One of Nebraska-based Empyrean Brewing Co.’s most popular seasonal beers is back on store shelves to help raise money for the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. “Zookeeper Pink Guava Pale Ale” features a light, refreshing body with an exotic twist of fresh guava purée. Since 2018, Empyrean has partnered with the zoo to gather support for over 400 animals. This year, Super Saver and Russ’s Market are generously donating $1 for every Zookeeper Pink Guava six-pack sold. The support will help the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, which has been hit hard the past year from the global pandemic.
Zookeeper Pink Guava Pale Ale is set to be in the market from May until October wherever Empyrean Brewing Co. beer is sold in Nebraska. The box, featuring the world’s fastest land animal, pays tribute to the zoo’s new cheetah exhibit from its expansion last year.
Jim Engelbart, operations manager at Empyrean Brewing Co. said, “We are excited to brew our Zookeeper Ale again this year in partnership with Lincoln’s Children’s Zoo. We love how the tart, fruity pink guava melds with the easygoing and citrus-forward character of our Pale Ale recipe. Better yet, we love how our local partnerships with retail and wholesale partners come together to support what is truly a treasure in our city—the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.”
As home to over 400 animals—40 of which are endangered, the Lincoln Children’s Zoo serves as a place for Nebraska’s youth to learn about animals and the importance of their conservation. It costs roughly $13,000 each day to operate the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, so donations are always appreciated to support its ongoing education and animal care programs.
Heavy Seas donating Pawsome Sauce proceeds to Baltimore animal shelter
Heavy Seas Beer dropped the latest release from its 15 Barrel Brewhouse, Pawsome Sauce, a Double Hazy IPA. This beer will be available in four-packs of 16oz cans during a can release on May 21. A portion of all Pawsome Sauce four-pack and draft sales at the brewery will be donated to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS).
“The Pawsome Sauce label features a portrait of Ruby, a BARCS alum, and the winner of a pet portrait contest that raised $22,000 in donations for BARCS!” says Heavy Seas Associate Brand Manager Amanda Zivkovic. “Our community believes every pup is a star and deserves a forever home; the success of this pet portrait contest reaffirmed that. We feel lucky to be creating our third collaboration brew with BARCS this year and couldn’t be more excited for this release.”
“We’ve been having a lot of fun with hazy IPAs the past few years with our Joose Cannon taproom releases and our year round full distribution of Hazy Cannon,” explains Heavy Seas Brewmaster Christopher Leonard. “So, we thought we’d take it up a notch with a fruity, juicy, hazy Double IPA for this project. We’re using novel hop varieties Lotus and Cashmere, Southern Hemisphere Galaxy and Enigma, and of course the mainstay Citra to impart a myriad of tropical and citrus aromas for this fun but powerful brew. Hopefully we will have made Ruby proud!”
Pawsome Sauce’s label artwork was designed by local Baltimore artist, Chris Shiner, of Chris Shiner Art. All the taproom exclusive beer labels will be designed by Shiner in 2021.
Oskar Blues is SMASHing brain cancer
Oskar Blues Brewery announced the taproom-only release of S.M.A.S.H. for Stache (6.9% ABV), a double dry-hopped, heavily Sabro-infused SMaSH (stands for “single malt and single hop”) IPA. A portion of proceeds from sales of S.M.A.S.H. for Stache will benefit StacheStrong, an organization that raises funds for brain cancer research. S.M.A.S.H. for Stache will be available on draft and in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans starting May 1 at all Oskar Blues taprooms – Longmont and Boulder, CO; Brevard, NC; and Austin, TX, locations.
In S.M.A.S.H. for Stache IPA, award-winning Pale Genie malt, donated by Root Shoot malting, plays nice with a large amount of Sabro hops. Sabro shows off with flashy notes of tangerine, lime, pineapple and coconut with hints of mint and cedar. S.M.A.S.H. for Stache IPA will be available during the month of May, Brain Cancer Awareness Month, while supplies last.
StacheStrong is a 501(c)3 charity devoted to raising funds and awareness for brain cancer research. For the first time, 150+ breweries all over the nation are brewing beers to battle brain cancer alongside StacheStrong as part of the inaugural #BrewStacheStrong program. Oskar Blues has supported StacheStrong since 2018 and is proud to participate in this year’s initiative among some of the nation’s most esteemed craft breweries.
City Built Brewing with Look Ma! No Hands (and our favorite label this week)
When City Built Brewing Company debuted their Run the Jewels inspired Crown Series last year, they expected the lineup of IPAs would drum up some fanfare but they couldn’t have anticipated that the beers would land them on the national radar and put them in direct contact with El-P and Killer Mike. The attention was gained in large part thanks to the beer labels, each an eye-popping extrapolation of a Run the Jewels album that gave faces and bodies to the iconic fists and pistols on the covers.
Using IP from a famous group was a risky move, but a situation that could have quickly turned litigious was instead embraced by the rap duo who saw the tribute as more of a fist bump than theft. It was a moment of pride for City Built and one they feel is worth celebrating now with a new brand that ties together any loose knots.
Last week, City Built released Look Ma! No Hands, a double dry-hopped IPA that’s in step flavorwise with previous beers from the Crown Series but displays a fresh take on the former label art. All four faces from the original cans adorn Look Ma!, in a move that owner Ed Collazo recognizes as a necessary pivot to keep them out of trouble. Hot off a win for best beer label in the country for Prague Underground, the Look Ma! label feels like a well-earned victory lap for artists Elliot Chaltry and Kyle DeGroff.
Look Ma! is a conceptual cuvée, cramming all of head brewer Rob Qualls favorite hops from the series into one beer. Qualls pulled Galaxy from Into the Fray and Citra and Mosaic from Into the Haze, and the resulting IPA emulates everything great about modern hazies. A cracked can dispels waves of fruit cocktail aromatics. On the palate, plan for heavy notes of lychee, pineapple and a sneaky dankness from the Mosaic hops. Look Ma! No Hands finds balance between its underlying sweetness and a resiny bitterness hopheads crave, creating an ideal IPA experience. But let’s not forget the label.
Four Point Beer launches limited releases in 16-ouncers
Fort Point Beer Co. launched a new limited product line featuring beer releases in 16 ounce cans. The first release in this series is a Hazy Pale Ale called Natural Magic that launched April 23 exclusively through Fort Point Direct, the brewery’s home delivery service. The recipe features locally-sourced Feldblume malt from Admiral Maltings, and a large dose of flaked oats to provide a soft canvas. Ripe mango, ruby red grapefruit, and subtle green undertones burst out of the glass from the layered use of expressive American hops. With only 200 cases of Natural Magic available, the release is expected to sell out quickly.
Prior to 2020, the Fort Point limited product line existed in the form of monthly draft beer releases, offered to select bars and restaurants. This process allowed the team to experiment and refine new beers, while also testing them out in the market at a small scale. The approach is key to how all core beers at Fort Point are developed, including those in their 2020 can launch — Dipper Double IPA, Cool Cold Fermented IPA, Strawberry Darling Berliner Weisse, and Sfizio Italian Pilsner.
Beer development and recipe creation is led by Mike Schnebeck, Director of Innovation. Recipes are inspired by a range of catalysts: a curiosity around a specific beer style, a personal experience, or a drive to experiment with a new process or ingredient. “In the case of Natural Magic, it was all about exploring a beer style that was new to Fort Point,” comments Schnebeck. “We’ve been experimenting with hazies for some time and the goal was to create a version of the popular style that was a bit more drinkable, sessionable and true to our brewing philosophy.”
Unique releases will be launched throughout the year ranging from totally new styles, to riffs on their current beers, and special collabs. “Everything is on the table, but whatever we make will have the Fort Point philosophy at its core: it’ll be a beer that hits that elusive sweet spot at the intersection of ‘interesting’ and ‘easy to love,’ no matter the style,” says Justin Catalana, CEO and co-founder of Fort Point. The team will use this series as an opportunity to invite consumers into their development process, sharing a behind-the-scenes look at how a beer at Fort Point graduates into a permanent can distributed to a wider audience.