AboutEric Griffin, Author at PorchDrinking.com
The outpouring of support for Alex Kidd and his family has been incredible over the last eight months. In particular, when backtracking to those first 30 days after he announced his Stage IV cancer diagnosis, it’s mind-blowing just how quickly so many breweries and individuals banded together to raise funds. Lua Brewing was no exception. Just four days after the unexpected announcement on Don’t Drink Beer’s social accounts, Lua organized a vintage sale offering full sets of their sought-after Destroyer Barleywine, with 100% earned going straight to the Kidd family.
In this week’s installment of Collaborating for a Cause, we switch gears from beer to mead. On Nov. 14 of last year, Alyson Schramm of Schramm’s Mead announced an upcoming release to represent their participation in GivingTuesday 2023. In an amazing show of kindness and generosity toward a craft beer and industry icon, Schramm’s donated 100% of profits from its Nov. 28 webstore sales to the Kidd family GoFundMe to go toward medical expenses and future needs. Additionally, Schramm’s conducted a pre-order for custom-labeled bottles of Alex Reserve, its limited-batch apple mead.
Up until this point, the Barrel Room Spotlight has exclusively featured brewery programs specializing in malty, high-gravity, oak-aged beers. For this installment, Floodland Brewing breaks the mold. We had the privilege of interviewing founder and brewer Adam Paysse to gain some insight into Floodland’s mixed fermentation portfolio, some of his approaches to culture collection and ingredients, and how he is able to assert his vision through unique, high-quality, bottle-conditioned beers.
Happy New Year! When we began this series last year, we had no idea what to expect. No one was quite prepared for the sheer magnitude of support Alex Kidd and his family would receive after his cancer diagnosis, but it’s been incredible to watch unfold. This series powers ahead into the new year, beginning with Fox Farm Brewery in Salem, Connecticut.
Back in May, immediately after hearing the news of Alex Kidd’s cancer diagnosis, PorchDrinking helped to organize a razzle with the Barleywine is Life Facebook group to raise money for his recovery through donations to his GoFundMe. On the 19th we published an article outlining how breweries could get involved with rare bottle contributions for the razzle, and then on June 6th officially announced the packages up for grabs. For every $10 forwarded to his recovery fund (with emailed proof), donors would receive one entry. Submissions closed at Midnight EST on June 18, with winners selected live on the morning of Tuesday, June 20 by Stephen Loh and Michael Gabriel of Malt Couture on Instagram.
One brewery donation in particular came all the way from Norway, contributing two special iterations of home-brewed, high-gravity ales that were randomly added to three winning boxes from the PorchDrinking razzle. We had the privilege to talk with Espen Westum extensively about his passion project, Westum Hjemmebryggeri, as well as the inspirations provided by Alex Kidd and what’s led him to this point in his brewing journey. Additionally, we were able to review and share the very exclusive charity releases Westum sent stateside to support the Kidds.
As 2023 nears its conclusion, many families and businesses feel the strain and chaos of the holiday season and the deadlines associated with the final months of the year. Fortunately, the support for Alex Kidd and his family has not even considered pumping the brakes, and we are happy to welcome Revolution Brewing to this week’s installation of Collaborating for a Cause.
Adjusting the spotlight to a beer that Alex himself helped co-create with the Revolution team, this well-known Chicago brewery organized an incredible gesture spanning the month of November involving their Life Jacket Barleywine.
Breweries are always looking for new and unique ways to share their beers. Recently, one way that many have looked to showcase their barrel room in particular has been through barrel picks.
This week, Collaborating for a Cause sets its sights on Florida, where Hialeah-based brewery King Fox joined forces with Shōjō Beer Co. and Odd Breed Wild Ales to release DDBIL, a special beer to support Alex Kidd. This is unbelievably the tenth installment in this series, with more to come. We can only hope that by highlighting the immense generosity from the Industry through these dedicated releases that we’ve not only inspired others to contribute help, but also motivated people to get checked regularly and learn the importance of monitoring their bodies.
This series has been a humbling experience. Not only have we had the opportunity to cover more participating breweries than we ever thought, but we have also seen endless generosity both in support of these installments and, more importantly, in support of Alex Kidd as he continues to fight for his life. Timber Ales is the next feature in Collaborating for a Cause, and we had the privilege of talking with Owner and Brewer Jason Stein about his iteration of Stay Strong Alex and the impact that Don’t Drink Beer has had on his own journey.
In an ever-changing industry with constantly varying trends, breweries often struggle to figure out how they can stand out. Michigan is a particularly competitive state when it comes to craft beer, and Underbru is a perfect example of some of the unique and exciting products that have been coming out of the Midwest. More specifically it’s a testament to Speciation Artisan Ales as a whole, a brewery rooted in the idea of displaying nature’s creativity and diversity.
Those who have followed Alex Kidd since the beginning know him to be a long-time supporter of Modern Times. His reviews of their products have contributed to the growth of their barrel program and special projects, and the news of his cancer diagnosis back in May really hit the team in a personal place. Less than a month after Alex shared the news on social media, Modern Times had already organized a release in an effort to help cover his hospital expenses. We had the opportunity to work briefly with the Special Projects team at Modern Times to gain more insight on the beer itself and Alex’s impact on their development.
While Mikerphone Brewing out of Chicago is the latest brewery in this series, they were one of the first to take action in support of Alex Kidd and his family following the news of his cancer diagnosis. Just like what we saw most recently with Bob D’Angelo and Esker Hart Artisan Ales, Mikerphone Brewing was founded from a passion for homebrewing. Now, eight years since their first commercial beer, Mikerphone has become a Chicago beer staple and Owners Mike and Lisa Pallen have been fortunate enough to travel the world making and sharing beer. Upon hearing Alex’s devastating news, they knew they wanted to do what they could for him and his family during this unprecedented time. We were able to talk briefly with Mike and discuss a little more about the special single barrel English-style Barleywine released for the man behind the Barleywine is Life movement.
Some may find it hard to believe that eight years have already come and gone for Pulpit Rock Brewing. Having recently showcased their high-gravity program in the Barrel Room Spotlight, it’s no secret that they’ve really honed in on mastering all things big and malty. Pulpit’s 8th Anniversary was celebrated on August 19th and featured live music, food vendors, and eight brand new craft beverages to honor the special occasion. For this showcase, we take a look at their headliner EIGHT, Pulpit Rock’s first Barrel-Aged release of 2023 and one that not only pushed the boundaries of their program, but also looked to support a local Iowa organization.
Weathered Souls Brewing has been around since 2016, and since then has made waves throughout the industry. Most notably in 2020, co-owner and Head Brewer Marcus Baskerville started the Black is Beautiful initiative, a movement with the mission to bring awareness to the injustices that many people of color face daily. This open-ended collaboration has inspired the support of hundreds of breweries across the country, and this year even saw the launch of Volume 2.0 of the Black is Beautiful initiative in honor of the opening of the National Black Brewers Association (NB2A) back in May. Marcus and Weathered Souls also had another exciting ‘first’ in 2023 with their highly sought-after Whale Rider Imperial Stout. July 29th marked the date of the inaugural Whale Rider Day.
The Stay Strong Alex initiative continues this week with a special iteration of Esker Hart Artisan Ale’s Bear series. With his first full-production location slated to open in early 2024, Bob D’Angelo started his brewing journey nine years ago. Early support from Alex served as a huge kick start to what has now become Esker Hart, and in the wake of his unanticipated cancer diagnosis, Bob knew that he wanted to honor and dedicate this second Blend of Bear to him in support of the long road ahead. We had a chance to talk with Bob and learn more about his history with Alex as well as the beer itself and the special raffle that was set up to help raise money for the Kidd family.
In a continually impressive showing of togetherness for a shared cause, Stay Strong Alex and similar initiatives have been raising an incredible amount of money to support Alex Kidd and his family as they navigate the road ahead following his Stage IV cancer diagnosis. This week we look to Pennsylvania and Voodoo Brewing Company. Having just celebrated the 10th anniversary of its original Arch Street Brew Pub last year, these guys are no strangers to the industry. The devastating diagnosis of the satirical beer icon resonated heavily with the team in Meadville, and we had the opportunity to speak briefly with Voodoo CMO Tom Guzick to gain some insight about the most recent release in their famous Barrel Room Collection series dedicated to Alex Kidd.
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.
Craft beer is not the only industry to see a huge boom recently in both production and popularity. As drinkers today are always on the hunt for something new and exciting, the versatility of honeywine has found large appeal with a range of different demographics, and has led to the opening of countless full-production meaderies across the United States. Schramm’s Mead has been a top producer of honeywine for a decade now. They’ve helped to pioneer the continued growth of the style as well as set the benchmark for quality and success. We had the privilege to sit down and talk with Ken Schramm, co-founder and head meadmaker of Schramm’s, to learn more about their roots, program development, and some of the other pivotal factors he has pioneered that have further impacted the sweeping mead revolution that our country is seeing.
Alex Kidd and his family have been incredibly humbled by the support they continue to receive from the Beer Community. With this installment, Collaborating for a Cause is highlighting HOMES Brewery, a small but progressive program out of Ann Arbor, MI. Maybe most famously known in recent years for Smooj, their line of all natural fruited seltzers, they also boast a varied and impressive portfolio of uniquely nuanced traditional beer styles. For their ode to Alex Kidd in support of his fight with cancer, they knew they had to go big. We had the chance to chat briefly with Nick Panchamé, Head Brewer at HOMES, about this recent charitable effort and how Alex was able to inspire the amazing gesture. Enter KIDD BEER.
It’s been long overdue to have another brewery join us in the Spotlight. So without further ado, enter Moksa Brewing Company out of Rocklin, CA. Established in 2017 and opening their doors in 2018, Moksa is another very young brewery that has had a lot of success in a very short period of time. Seeking to showcase beer and brewing as its own unique art form, Moksa has never hesitated to push the boundaries. We had the privilege of chatting with Head Brewer Cory Meyer, focusing on the growth and successes of their barrel program, some of the ins-and-outs of their processes, and their hopes for the future.