bite at the back. It’s an easy drinking porter with notes of espresso, spruce tips, vanilla and caramel with part of the proceeds benefiting the PCTA, which is awesome.
5.2% ABV, 32 IBU
7 Seas Brewing and 253Heart joined together to craft a beer that supports the Pierce County community by donating a portion of the 253 Pilsner proceeds to a variety of local non-profit organizations. Two organizations are selected at any one time to receive a portion of the sales, up to $5,000. After the goal is hit the two organizations continue to select small, local, state certified 501C-3 and 501C-6 non-profits. The goal is to find the local non-profit organizations that this money would make a large impact to. In regards to the 253 Pilsner 7 Seas co-owner and head brewer Travis Guterson brewed more than five test batches, with different hops and different malts, to dial-in the recipe. “Travis settled on Sterling and Cascade hops,” says his business partner, Mike Runion. “It’s a Northwest interpretation of a pilsner.” Guterson and Runion brewed the 253 Pilsner with Northwest Pale and Pilsner malt, hopped with said hops, for a 100 percent Washington, refreshing, dry and crisp authentic premium pilsner.
5.2% ABV, 43 IBU
Bellevue Brewing’s Washington Trails Association Tangerine Pale Ale is brewed to be enjoyed with alpine views, summit sunsets and your favorite hiking companions. This citrus pale ale’s swirling hop aromatics, a smooth malt body, sweet orange peel and tangerine zest combine with a smooth, crisp finish. It tastes even better when you think about the one percent of proceeds from sales that benefit WTA helping power our hiking guide, trip reports and volunteer trail maintenance teams.
6.5% ABV, 45 IBU
Our nation’s warriors can hardly turn around without being offered a free meal or hearing civilian choruses of “thank you for your service” from every direction, especially on this Memorial Day weekend. Ideally, this holiday weekend also reminds us of the extreme sacrifices endured by the military on our behalf, and prompts legitimate discussions about how to improve services and readjustment opportunities for those we send to war. Iron Horse Brewery launched the Hopping Hands Project this month, a four-month, single hop IPA release with proceeds benefiting the Veterans Conservation Corps, a department of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. The VCC provides opportunities for veterans to connect with nature in their own way while restoring Washington’s natural resources. Cascade hops are the one-star general for Iron Horse in May. Expect a light, floral crisp IPA and Iron Horse to give its net proceeds from every Hopping Hands Project keg directly to the VCC.
6.5% ABV, 57 IBU
Since opening in 2014, Ex Novo Brewing’s mission is to contribute all — yes, all — of its profits (that don’t get redirected to infrastructure improvements, which is not code for lining any pockets) to its four primary nonprofit partners: Friends of the Children, IJM, Impact NW and MercyCorps. Keep that in mind as you enjoy the Portland brewery’s Damon Stoutamire. The “Rip City Stout” pays tribute to the Portland Trail Blazers hoop legend. If Stoutamire were this beer, he’d smell of cocoa, espresso and overripe fruit. It’s a medium bodied stout with sweet coffee and bitter chocolate off the bench and notes of dates and rich plum walking off the floor.