America’s veterans are the most honored and respected men and women of this country. Their commitment and service is the reason we can enjoy great freedoms – including the freedom to choose our favorite craft beer without any limitations.
It’s only fitting that these same heroes choose to continue serving the public as they transition back to life post military. For several, this has come in the form of their own craft breweries.
Hard work, dedication, perseverance and precision—all traits that are second nature to veterans—are critical when it comes to being a craft brewer. Across the country, veteran brewers continue their mission by helping improve their local community. Many hire veterans first or give a percentage of their proceeds back to charities that serve veterans and their families. Next time you want to try a new brew, consider supporting a veteran brew master. These are some of our favorites:
Veteran Beer Co., Chicago, Illinois
Owner: Paul Jenkins, disabled Navy Veteran
Operation: Nineteen part-time employees—all veterans. All supply chain companies are required to have a “veteran first” hiring policy.
Bunker Buster Brown Rye Ale
Great for warming the winter chill with a 7.6% ABV. What’s the secret? Flaked rye and a hint of caramel malt balanced with the kick of hand-selected rye malts. The mild hops of Zeus and Cascade give it a flawless balance of sweet and spicy, yet deliver a creamy smooth finish. This is truly a beer that makes you want to huddle closer, throw another log on the fire and enjoy great times with friends during the holidays. HOOYAH!
14th Star Brewing Co, St. Albans, Vermont
Owner: Steve Gagner, U.S. Army Veteran
Operations: A portion of proceeds from their flagship beer, Valor Ale, goes towards the Purple Hearts Reunited Foundation, returning lost or stolen medals of valor to the service men and women who earned them.
Tribute Double IPA
Don’t be fooled, that 8.4% ABV is hiding somewhere even though you can’t taste it! A celebration of hops, Tribute has a golden color you’ll never forget, an aroma bursting with citrusy hops, and a smooth hop flavor with a dry finish. It’s amber orange body with handfuls of candied sweet peaches and juicy mango bursts coupled with a dank and oniony character near the end gives the body some additional weight. For you IPA lovers…this is Christmas morning!
Red Leg Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, CO
Owner: Todd Baldwin, U.S. Army Veteran (field artillery officer)
Operations: Nine full-time employees, five are veterans.
Devil Dog Stout
A foreign style stout also called Island Stout is a Bronze Medal Winner in the 2014 World Beer Cup. If you like coffee and chocolate, this one is for you! Considered one of the best stouts from Colorado Springs, this earthy dark brown pour brings tastes of espresso balanced with dark roast malt flavors running all the way through. Though there is some mild sweetness, its alcohol is not shy in letting you know it’s there…but then again, that what serious stouts are about. This is a perfect winter brew while treating yourself to a pairing of chocolate cake.
Service Brewing Co. Savannah, GA
Owners: Kevin Ryan (Army Veteran) and Meredith Sutton
Operations: Portion of all revenues are donated to veteran charities such as Homes for Our Troops, an organization focused on building homes designed for disabled veterans.
Ground Pounder Pale Ale
After a week that never wants to end, this is just the brew to take you away from it all. The medium-bodied pale ale carries a balance of caramel malt, spice and citrus notes with bold, piney hop characteristics that deliver an herbal infusion of lime and crushed black pepper.
Veterans United Craft Brewery, Jacksonville, FL
Owner: Ron Gamble, Former Navy Flight Officer
Operations: Ten employees, majority are veterans or still on active duty.
The name brings a pleasant surprise – easy-drinking and approachable. This golden blonde ale redefines style with generous additions of Cascade and Centennial hops. It’s only fitting that Rosie the Riveter is featured on the can, as this blonde is hard at work delivering great hop flavor without the associated bitterness. With a 5.2% ABV, the alcohol brings an enticing balance to the flavor, making this a total bombshell.
As we continue to pour our heart and soul into the craft beer community, we honor those who have served and are part of the craft beer family.
Cheers to all our veterans and those currently serving. HOOAH, OORAH, HOOYAH!