Re-posted from my blog, Malted Musings.
Bryon Turner, a veteran of the Connecticut Air National Guard and founder/operator of CT Beer Trail, has devised a way for local beer to support the local military, and for beer drinkers all over Connecticut to reap the benefits. The groundwork for this ambitious project took the better part of the year, but with summer upon us the time was finally right for Bryon to fill me in on the Ales of Honor project.
Ales of Honor is a collaborative effort between the beer trail and several Connecticut brewpubs. The purpose of Ales of Honor is to raise money for the Connecticut National Guard Foundation. The Foundation supports Army and Air National guard members in several ways such as sponsoring deployment send offs, creating scholarships, and generally providing a financial assistance to help out Guard men and women in any way possible. As Bryon put it, the CT National Guard Foundation is great because it is one of those charities that you can feel confident in: their overhead is very low as all the workers are volunteer Guard members. Any money given through the CT National Guard Foundation will end up directly affecting Guard members for the better- it’s about as close as you can get to physically tipping Guard members for their hard work and sacrifice.
The way the program works is fairly simple. CT breweries and brewpubs brew a special, limited edition beer. For every one of these limited beers that are sold, a portion of the proceeds goes directly to the CT National Guard Foundation. Bryon wanted to make more of an impact beyond just beer though, and established the primary way to support Ales of Honor through the online crowd-funding website RocketHub. Through this page, you can pledge money for various merchandise and rewards, with proceeds all going right to the CT National Guard Foundation. Some rewards include getting a chance to brew a beer with professional brewers, hats and shirts, really cool German-style glass steins, and a chance to get in a hour early for a cask tapping event. The last component of the Ales of Honor are the dog tags. Each participating brewery will have dog tags that you can purchase on location (and a special one that can be purchased online). If you collect all the dog tags, it will allow your entry into a raffle, with the main prize being a limo tour of CT breweries! This will be online for three months and after that, says Bryon, he will reevaluate interest in the project; he will decide on whether it was just a one-time deal, or if he is going to create something that will kick around a bit longer.
So far three brewpubs are in for the program: The Cambridge House, Willimantic Brewing Company, and Tully Cross Tavern. The brewpubs are going to stagger the releases of their respective beers, and Cambridge House has released their Farmer’s Daughter Saison first. To celebrate this beer they will be holding the aforementioned cask event August 1st at 8 PM. In addition to this, if you purchase an Ales of Honor mug, The Cambridge House will fill the larger stein for the cost of a normal pint! The next beer release is going to be from the Willimantic Brewing Company- a milk stout style that pays homage to their old post office home by it’s name, “APO Milk Stout” (APO referring to the way that people ship packages and mail to loved ones overseas- Air/Army Post Office).
This is a huge project and one that has the potential to help a lot of service people right here in CT. On the other hand, even if you have little connection to service people, this is a great way to get directly involved with local CT beer and score great beer at a great price while doing it. As the icing on the cake, Bryon told me that he has an open offer to deliver the merch you buy online personally. Provided, of course, that the drop off point is at one of the brewpubs for a pint! Follow me on Blogger, Twitter, and Facebook for more beer info, future events coming down the line, and other beer rantings and ravings.