In the decades he has been part of San Diego’s beer community, Tom Nickel has brewed a great many beers. A former World Beer Cup champion brewer and current owner and brewmaster at Julian’s Nickel Beer Co. , he has tackled everything from adjunct lagers to barley wines, earning much acclaim in the process. Yet, the beer he recently debuted may end up being the most significant of all.
It goes by the name of Warrior Contribution Beer and supports locals living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) via the non-profit Inner North Star PTSD Retreat Center. Brewed to be palatable to a broad cross-section of people, it is a 5% alcohol-by-volume blonde ale that will be available year-round, with an emphasis on American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts that have draft setups.
“Getting the word out about the PTSD Retreat Center and letting people know how to donate is a huge part of the plan with launching this beer,” says Nickel. “With the proceeds from the beer being donated to North Star, it will serve as a reliable source of income to provide no-cost retreats to veterans and first responders suffering from PTSD.”
In order to produce the amount of beer necessary for the charity campaign, Nickel has entered into a brewing agreement with Bay Ho’s Bitter Brothers Brewing. There was purpose behind the partnership. Bitter Brothers owner Bill Warnke is a four-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. The beer will be packaged in five- and 15-gallon draft kegs, with 16-ounce cans planned for the end of the year. Bitter Brothers’ distributor, Karl Strauss Distribution, will get the draft product to local accounts.
“The plan is to hold special events throughout the year to help raise money and awareness, especially around veteran-themed holidays and, of course, National PTSD Awareness Month in June,” says Nickel. Assisting in the informational component of the campaign are coasters featuring the Warrior Contribution logo on one side and information about the Inner North Star PTSD Retreat Center on the other.
The beer will be on tap all month at Nickel’s Kearny Mesa beer bar, O’Brien’s Pub, as well as Hamilton’s Tavern in South Park. It will also be poured at the San Diego International Beer Festival, June 14-16 at the San Diego County Fair. Last month, the beer won a bronze medal at the festival’s competition component in the Golden or Blonde Beer category. Other special events will take place at The Cooler in Julian on June 7, Balboa’s Tap House in Clairemont on June 21, East Village’s Melvin Brewing on June 28 and Second Chance Beer Co. on June 29.
The Inner North Star PTSD Retreat Center is located at 1785 CA-78, #2378 in Julian. For more information on the organization and its efforts to combat PTSD, consult its official website.