Friday, May 20, 2011

Meet the beer that helps veterans

As you may know, I am an Army Veteran.  Not only am I, but so are/were several members of my family and a vast majority of my friends.  My son is named after three of them.

Veterans hold a special place in my heart, and I will back 100% any company that supports them.

Enter 50 Back.  A company that gives 50% of all profits to Military Charities.   In the immortal words of Drill Sgt Jeffrey “Hard Rock” Wilson – Out F###ING STANDING.

Sadly, it appears to be an East Coast beer (from Massachusetts, where I went to AIT) and doesn’t have market penetration in the Midwest yet….or else I would be reviewing it. 

That being said, I know there are a lot of you in this area….so get out and pick up a 6er or two.  Drink one on Memorial Day and think of veterans past and present.  Enjoy and remember the day…and while you are at it…help our brothers in the Army, Airforce, Navy and Marines.

Great Job 50 Back…..Keep up the great work.

Drink a beer, help a veteran

Who'd ever think you could do a good deed by drinking beer?

beer%20004-thumb-400x300-42056Paige Haley and Kimberly Rogers of Pepperell, who grew up in military families, created 50 Back American Lager for that very purpose. Every time they sell a beer, they give half of the profits to groups supporting veterans, active service members, and their families.

So far the women say they have donated more than $6,000 in cash to charity, plus $4,000 in beer donations for fund-raising events. The nonprofits they've supported include the USO, Homes for Our Troops, the Ahern Family Charitable Foundation, the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund, and America's VetDogs.

"Our priority is really just to say 'thank you' to our troops and veterans for their service," Rogers said. "When my father passed away, I wanted to do something in his honor to say 'thank you' for his life of service. [Haley] said, 'Well, why don't we do a beer.' I said, 'Hmm, beer, all right. That's an interesting thought.'"

The beer, which launched last Memorial Day and is nicknamed "The Brew of the Brave," is about to mark its first anniversary. Six-packs retail for $7.99, and the beer is available in 250 stores and restaurants in Massachusetts, mostly in the eastern and central parts of the state. The women are trying to expand distribution to the rest of New England, and they recently go 50 Back into the Harris Teeter supermarket chain in North Carolina.

How is the beer itself? Contract-brewed by Olde Saratoga Brewing Co. in New York, 50 Back is a decent pale lager. Golden straw in color, well carbonated, and 4.9 percent alcohol, it's similar to other pale lagers out there -- Moosehead, Michelob, and the like. It's a fine poolside beer, and certainly a step above the corn-fed drek churned out by the big corporations.

"We didn't want to start out with anything too exotic, bitter, hoppy, whatever," she said. "And yet we didn't want something so completely light that it didn't have any taste. We tried to hit in the middle -- trying to attract the broadest spectrum of beer drinkers that we could in the beginning. We get various comments -- that it's way too heavy, 'You should do a light,' to, 'This has no taste at all. Are you thinking of doing a porter, a stout?'" In fact, Rogers said, they may try an IPA or an Oktoberfest-style beer next.

So here's the thing: If you're going to pick up a case of basic beer for a backyard barbecue, you may as well bypass the Bud and give 50 Back a shot -- and do some good while you're feeling good.

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