If you’re a regular craft beer drinker, there may be some times when you feel a bit guilty. Maybe you feel guilty over the increase in calories that you gladly accept as a down payment for a ticket to Flavortown. Maybe you feel guilty about all of your friends who don’t live in the distribution area for your favorite brewery, and they heap it on you every time you post a beer picture on Instagram. Whatever your reason may be, nothing that’s as good as a high-quality brew can come without a little tinge of guilt.
Fortunately, plenty of breweries offer you a chance for absolution from your guilty ways by donating a piece of their pie to charity. Here are 11 beers that you can drink guilt-free, knowing that a portion of the proceeds are doing a little bit of good in this world. Sit back, relax, and pop a cold one. After all, it’s for charity!
Brewery: Golden Road?
City: Los Angeles, Calif.?
Availability: Summer seasonal (May – July)
With the amount of water that goes into brewing beer, it’s no surprise that several charity beers raise money for cleaning up watershed areas. Golden Road’s Heal the Bay IPA is a partnership with Heal the Bay, an organization dedicated to cleaning up Southern California’s coastal rivers, shores and bays. As a bonus, this hoppy IPA comes in a can, so you can drink it at your favorite beach with the knowledge that you’re doing your delicious part to help keep the water clean.
Brewery: Abita Brewing Company?
City: Abita Springs, La.?
In case you’ve been doing missionary work in a country without television for the last 10 years, the Gulf Coast has had a tough run of it. After natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, humanity did its part to muck things up even further with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Save Our Shore is Abita Brewing Company’s way to help clean things up. For every bottle of this unfiltered pilsner sold, Abita donates 75 cents to different organizations that keep the Gulf Coast clean.
Brewery: Rogue Ales?
City: Ashland, Ore. ?
If you’re a fan of Discovery Channel’s hit show Deadliest Catch, you know that Fishing Vessel Northwestern’s Captain Sig Hansen is a hard-nosed taskmaster who won’t take excuses from anyone. While the grizzled seaman can be hard on his crew, he does have a soft spot in his heart for charity. For every bottle of Northwestern Ale sold, Rogue Ales donates a portion of proceeds to the Fisherman’s Fund, which helps pay for medical care for injured Alaskan fishermen.
Brewery: Flying Dog?
City: Frederick, Md. ?
Availability: Summer Seasonal (May – September)
The Civil War may have ended almost 150 years ago, but that doesn’t mean that Maryland is no longer a divided state. Today’s division falls along sports lines with Ravens and Orioles fans occupying the north while Redskins and Nationals fans hold court around the nation’s capital. The one thing that all Marylanders agree on is that Old Bay seasoning is one of the most delicious things on the planet, and it’s suitable to put on anything.
With the state’s fanatical devotion to Old Bay, it was only a matter of time before a brewery took Maryland’s favorite spice blend and threw it into a brew kettle. Dead Rise from Flying Dog Brewery is a delightful summer seasonal that’s the perfect accompaniment to crab cakes or steamed blue crabs. Proceeds from Dead Rise go to True Blue, a program that helps support Maryland’s watermen by encouraging restaurants to serve only sustainably-harvested Maryland blue crab meat.
Brewery: SweetWater Brewing Company?
City: Atlanta, Ga.?
Our final entry in the water-related portion of the list is an unfiltered hefeweizen that raises money for Chattahoochee Riverkeeper as a part of SweetWater Brewing Company’s “Save the Hooch” campaign. This isn’t a fleeting cause célèbre for SweetWater brewing, as their partnership with Chattahoochee Riverkeeper dates back almost a decade. This partnership is in the best interest of the brewery, as the Chattahoochee River is a major source of drinking -and brewing—water for millions of people in the Southeastern United States.
Brewery: Russian River Brewing Company
City: Santa Rosa, Calif. ?
You’d be hard pressed to find a charity that invokes a more emotional response than breast cancer research. No matter what walk you take in life, everyone has a woman in their life, be it their wife, mother, sister, daughter or friend.
With that in mind, Russian River times their annual release of Framboise for a Cure for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. Russian River takes Temptation, their barrel-aged sour blonde ale, and ages it with 30 pounds of raspberries per barrel. All of the profits from Framboise For A Cure help to fund the Sutter Breast Care Center of Santa Rosa.
Brewery: North Coast Brewing Company
City: Fort Bragg, Calif. ?
North Coast’s Belgian-style abbey ale is certain to make music in your mouth, thanks to bold Belgian flavors and a strong 9.4% ABV. If the flavor wasn’t enough of a reason to drink it, sales of Brother Thelonius help to ensure that there will always be music for your ears as well. With jazz legend Thelonius Monk as its namesake, this beer helps keep the one truly American art form alive by helping to fund the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz.
Brewery: Allagash Brewing Company
City: Portland, Maine?
While it’s awfully cool for a brewery to have a single beer that generates money for charity, Allagash Brewing Company takes philanthropy to the next level by raising charitable funds with an entire series of beers. Victoria, Victor, Hugh Malone, Prince Tuesday and Fluxus raise money for a bevy of charities with causes ranging from pediatric nursing scholarships to organic farming education. If all of the charity brews weren’t enough, Allagash’s environmental initiatives combine to make them one the most socially conscious breweries in the United States.
Brewery: Various. See Hops for Heroes for more information?
Availability: Every year for Memorial Day
The first of two multi-brewery collaborative efforts on our list is Hops for Heroes. Every year, breweries from all corners of the country partner up with Major League Baseball to brew Homefront IPA. Each brewery follows the same recipe, and players from local baseball teams help with the brewing. Just to solidify Major League Baseball’s involvement, the beers ferment in tanks with untreated maple baseball bats from Louisville Slugger. Proceeds from Homefront IPA support Operation Homefront, an organization that provides support to families of soldiers and other wounded warriors.
Brewery: Various. See the list and release schedule at Ales for ALS
Ales for ALS uses a completely different formula when it comes to multi-brewery collaboration. Instead of following the same recipe, participating brewers use the same proprietary hop blend, and create their own unique beers. Ales for ALS provides the hop blend free-of-charge, the only caveat is that proceeds from beer sales are donated to the ALS Therapy Development Institute, which works to end the disease most commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
City: Minneapolis, Minn.
Forget a single beer for charity. Heck, forget a series of beers for charity. Finnegans spikes the charitable football by solely existing to raise money to help hungry people. It doesn’t matter if you purchase their beer in a bar or a restaurant, 100% of the profits go to provide food for local food banks. Sure, they only have two styles of beer right now, but they also run a reverse food truck that acts as a mobile food drive location. Thanks a lot Finnegans, you’re making the rest of us look bad.