Independent craft breweries in the United States often contribute to military causes. Some of the breweries have taken their support one step further with national collaboration beers and campaigns. Others have gone so far as to name their businesses and beers after military references. Here are some organizations that recognize, support, and give back to soldiers through beer.
Mad Bomber Brewing Company
The founders of Mad Bomber Brewing Company (Hayden, Idaho) are United States Army veterans, and the cozy taproom pays homage to that background in its military-themed decor. Two of their beers, Fatman IPA and St. Nicholas Pale Ale, were named after two of the founding members killed in the war, and 50 percent of the sales from these two beers is donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. Other noteworthy beers include the Crossfire IPA, Carbon Stout, Claymore Double IPA, and Silver Land Double IPA. As if that’s not enough, the brewery was voted Best Local Brewery of 2015 by The North Idaho Business Journal.
Talisman Brewing Company
After the head brewmaster of Talisman Brewing Company retired from a career in the United States Air Force, the long-time homebrewer indulged in his passion for beer and started a brewery in Ogden, Utah. Their beers range 4–10 percent ABV, so there’s quite a variety to be found here. We recommend The Dagda, an IPA with 65 IBUs and a piney, floral, grapefruit character, as well as the Season Ale Blood Orange Honey Wheat. They offer a 15 percent discount on their swag to veterans as a thank-you for service.
Black Frog Brewing
Toledo, Ohio, is the home to Black Frog Brewing, which is not only veteran-owned, it is the first minority-owned brewery in the city. Brewmaster Chris Harris was a member of the United States Army, and his father served in the National Guard. He started his nanobrewery in 2014, and even though his operation is small, he’s making quite an impact on the Ohio craft-beer industry. This year, on Learn to Homebrew Day (November 5, 2016), he hosted an event at Black Frog that taught attendees to homebrew but also raised funds for Veterans Matter, an organization that assists the United States’ almost 40,000 homeless veterans.
Home of the Brave Brewing & Brewseum
This brewery in Honolulu, Hawaii, was started to honor America’s Finest and those who have served in the United States military; it has a USO-style interior and boasts the largest private collection of World War II memorabilia in the Pacific. Notable brews include Pilot Pale Ale, Go for Broke Ale, and Remember Pearl Harbor Dark Lager.
The recipe for this patriotic India pale ale was first developed in 2011 by Fremont Brewing Co. in Seattle, Washington, and Center of the Universe Brewing Co. in Ashland, Virginia. The premise: create a beer brewed to support military-based charities and get more and more breweries to re-create it each year. Homefront IPA has been brewed by Left Hand Brewing Co. (Longmont, Colorado), Cigar City (Tampa, Florida), Perennial Artisan Ales (St. Louis, Missouri), 21st Amendment (San Francisco, California), Stone Brewing Co. (Escondido, California), Palmetto Brewing Co. (Charleston, South Carolina), Maui Brewing Co. (Kihei, Hawaii), and Revolution Brewing Co. (Chicago, Illinois) to name a few. It is a bright, citrus-forward IPA with added orange zest in the fermentation tank. At Left Hand Brewing alone, this beer raised more than $39,000 for military causes in the brewery’s first two years of participation.
Veterans United Craft Brewery
This Jacksonville, Florida, brewery is owned by former Naval Flight Officer Ron Gamble. Many of the staff members are veterans, and there’s even a Military & Veteran’s Liaison on staff.
Red Leg Brewing Co.
The slogan at this newer brewery in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is “serving those who serve.” Red Leg President and Founder Todd Baldwin served in the United States Army as an artillery officer. The name Red Leg comes from Civil War battlefields, where artillery soldiers wore a cardinal stripe on their pant leg to denote their location on the field of battle. One of Red Leg’s beers “brewed to honor the men and women who currently and formerly served in the United States military,” Devil Dog Stout, took home a bronze medal from World Beer Cup in the Foreign Style Stout category.
Service Brewing Co.
Service Brewing out of Savannah, Georgia, was cofounded by Kevin Ryan who graduated from West Point. The brewery focuses its tasting room fund-raising efforts to assist charities that support the United States servicemen and women and first responders. The brewery cans its year-round ales, Ground Pounder Pale Ale, Compass Rose IPA, and Rally Point Bohemian-Style Pilsner.
Battlefield Brew Works
Proceeds from Gettysburg’s Battlefield Brew Works’s Red Circle Ale, an American red ale brewed with Mandarina Bavaria hops and fermented with California Ale yeast, profits The Red Circle Foundation. This organization provides enrichment scholarships for the children of Special Operators and emergency gap funding in support of the families of fallen and wounded heroes.
Dog Tag Brewing Foundation
Each can of beer from Dog Tag Brewing is dedicated to a fallen warrior, and all profits for this line of beers are donated to military-based charities. These Dedicated Cans are created in collaboration with Gold Star Families, families of fallen military servicemen and women, to honor their relatives. Learn more at dogtagbrewing.org.
14th Star Brewing Co.
Steve Gagner, who owns 14th Star Brewing (Saint Albans, Vermont), planned his brewery in Afghanistan. “While deployed overseas, soldiers have plenty of time to contemplate two things: Beer and getting out of the Army,” the brewery website says. Gagner got out of the Army via craft beer. His flagship Valor Ale, a hoppy amber ale, benefits the Purple Hearts Reunited Foundation, which returns lost and stolen medals of valor to the servicemen and women who earned them.
Veteran Beer Co.
This brewery in Chicago was founded to get vets back to work and help them start in again after leaving the military. Beer revenue goes toward helping veterans, and each area of the company and supply chain employs veterans. “It’s 1700 hours somewhere.”
Craft-beer breweries, brewpubs, and beer bars are expanding all over the United States at a rapid rate, yet who do you trust for accurate and up-to- date information about where to go and what to drink? The Ultimate Beer Guide Western Edition 2017 answers that question with expertly curated reviews, suggestions, and insight from the editors and writers of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine®. Order your copy today.