A Chilliwack craft brewery hopes you’ll enjoy a few beers this holiday season, and help raise money for the Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund (ADRF).
Field House Brewing Co. in downtown Chilliwack (9251 Woolly Dog Alley #102) is teaming up with Coquitlam’s Mariner Brewing and several other partners to produce and distribute Helping Hands Pilsner. Starting on or around Dec. 18, the beer will be available for purchase at 78-plus retailers from Vancouver to Chilliwack.
Proceeds will go to the ADRF, which was created in response to recent flooding and supports front-line agencies providing essential services to affected families and businesses.
“We value the communities we serve, and we wouldn’t have a business without our customers and community,” said Field House Brewing founder Joshua Vanderheide. “So when they need help, as a local business, we need to be part of supporting them to say thanks for supporting us.
“And we appreciate these other partners from outside of Abby/Chilliwack also wanting to help, and it shows the collaboration and support that our BC brewing industry has for each other during tough times. Coming out of 18-plus months of COVID, it’s been hard on everyone. Supporting each other is how we get through these tough times.”
The idea for Helping Hands Pilsner came from Mariner Brewing, which had a spare brewing tank after a recent expansion. When calamitous flooding devastated the eastern Fraser Valley in mid-to-late November, they decided to use the tank to brew Helping Hands.
“If we could get a good group of people together and come up with a new beer that could be mostly like a charitable donation, we decided that doing something flood-relief focused would be a good option,” said Steve Chamaa, Mariner Brewing’s Business Development Manager.
Chilliwack’s Field House Brewing was one of Chamaa’s first calls, and Vanderheide didn’t hesitate to donate the base malt ingredient for the project. Vancouver’s Hops Connect provided hops.
A traditional pilsner typically takes five or six weeks to brew, but Mariner head brewer (Liam Coulson) and his counterpart at Vancouver’s Main St. Brewing had been experimenting with ways to do it faster using different yeast strains.
On Nov. 26 they got the beer started at Mariner, and Helping Hands Pilsner is scheduled to be ready for packaging this week. Langley’s Blue Meta Measurable Marketing has designed the label for Coquitlam’s Summit Labels to print. Port Coquitlam’s Mile 37 CraftCanning is stepping up to can the beer and Parkside Freemont is handling distribution.
While Chamaa said Helping Hands will taste very much like a traditional pilsner, discerning beer drinkers may pick up on subtle changes.
“You might get a little different flavour from a front-of-palette perspective,” he noted. “It’s not going to be sharper. It’s going to be a little different than your traditional pilsner brand, but it’ll finish the same.”
A donation of $10 from every four-pack sold will be forwarded to the ADRF. The goal is to raise a total of $30,000.
Chamaa said they could have just written a cheque to help, but he believes Helping Hands Pilsner is a more impactful idea.
“Putting a beer on the market that goes to charity provides an option for people who may not have $100 to donate, but do have $20 to buy some beer,” he said. “Knowing that it goes to a good cause might make them feel good and accomplish more for everyone. What you see in the world these days is pretty grim, so to have so many people and companies coming together to restore my faith in humanity is pretty unreal.”