Collaborating for a Cause | For The Kidd’s
- Eric Griffin
- On September 11, 2023
The high-production powerhouses of the industry have been far from the only ones showing support towards Alex Kidd and his family during his continuing fight with Stage IV cancer. A collaborative effort out of New Jersey, For The Kidd’s is the next feature in a growing series highlighting the incredible support provided by the craft beer community for a craft beer icon. Chris with Shore Side Brewing allowed us the opportunity to sit down and discuss a beer that he felt was more than fitting to be released for Don’t Drink Beer.
A Shared Cause
Chris started Shore Side Brewing in 2019 in a small shed steps from the beach in Ventnor City, NJ. Since then it has been a passion project built on the future goal of finding the right space and the right time to bring it to full-scale reality. Focusing on bright, hoppy ales and tart, fruit-forward beers that pair well with the beautiful shore environment, Chris also enjoys brewing refreshing island lagers and flavorful dark ales. Although right now direct outreach and occasional pop-up events in the Atlantic County, NJ area are the only ways to get Shore Side beers, Chris knew immediately after hearing about Horus Aged Ales’ Stay Strong Alex initiative that he wanted to release something special to support Alex and his family.
Chris had only known Alex through social channels but followed his work closely for years. He always admired the quality and depth of his humor; no one had ever been able to make him laugh out loud as often as Malt Couture podcasts and DDB reviews. Chris went on to say that the news of Alex’s diagnosis struck him particularly hard. Like Alex, Chris has small kids of his own as well as another on the way, and both always shared a passion for the beer “hustle”. The decision to help a young, growing family like his own was easy.
Founded in July of 2022 by Dorien and Heather Saunders, Whims is a small brewery based out of Atco, NJ. Chris’s connection with Dorien stemmed from the Brew Jersey Homebrew Club, where they met back in 2018. While they brew all styles of beer at Whims, Dorien has always had a special place in his heart for wood-aged beers, and those with herbs, spices, and fruit, particularly wine grapes. It was in April of 2021 that Chris and Dorien brewed the base beer that would later become For the Kidd’s, slumbering in the time since until it found that perfect occasion for release, and inspiration for some final treatments.
Much like Chris at Shore Side, the Saunders are also a young family, welcoming their their first child into the world earlier this year. Their commitment to helping the Stay Strong Alex initiative also came without hesitation, so utilizing a beer that the two breweries came up with together made it an easy decision as a means to raise money in support.
For The Kidd’s
As mentioned above, the base beer for this limited release was brewed back in the spring of 2021. At this time, Whims was not a full-production brewery and Dorien was still brewing 2bbl batches out of his garage. The Wheatwine base was brewed with copious amounts of honey, and then fermented in a single malt American Whiskey barrel from Boardroom Spirits out of Landsdale, PA. Spending just under six months in the barrel, Chris noted that the time spent in oak was really able to lend a lot of additional barrel-forward complexities.
Awaiting the right moment for over two years, the news of Alex Kidd’s diagnosis became the perfect moment to share this beer. Chris made a final addition of Mexican vanilla and then conditioned it on amburana wood chips to add some sweetness and baking spice notes to a very barrel-forward base beer.
Back at the end of June, Shore Side took to social media, offering up a can with each $10 donation to Alex’s GoFundMe. The final 18 cans were sent to a random selection of donors in sets of two with donations to the GoFundMe used to gain entry into the drawing. Nearly $500 was raised for the Kidd family through this small Shore Side and Whims Brewing collaborative effort. Chris noted how the road ahead for the Kidds is undoubtedly a family battle, hence the name given to the beer. The funds go well beyond just supporting Alex, helping to also provide support and comfort to his wife and kids during this difficult time.
Chris sent us For The Kidd’s to taste and review for ourselves, and we were very thankful for the opportunity to share the experience.
The beer pours from a stubby 8oz can. There’s a deep, opaque sienna brown coloration. Weak beige froth bubbles up initially, but is quick to settle back into the body of the beer. After a moment, there is not a single bubble of carbonation visible in the glass.
The nose on this is unbelievable. Gingerbread cookies, cassia bark, and vanilla extract swirl together in a fantastic bouquet of bakery aromatics. The ginger notes weaken after a few minutes and switches up the profile to become more reminiscent of cinnamon rolls.
The palate punches initially with a balanced level of sweetness. With time, there’s an added layer of complexity with underlying esters and slightly drying bitterness. While still sweet, it brings less of the fresh baked goods and more of a caramel raisin bread pudding profile.
The mouthfeel is coating but not overly heavy. As briefly mentioned above, it dries slightly and has a touch of lingering estery bitterness. The carbonation is low but present, and on the finish is an abundance of comfortable warmth.
Overall this is a very impressive beer. They nailed an admittedly intimidating style, and we agreed that the addition of amburana and vanilla was absolutely key. We’re very excited to see what the future holds for Chris and Shore Side Brewing as he looks to make a full-production facility the next step.
Supporting the Kidd Family
These releases from across the country and beyond continue to be an amazing thing to see. The support has been seemingly endless, with 3,000 donations and counting, and nearly $370,000 raised so far.
That said, the battle is far from over. Alex’s GoFundMe is still accepting donations, and the team here at PorchDrinking will continue to highlight these special releases brewed and blended to lend further support to the cause. Shore Side and Whims showed incredible support for the Kidds with this extremely limited wheatwine, sympathizing with both Alex and his family as Chris and Dorien both raise young families of their own. Stay Strong Alex!