Unless you’ve been living under a keg, you know that since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, people worldwide have been protesting how black people in America at treated by our justice system. A brewery in San Antonio, Texas — Weathered Souls Brewing (weatheredsouls.beer) — is helping those efforts.
Co-owner and head brewer Marcus Baskerville is using his platform as a craft brewer to create a beer to spread awareness of racial injustice in America and raise money for social justice causes.
Baskerville, who is black, created an imperial stout called Black is Beautiful, originally intending it to be a single special weekly release at his brewpub. But Jeffrey Stuffings, his good friend and fellow brewer at Jester King, persuaded him to give the beer a broader reach. And last year’s Resilience IPA showed him how that could be done.
You may recall that during the California Wildfires last year, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. created a Resilience IPA and gave out the open source recipe, asking that people donate a portion of the proceeds to wildfire charities. More recently, Brooklyn’s Other Half Brewing Co. created an All Together IPA to benefit the hospitality industry, which was slammed by the effect of COVID 19, which had shuttered breweries, brewpubs, bars and restaurants. They, too, shared the recipe so other breweries could participate.
Now 540 breweries in 14 countries have joined the Black is Beautiful cause.
Baskerville’s beer is a stout, naturally, and an imperial one at that, which seems only appropriate. The recipe calls for Cascade hops and half a dozen malts, although Baskerville says his recipe is “only a guideline” and invites other brewers to tinker with it as they see fit, adjusting it to suit their local water and account for other variables and asking brewers to “please place your own spin and love into this. The sky is the limit as far as creativity.”
There is also a homebrew recipe that can be downloaded and used to brew small batches at home, too. Both collaboration recipes — professional and homebrew — can be downloaded at blackisbeautiful.beer.
Weathered Souls Brewing is asking that breweries that make the beer do three additional things. First, donate 100 percent of the beer’s proceeds to “local foundations that support police brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged.” Second, “choose their own entity to donate to local organizations that support equality and inclusion,” and third, “commit to the long-term work of equality.”
The charity that Weathered Souls picked is the Know Your Rights Camp, the organization founded by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. But every participating brewery is free to choose their own local charity to best suit the needs of their community.
The plan was released at the beginning of June, and 80 breweries signed up on the first day. As of June 11, 540 breweries in 43 states and 14 countries have committed to make their version of Black is Beautiful Stout, with more signing up every day.
Of those, 57 are in California and 16 in the Bay Area. Among them: Almanac Beer Co., Armistice Brewing, Blue Oak, Clandestine, Cooperage, DTSJ Brewing, Fieldwork, Gilman, Humble Sea, Laughing Monk, Loma Brewing, Parliament, S27 Alehouse & Brewery, Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, Speakeasy and Steele and Hops. By the time you read this, that number will be even higher.
So what can you do as a beer lover? This initiative is aimed at spreading awareness and getting as many breweries as possible to collaborate in unison for equality and inclusion. But it’s also to create some delicious beers. Please check the list at https://blackisbeautiful.beer/ and your favorite local brewery’s website for updates on when their version of the beer will be released.
Finally, Weathered Souls suggests, “If your favorite brewery hasn’t yet signed on, shout us out and tag them with the #BlackIsBeautifulBeer hashtag. We appreciate you for supporting our cause and can’t wait for everyone to get a taste of all the variations of Black is Beautiful.”
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Author: Jay R. Brooks, correspondent