American craft breweries are celebrating Memorial Day with the return of the Hops for Heroes program and a special IPA to raise funds and honor service members, veterans, and their families.
Hops for Heroes began in 2011 when Major League Baseball pitcher for the Seattle Mariners, Chris Ray, decided to use his love of craft beer to give back to the military and veteran community. He teamed up with Fremont Brewing Company in Seattle to release a limited edition craft beer in which 100% of the net proceeds would benefit military and veteran charities.
Named “Homefront IPA,” it was sold at Safeco Field, Fremont Brewing Company, and various retail stores in the Seattle Area.
After a significant injury ended Chris Ray’s baseball career, he and his brother Phil opened their own brewery, Center of the Universe Brewing Company in Virginia. The Ray brothers continued the Homefront IPA tradition and turned Hops for Heroes into a national campaign with craft breweries participating from across the country.
Breweries would each create their version of Homefront IPA and then host a release party over Memorial Day weekend to raise funds for military and veteran charities.
In 2018, the campaign, which runs Memorial Day through Veterans Day, was officially gifted to Soldiers’ Angels to continue the tradition.
Soldiers’ Angels is a national nonprofit headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, founded in 2003 by the family of General George Patton. Through its global network of hundreds of thousands of ‘Angel’ volunteers, it fulfills the mission of providing aid, comfort, and resources to the Military, Veterans, and their families in a variety of ways — from shipping care packages to deployed Service Members; to providing food assistance to low-income and homeless veterans, and more.
And now Hop for Heroes campaign is back and already 11 American craft breweries are supporting the program and offering Homefront IPA.
And although all participating breweries are working from the same recipe, each version of the beer will taste slightly different– making this a unique adventure for brewers and craft beer lovers alike!
The full list of partnering breweries includes:
- 1700 Brewing (Newport, Va.)
- Alamo Beer Company (San Antonio, Texas)
- Center of the Universe Brewing Co. (Ashland, Va.)
- Chattabrewchee Southern Brewhouse (Columbus, Ga.)
- Grand Canyon Brewing Co. (Flagstaff, Ariz.)
- Great Chicago Fire Brewery (Leesburg, Fla.)
- Mully’s Brewery (Prince Frederick, Md.)
- Nine State Brewery (Inverness, Fla.)
- Old Sheepdog Brewery (El Paso, Texas)
- Rochester Mills Production Brewery (Auburn Hills, Mich.)
- Two Roots Brewing Co. (Auburn Hills, Mich.)
“Hops for Heroes and Homefront IPA have always been a source of pride at Center of the Universe since we started the program back in 2011,” said founder Chris Ray. “Now, with Soldiers’ Angels at the helm, we are excited to once again produce this amazing beer for an even greater cause!”
(All image credits: Soldiers’ Angels)