After pausing for two years due to COVID-19, the Hops for Heroes program has returned this summer with American craft brewers offering the special Homefront 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 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 was officially gifted to Soldiers’ Angels to continue the tradition. Unfortunately, due to COVID and the incredible impact the pandemic had on craft breweries, the program was paused in 2020 and 2021.
Buy now it’s back and already 13 American craft breweries have signed on to support the Hops for Heroes campaign which runs Memorial Day through Veterans Day.
Using supplies donated by corporate sponsors and partners, breweries that sign on commit to donating all net proceeds from tap room or packaged beer sales of Homefront IPA™ to Soldiers’ Angels a San Antonio, TX-based founded in 2003 by the family of General George Patton.
Through its global network of tens of thousands of volunteers, Soldiers’ Angel’s provides aid, comfort, and resources to the military, veterans, and their families through a variety of ways— from shipping care packages to deployed service members to providing food assistance to low-income and homeless veterans, and more.
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!
Participating breweries currently include:
1700 Brewing (Newport News, VA)
Alamo Beer Company (San Antonio, TX)
Caledonia Brewing (Dunedin, FL)
Center of the Universe Brewing (Ashland, VA)
Founders Brewing (Grand Rapids / Detroit MI)
Karbach Brewing (Houston, TX)
Kennay Farms Distilling (Rochelle, Il)
Left Hand Brewing (Longmont, CO)
Nine State Brewery (Inverness, FL)
Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, NY)
Roma Restaurant & Brewery (Willernie, MI)
Palm Harbor Brewery (Palm Harbor, FL)
Steady Hand Beer Co. (Atlanta, GA)
“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!”
“We are ecstatic to collaborate on the Hops for Heroes campaign again this year,” said Melissa Miosek, brand director at Brewery Ommegang. “It is extremely rewarding to support such a noble cause, and we are honored to be able to give back to those who have given so much to us.”