Whether or not you're drinking a fridge-full of beer every couple days during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may want to pick up a six pack of an upcoming Saint Arnold beer, since its proceeds are going toward folks needing a lift right now.
Gratuity, which will be released in a few weeks, is a 6 percent ABV pale ale whose profits will go completely to Houston Shift Meal, which is providing meals to hospitality workers out of work because of coronavirus.
The story of the beer goes back to conversations with Yakima Chief Hops of Washington. The hop grower sent Saint Arnold a new varietal called HBC-630, which was to be used in a beer brewed for the Craft Brewers Conference, scheduled to be held this April in San Antonio. That conference was reimagined into an online event before any beer was produced, so Saint Arnold pivoted.
"We reached out to YCH and asked if they'd be okay with us using the donated hops for a beer to benefit industry workers," says Aaron Inkrott, innovation manager at Saint Arnold. "They didn't hesitate and agreed immediately."
Saint Arnold also acquired some malt from Country Malt Group to make the beer, which was cooked with HBC-630, then dry-hopped with the same hops (meaning hops were added during fermentation, primarily to bring out aroma). "We really wanted to focus on brewing a beer that makes that hop shine," Inkrott says.
This won't be the first time Saint Arnold has worked with Houston Shift Meal, which was formed in March, just after bars were ordered to close entirely, and restaurants were ordered to end dine-in service temporarily. Through HSF, restaurants create and donate meals that are picked up by hospitality workers who were put out of work because of the pandemic, and the brewery has been donating beer for those meals. Inkrott calls this move "the next step in the partnership."
The funds for Gratuity will be used by Houston Shift Meal to make and distribute more meals for those out of work.
"We couldn't be more thrilled that Texas' oldest craft brewery has chosen our organization to help us raise funds, proving once again their longstanding commitment to supporting community initiatives in Houston," says Jonathan Beitler, co-founder of Houston Shift Meal. "We look forward to everyone enjoying a cold Gratuity and toasting to a great cause."
Gratuity will be available in cans at Saint Arnold's Beer Garden & Restaurant, plus at select bars and restaurants starting June 2.