The craft beer industry has a diversity problem, which should be obvious to anyone who has ever seen the overwhelming amount of burly bearded white dudes (full disclosure: I am one of those dudes) roaming tap rooms or spraying down tanks in the brewery. In recent years, there has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the lack of people of color and women both as craft beer consumers and in roles such as brewers and owners. Groups like the Pink Boots Society have worked to amplify women in the industry, while bloggers and journalists like the Real Ale Sharpton have long been drawing attention to Black-owned breweries, but all craft beer lovers can agree that there is still much to be done to make the industry more appealing to a more diverse group of people.
Race inequality and specifically police injustice against African-Americans have always been systemic issues in this country, but the recent death of George Floyd (and a myriad of others) at the hands of police and the subsequent protests around the world have placed a long overdue focus on them. Many businesses have also been looking inwards, asking themselves difficult questions about the role they play in a country plagued by systemic racism. There is no denying that many changes need to happen across a swath of industries, but one of the most immediate ways to affect change is to put your money where your mouth is and generate awareness to the work of groups like Black Lives Matter, NAACP, and numerous local non-profits fighting for justice.
If there is one thing the craft beer industry accells at, it’s raising money for a good cause. Breweries have been brewing beers for charitable causes and holding benefits for years now, and drinkers love coming together to enjoy beers as a way of giving back. Most recently, the idea of the charity beer has been taken to a new level with Sierra Nevada’s Resilience and Other Half’s All Together, which created a general beer recipe for any brewery interested in participating. Both of these campaigns saw hundreds of breweries donating the proceeds of the beer to wildfire relief and hospitality workers affected by COVID-19. San Antonio’s Weathered Souls Brewing Co. decided to take this same approach with Black is Beautiful, which they describe as “a collaborative effort amongst the brewing community and its customers, in an attempt to bring awareness to the injustices that many people of color face daily.” Response to the collaboration has been huge, with hundreds of breweries across the U.S. stepping up to brew an imperial stout recipe provided by Weathered Souls and donating the proceeds of its sales to various racial justice organizations. Oregon in particular has stepped up with more than thirty breweries around the state brewing the Black is Beautiful beer. Each brewery is free to tweak the recipe, and while some have opted to take a straightforward approach with a basic imperial stout, many are getting creative.
We reached out to every Oregon brewery participating in the Black is Beautiful collaboration to find out what they are brewing, how you can find their beer, where they are donating to, and what this movement means. As of now 32 Oregon breweries/Cidermakers are collaborating on BiB beers (the 8th most BiB beers of any state) but we are still waiting on information about five of them.
10 Barrel Brewing Co. (Bend and Portland)
Description: We took the base stout used to make our pub favorite Glen Coco Coconut Stout and let its chocolate-y profile shine on its own! Pale chocolate malt, de-bittered black malt and loads of flaked barley make this stout silky smooth and ultra chocolate-y. 6.2% ABV
Where and when it will be available: Draft at all 10 Barrel Brew Pubs starting July 8th.
Proceeds donated to: Equal Justice Initiative.
Brewery statement: 10 Barrel is excited to participate in this collaboration at our Oregon pubs as well as out of state pubs. We are proud to support the important work of the Equal Justice Initiative – an organization working to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment and racial inequality.
Ale Apothecary / Deschutes Brewery (Bend)
Ale Apothecary has collaborated with Deschutes Brewery and Oregon Spirit Distillers on their Black is Beautiful Beer.
Ale Apothecary’s description: Imperial Stout brewed with molasses and licorice, about 11% ABV aged in Oregon Spirit bourbon barrels. Primary fermentation in oak, a fresh wine puncheon as well as in smaller barrels previously used for aging Apothecary beer. After primary fermentation, the beer will be aged in the OSD barrels until ready for bottling.
Deschutes Brewery added: one of our core values is that we are crafted for community. We are honored to stand in solidarity with Black owned breweries like Weathered Souls against racism and injustice. They have shown great leadership with this incredible movement and inspire us to look into our own businesses and communities to make positive change, to ensure we are a welcoming to all people.
Availability: The beer will be available in 500ml bottles in the state of Oregon. Release date is still unknown as the beer will be fermented with a combination of yeasts, some commercial strains along with The Ale Apothecary’s house culture. The beer will also be bottle fermented, which will add time. It may be a year! Maybe shorter. This is all fine since this movement needs to continue well into the future.
Brewery statement: I feel very strongly that the opportunity to start my own business and create the life that I want to live should be something available to all Americans. Since it’s not, I’m doing what little I can to change this.
BDSM Brewing Company (Hillsboro)
Description: This tropical stout is a historically accurate yet original Caribbean recipe with a floral nose, sweetly smooth roast profile and heavy tropical fruit presence. Despite the preconceptions around the style, this stout is delightfully refreshing and easy to drink. ABV 6.5 %
Availability: On tap and in cans at BDSM’s taproom in Hillsboro, Oregon, and limited distribution to local bars and bottle shops.
Statement from the brewery: By working with Black PDX we will be helping to fund multiple charities and organizations supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
In our brewery and in our lives we believe that black lives matter. My husband and I own this brewery and our statement is as follows:
We have a biracial family and we built this brewery with a diverse team of people who are now our chosen family. We’ve always valued Black Lives and continue to believe in and work to elevate the beauty, strength, innovation and love that Black Lives bring to ALL of us; even to those who don’t recognize that. Our family believes that Black Lives strengthen and enrich the lives around them and we are committed to working to ensure full equality and equity for all Black Lives!
Boneyard Beer (Bend)
Description: Following the Weathered Souls imperial stout recipe.
Availability: TBD, brewed in September for October release and complete the project sales before the new year. Likely draft-only but there is a possibility of cans.
Proceeds donated to: TBD but 100% in Oregon
Brewery statement: Participation is key and we have a good platform to participate from. Putting the brand to work for reasons other than our main interest feels amazing.
Breakside Brewery (Portland/Milwaukie)
Description: Breakside is making two BiB beers. One will be brewed at the NE Dekum brewpub and will be a draft only Export stout brewed with piloncillo sugar. 7% ABV and 40 IBU. The other will be a blended can release of barrel-aged stouts from the Milwaukie production facility. Both beers are being spearheaded by Breakside production brewer Terence Hofstad who is working with the rest of the innovation and branding team on development.
Availability: Dekum BiB > Draft only, available at the DKM pub and Breakside MKE taproom. Milwaukie BiB > Cans and draft. Available as 16 oz 4 packs or singles to go.
Proceeds donated to: The Okra Project will be one of the main beneficiaries. Breakside is also looking to donate to 1-2 additional Oregon-based charities. Those additional recipients have not been finalized.
Brewery statement: We’re very excited to join the list of breweries who are participating in this project. It’s a powerful way for us to use our platform to raise money and awareness for organizations dedicated to social justice and inclusion.
Cascade Brewing (Portland)
Description: Imperial Stout with Coconut, Cardamom and Vanilla. 10.5% ABV , 47 IBU
Availability: July 24th at Cascade Brewing Barrel House, The Lodge at Cascade Brewing, Fly Boy Lake Oswego and Tigard, and additional craft beer Portland Metro area retailers.
Brewery statement: Cascade Brewing is proud to participate in and support the Black is Beautiful initiative, brought forward by Weathered Souls Brewing, to bridge the gap that’s been around for ages and provide a platform to show that the brewing community is an inclusive place for everyone of any color.
Claim 52 Brewing (Eugene)
Description: Imperial Stout conditioned on a coffee beans from Farmers Union Coffee in Eugene. 10% ABV
Availability: Release is slated for Tuesday July 7. Available at Claim 52 Kitchen and select Portland accounts with both draft and 16oz cans.
Proceeds donated to: Know Your Rights Camp and the Eugene chapter of the NAACP
Brewery statement: We opened our brewery with the goal to create a welcoming place for all community members, but we all need go beyond good intentions. This collaboration Is a way for us to demonstrate commitment to racial equality, provide financial support to the good and necessary work others are doing to bring about positive change and engage our customers in this movement.
Crux Fermentation Project (Bend)
Description: Crux is steering their BiB collab into a hoppy, dark, and delicious Black IPA with Bravo, Cascade (donated by Crosby Hop Farm), Citra, Simcoe, and Centennial hops. ABV 6.3%
Availability: Crux Tasting Room and online around July 16th in 16oz cans and draft.
Proceeds donated to: NAACP Portland Chapter
Brewery statement: We’re honored to join 900+ breweries from around the world in this collaborative effort and believe strongly in its mission of raising awareness and eradicating racism in all of its forms.
Ecliptic Brewing (Portland)
Description: Black is Beautiful Stout is brewed in the Export style with Dark Chocolate Malt and Roast Barley, boasting a full roast flavor, complimenting subtle notes of coffee and chocolate. Finishing clean and dry, this beer clocks in at 6%, making it an easy drinker, even in the heat of summer.
Availability: Draft-only at the Ecliptic pub and in very limited distribution throughout Portland, OR and Seattle WA, beginning July 31, 2020.
Proceeds to benefit:Black Resilience Fund and Don’t Shoot PDX. Ecliptic will also donate 10% of their restaurant sales – split between both organizations- at the beer’s launch event on Friday, July 31st.
Brewery statement: Ecliptic Brewing is proud to stand with Weathered Souls Brewing in supporting efforts to raise awareness for racial injustice.
Ferment Brewing (Hood River)
Description: Ferment made an Imperial Coffee Stout coming in at 10% abv. It will be rich and complex, loaded with caramel notes and deep roasted malt with the added zing and brightness of a cold steep with Nossa Familia Mathilde’s Roast.
Availability: 16oz. cans will be available primarily from their take-out window at the brewery and local bottle shops in the Portland and Hood River areas in mid-August.
Proceeds donated to: Ferment will donate 100% of the proceeds of this brew to the Urban League of Portland to support their admirable efforts empowering African-Americans and others to achieve equality in education, employment, health, economic security and quality of life.
Brewery Statement: In this important time in history, it is our responsibility to stand up for equality, be actively anti- racist and help to continue this movement until true change is made. We are grateful to be able to express our love and support for the the Black Lives Matter cause through this beer.
Fort George Brewery / Buoy Beer (Astoria)
Description: A silky smooth oatmeal stout with rich chocolate and coffee roast. Columbia River Coffee Roasters provided the Ethiopian and Guatemalan beans after multiple tastings with the Fort George and Buoy teams. The brewers were looking for a coffee that would add some fruity notes, but also a good classic coffee aroma.
Availability: The base beer releases on the coast on the 4th of July and possibly some limited distribution in Portland the following week. About 60% of a 30bbl batch will be packaged into 16oz cans with the remaining aged in a mix of whiskey barrels from Pilot House Distilling and Adrift Distillers. The barrel aged version will come out in 500ml bottles for Stout Month/Black History Month 2021, aka February.
Proceeds donated to: Black Resilience Fund of Portland. Fort George is also matching employee donations to the cause of their choice.
Brewery statement: We joined up with our friends from Buoy Beer, Columbia River Coffee Roasters, Adrift Distillers and Pilot House Distillery as a unified front to let people know that Astoria and the North Coast/SW Washington Coast believes that Black Lives Matter. We all want to make sure that everyone feels comfortable when choosing to vacation or make a home here.
Gigantic Brewing Co. (Portland)
Description: Brewed in solidarity and as closely as they could to Weathered Souls original recipe. Imperial stout. 8.7% ABV
Availability: released July 17th at the Gigantic BrewingTaproom. The following week it will be available at better beer stores throughout the Portland area, including New Seasons and Whole Foods. Packaged in 16.9oz bottles (OBRC refillable bottles)
Proceeds donated to: Urban League of Portland and the Black Resilience Fund.
Brewery Statement: We need to listen more, empathize more, understand more and vote more. Thank you to Weathered Souls for doing something good in this world, and for giving us a platform to join with you.
Great Notion Brewing (Portland)
Description: Imperial Stout brewed close to Weathered Souls recipe but with heaps of chocolate and marshmallow added. 11% ABV.
Availability: 16oz cans on sale via the Great Notion app now
Proceeds donated to: Black Resilience Fund
Brewery statement: We were super excited one of our customers tagged us in an early Weathered Souls post about Black is Beautiful! We immediately jumped on the beer to fight racial injustice!
Hop Valley Brewing Company (Springfield)
Description: For Hop Valley’s interpretation of the Black is Beautiful Stout, HV chose one of its favorite malt houses and their equivalents of Crystal, Black and chocolate malts. To include some love from its home state – HV subbed out Dextrose for Oregon-produced Meadowfoam honey, which provides additional fermentable sugars and a “marshmallow fluff” to complement the dark malts. A slight bitterness to counter sweetness, and balance to boot! 7% ABV, brewed with local Oregon Meadowfoam Honey.
Availability: Released on July 23rd on draft and in crowler fills to-go at both Hop Valley locations in the Eugene/Springfield area.
Proceeds donated to: ACLU of Oregon
Leikam Brewing (Portland)
Description: Leikam is brewing a Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA or Black IPA) that is still true to the original Imperial Stout recipe from Weathered Souls Brewing. The recipe will highlight the Cascade and Columbus hop varieties. 6.8% ABV
Availability: Released in mid to late August for draft, cans and pre-orders at www.leikambrewing.com for home delivery. Crowlers to-go and possibly 6-packs coming.
Proceeds donated to: Oregon Justice Resource Center whose mission is to promote civil rights and improve legal representation for communities that have often been underserved.
Brewery statement: Leikam Brewing is committed to giving back and the principle of tikkun olam or repairing the world. A portion of the profits from all our beers support nonprofit organizations we are committed to. We have been supporting the Oregon Justice Resource Center and their work for some time and strongly believe in the need for our criminal justice system to be reformed. Also, in case anyone was in doubt of where our company stands, we believe Black Lives Matter.
Level Beer (Portland)
Description: Imperial Stout. 12% ABV
Availability: On tap now at both of our locations until it’s gone, draft-only.
Proceeds donated to: NAACP
Little Beast Brewing (Portland)
Description: Black Is Beautiful (Cookies & Cream Imperial Stout) – This beer contains Ecuadorian cacao nibs (fudgy in character), vanilla beans, and lactose (milk sugar). Based on an old beer style, Milk Stout, lactose is added to the beer to give it sweetness. 10% ABV
Availability: This beer is being canned July 6th and will be available that week for local delivery, at our taproom, and through New Seasons. Very limited batch; only 80 cases available of cans and draft at the Little Beast beer garden only.
Brewery statement: Our team believes without a doubt that equal rights are non-negotiable. We’re grateful to Weathered Souls Brewing for providing a creative platform that we can use to show that the brewing industry is an inclusive place for everyone regardless of their race or background.
Migration Brewing (Portland)
Description: American style imperial stout brewed with a combination of Roasted Barley, Crystal malts, and Rolled Oats. Black is Beautiful pours a midnight black color with a thick tan head and has distinct notes of coffee, roast and dark English toffee. Coming in at 8% ABV, this bold imperial stout shines and should be enjoyed by the pint.
Availability: Released on or around July 17th Release; available at Migration’s NE Glisan and Gresham pubs on draft and in 6-packs.
Proceeds donated to: TBD
Brewery statement: As a company, we are very passionate and dedicated to giving back to our community. What better way to do that than participating in an industry initiative bringing awareness to daily injustices of people of color. It is incredible that this effort is spanning world-wide, and it is an honor to be a part of that.
Moonshrimp Brewing (Portland)
Description: Moonshrimp Brewing’s version of Black Is Beautiful is a gluten-free coffee porter coming in at 6% ABV with a deep color and strong coffee flavor derived from Nossa Familia coffee. Brewed with Augusta’s Organic Breakfast roast from Nossa Familia, a Portland-based company and Oregon’s first Certified B Corporation coffee roaster.
Availability: 500ml bottles available exclusively from Moonshrimp’s beer window in SW Portland starting in mid to late July.
Proceeds donated to: Don’t Shoot PDX, a local nonprofit 501c3 known as a civil rights agency for social change. In addition to their continual community support and policy advocacy, Don’t Shoot PDX is a driving force in the legal battles addressing the use of tear gas and excessive force by the police against protesters in Portland in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, as well as the continued over policing of local BIPOC communities.
Brewery statement: Black lives matter. Today. Yesterday. Tomorrow. Always. As a society we must find new and better ways to address the systemic inequity and racism built into the fabric of our culture. The Black Is Beautiful campaign is an important statement of support on the part of the brewing community and Moonshrimp Brewing is proud to be a part of it.
Pelican Brewing (Cannon Beach)
Description: Pelican’s BiB stout stays pretty true to the basic concept outlined by Weathered Souls – a 10% ABV Imperial Stout with a few edits to the recipe to achieve a true American style Imperial Stout.
Availability: Brewed last month at Pelican’s Cannon Beach brewpub, the first 10bbl batch will be draft-only and available primarily at their brewpubs. Next, a 30bbl batch is scheduled for Pelican’s Tillamook production facility and that brew will go primarily into 22oz bottles and be available in multiple locations.
Proceeds donated to: United Black Fund of Oregon and Campaign Zero.
Brewery statement: The biggest thing about this project, however, is that the collaboration beer is really only the visible tip of the iceberg. It is the first step in our commitment to create meaningful change in our company, our community and our industry.
Rogue Ales (Newport)
Description: Rogue’s version of BiB will be a Black Lager with a mellow combination of roast coffee, caramel and chocolate. There will be a hint of tropical fruitiness from the hops to compliment the chocolate notes. A good balance of lager drinkability and big flavors from the roast malts. 5% ABV
Availability: Released on or around July 17th in 16oz cans available at Rogue pubs, grocery stores, bottle shops or for purchase online at buy.rogue.com.
Proceeds donated to: NAACP Portland Branch
Brewery statement: As Rogues, we do not accept that people should be treated differently due to their race, gender, sexuality, or age, and refuse to sit idly by and do nothing. Coming together with the entire brewing community to join the Black is Beautiful initiative is a great way to live up to our values, amplify voices, and raise money for this fight for equality. – Dharma Tamm, Rogue President
Sasquatch Brewing Co. (Portland)
Description: Based on Weathered Souls recipe but with a smaller grain bill for a lower 6% ABV and served on nitro so it’s a smoother easier drinker for the summer.
Availability: Nitro cans are now available at Sasquatch Brewing and available for home delivery or pick-up.
Proceeds donated to: Black Resilience Fund
Brewery statement: No more statements from white-owned businesses like ours. Less talk – more action.
Stormbreaker Brewing (Portland)
Description: Stormbreaker is collaborating on their BiB beer with the BIPOC owned NE Portland pastry business called DB Desserts. Stormbreaker and DB Desserts owner Damala Badon settled on an Imperial Pastry Stout modeled after DB’s Strawberry Ganache and golden Oreo cupcakes. 10.1% Strawberry Ganache and Golden Oreo Cupcake Stout.
Availability: Brewed on July 6th. It will be available on July 22nd in the pub on draft and in 16oz cans shortly thereafter.
Proceeds donated to: split between the Black Resilience Fund, Don’t Shoot PDX, and SEI (Self Enhancement, Inc).
Brewery statement: This initiative, started by Marcus of Weathered Souls Brewing, is a perfect channel for us to contribute, in our own way, to raise awareness and funds to this Important cause. Every little bit helps and we’re proud to be a part of it.
Threshold Brewing & Blending (Portland)
Description: Imperial Stout conditioned on vanilla beans, cocoa, cinnamon and guajillo peppers. 9.5% ABV.
Availability: On draft and in 16 oz cans available at the Threshold taproom in Montavilla beginning mid-August.
Proceeds donated to: the Urban League of Portland, one of Oregon’s oldest and most powerful advocacy groups empowering Black communities and equality.
Brewery statement: Addressing and dismantling racial and societal inequality at its very roots has never felt more possible than at this time. Thank you to Weathered Souls for instigating this meaningful project and providing us and our industry a real way to support change.
Three Mugs Brewing Company (Hillsboro)
Description: Full bodied stout with intense, but balanced chocolate and roasted malts. Goes down deceptively smooth for 10%. So, drink up and support a worthy cause!
Availability: 16oz cans and limited draft from Three Mugs Brewing Co. taproom and others in the Portland metro area starting on July 10th.
Proceeds donated to: Color Of Change and YEP (Youth Educating Police)
Brewery statement: Like many of those in our industry, we have taken up the call from Weathered Souls Brewing Co. for help during these troubling times. We are a veteran owned and operated business, and have served side by side with people of all colors and backgrounds with pride. We may not wear uniforms anymore, but we still have your back no matter what. There is no place for Hate, Bigotry, Prejudice, or Racism in this world.
Unicorn Brewing (Portland)
Description: based on Weathered Souls original recipe but designed to showcase a broad spectrum of flavors from a wide range of dark malts. Instead of using roasted barley, Unicorn Brewing used dark crystal, black malt, chocolate malt and even a little chocolate rye. Both oats and flaked malt were added for body and mouthfeel. Expect a big, bold, complex and unapologetic stout and about 8% abv.
Available: On tap only at the pub with growler fills to-go.
Proceeds donated to: BlackPDX.
Brewery statement: Despite the economic uncertainty in our business, choosing not to participate wasn’t an option. As a white male, I’ve lived (and continue to live) a privileged life. Doors have been open to me that aren’t open to everyone, and that simply cannot continue. As a former elementary school teacher, I saw firsthand the difference in treatment, opportunities and outcomes for our students of color. Being “not racist” is not enough. It is going to take every single one of us doing a lot of difficult and uncomfortable work to achieve the dream of equality. Participating in this brewery effort is just barely more than doing nothing, but it’s a start.
Uptown Beer Co/Binary Brewing (Portland)
Description: a session stout, only 4.5% ABV.
Availability: On draft and crowlers to-go at Uptown Beer Co and a couple other taprooms area taprooms.
Proceeds donated to: Don’t Shoot PDX
Brewery statement: We stand united with the craft beer industry, Portland, and the rest of the country to do our part to end police brutality and systemic racism. We look forward to working with our community to create change while holding our public servants and citizens accountable. Vote, listen and drink socially conscious beer.
Von Ebert (Portland)
Description: Base stout recipe from Weathered Souls and amplify it to imperial stout strength. It will then be blended with two different barrel-aged stouts.
Availability: 16oz cans and limited draft available at both Von Ebert locations in early August.
Proceeds donated to: Urban League of Portland
Worthy Brewing (Bend)
Description: 8.5% ABV Imperial Stout, staying close to the recipe shared by Weathered Souls with additional shades of black added from house favorites Pale Chocolate, and Carafa Type II.
Availability: Draft-only release in late July, available at the Worthy Brewing taproom and the Taps & Tacos location.
Description: Since they are a cidery and not a brewery, 2 Towns signed up but did a philanthropic campaign through their Tap Room. Between 6/13 – 6/19, 25% of Tap Room sales would be donated directly to the national and Corvallis local chapters of the NAACP.
In total, 2 Towns donated $4,362 between tap room sales and direct donations from the community to the program.
Cidery statement: We are honored to have been able to participate in this program to raise awareness for the injustices BIPOC experience on a daily basis, as well as to be able to give back to programs that are working for equality in our communities locally, regionally and nationally. This is certainly not the end of the conversation, though. We are continuing to reflect and discuss internally on what actions we as an organization can take to build upon our inclusive attitudes and policies, and how those reflect upon the craft industry as a whole. We recognize that as allies, we have a responsibility to continue growing, learning, and working in support of marginalized peoples within our communities. We must continue to be better.