Gimmicks have become an integral part of the modern craft beer landscape, with everything from beer made from yeast culled from a brewer’s beer to ingredients shot into the upper atmosphere and then retrieved, to beer made from recycled music festival urine. And beyond the headline-grabbing elements, most forays into the unusual typically all come down to one thing: does the beer actually taste good?
We’ll reserve that judgement to a case-by-case basis (and are happy to take volunteers to try that recycled pee beer). And hey, brewers are a quirky bunch—gimmicks are part of the game, and most brewers embrace their weirdness. But they’re also tapping into their altruistic impulses as well, using high-quality craft beer to support worthy causes, from environmental causes to medical issues to measured responses to the Trump administration’s new initiatives.
Here are a handful of beers that were crafted with the hopes of giving back to the community that has supported them for so long. Bonus: they also taste really freakin’ good.
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The Larimer La Resistance Sour Ale
A gose-style ale brewed with coriander and pink Himalayan salt, benefiting Planned Parenthood foundations in the Rocky Mountains.
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Atlas Brew Works and DC Brau Rally Cry IPA
A session IPA brewed with two DC brewers and REI to raise money for the Capital Trails Coalition, which is bringing a massive network of multi-use trails to the region.
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Shmaltz Brewing and Terrapin Bear Co. Reunion Ale '16
Brewed in honor of a dear friend of the brewery, sales of the dark ale—brewed with chocolate, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, and Mexican chili pepper—raise funds for the Institute of Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research.
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Russian River Brewing Co. Framboise for a Cure
Another coveted limited release from Russian River, the blond ale has been aged in Chardonnay barrels with bret, lecto, and pedio with 31 pounds of raspberries, with 100% of proceeds benefiting Sutter Breast Care Services of Santa Rosa. Released only during Cancer Awareness Month each October.
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An easy-drinking hefeweizen crafted to help raise awareness of the Waterkeepers Alliance, a global movement focused on citizen advocacy to prevent pollution and its impacts on the world's waterways.
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Three Weavers Magnificent Voices
Brewed on International Woman's Day, sales of this medium-ABV gose benefits the Pink Boots Society, dedicated to helping support women interested in becoming professionals in the beer industry.
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Flying Dog Brewery Dead Rise
Made with Maryland's Old Bay spice blend, this seasonal release (May-September) carries hints of citrus with a crisp tart finish, with proceeds benefiting True Blue, an advocacy for the Chesapeake Bay's 5,500 watermen.
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The Bruery Share This: O.C.
The latest in the annual Share This series, the O.C. is an imperial stout with orange zest, cacao nibs, and vanilla beans, boasting a share-friendly 11% ABV. One dollar is donated to Food Forward for every bottle sold to help recover and share fresh fruits and vegs that would normally go to waste.
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Released by New Orleans-based brewery, proceeds of this pilsner benefits Save Our Shores, a charitable organization founded by Abita in partnership with the Coalition to Restore Coast Louisiana in the wake of Katrina.