By Ranay Janssen
The first Denver House That Beer Built will be put on this year by a collaboration between 21 Denver breweries and Habitat for Humanity for Metro Denver.
House That Beer Built (HTBB) is a response to the growing housing crisis. In 2016 alone 2,000 families reached out to Habitat Metro Denver for help. HTBB is an opportunity for breweries to give back to the community that supports them. “Habitat helps families find affordable housing not by handing out homes but by giving them an opportunity to purchase an affordable home which normally would be out of reach,” said Kevin DeLange of Dry Dock Brewing Co, when asked why Dry Dock chose to participate. “They also provide the families with education on all the things that go into owning a home. It's a very important charity doing great work in Colorado and we're thrilled to be able to help.”
House That Beer Built is aiming to raise at least $50,000 to begin building this summer in Sheridan Square. The house built by the breweries will be sold to a local, low income family. “After hearing about all the work the future homeowners put into each house as well, it just solidified our desire to be a part of this uniquely powerful event,” said Jesse Brookstein, of Call to Arms Brewing Co. By 2021, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver is projected to have 63 energy efficient, affordable houses built in Sheridan Square.
On April 22, Great Divide Brewing Co. is hosting the kickoff event, Hops for Homes. The tickets sold for this event will directly benefit the fundraiser. Tickets are $35 in advance at habitatbeerbuild.org or $45 at the door. “Besides the great beer list that is coming together, we will have games for people to play, food trucks and a DJ,” says Emma Ramey, the events coordinator from Great Divide. “There will also be fun ways to further contribute to the cause with a special 2x4 signing area and exclusive t-shirt event.” The kickoff will have two sessions, one from 12-4 p.m. and another from 5-9 p.m. This will help to ensure more people can attend the event. A ticket will buy patrons unlimited craft beer tastings and a commemorative taster glass. There will also be food available for purchase from WongWayVeg, Basic Kneads Pizza, Little Man Ice Cream and Park Burger.
Hops for Homes is not only an opportunity to raise money for HTBB but it is also a chance for beer enthusiasts to enjoy craft beers while also giving back to the community. “Our patrons can help and get involved first by joining us, and the other breweries and the Habitat folks, at the Hops for Homes Beer Fest,” said Greg Neale of Crazy Mountain Brewing. “That’s going to be a great event, showcasing 20 Denver-area breweries who have more than a few things in common: commitment to their city and neighbors, passion for great beer and a love of getting people together and having a great time.”Additionally, each of the breweries will be hosting their own fundraising events. The breweries participating include Boggy Draw, Call to Arms, Cerebral, Crazy Mountain, Dead Hippie, Declaration, Diebolt, Dry Dock, Epic, Fiction, Great Divide, Grist, Living the Dream, Mockery, Ratio Beerworks, Renegade, Resolute, Seedstock, Station 26, 38 State and 4 Noses.
House That Beer Built has also been hosted in Longmont and Fort Collins, as well as Austin, Texas and Bend, Oregon. In 2013, eight breweries based in Fort Collins raised $70,000 and in 2016, 13 Fort Collins’ breweries raised $100,000. In 2014, Austin had eight breweries participating in their HTBB and raised a total of $75,000. In 2015, five breweries in Bend raised $50,000. Nine breweries in Longmont raised $50,000 in 2016. These success stories have enabled low income families to live in safe homes instead of on the street. With 21 Denver breweries participating, there is no limit to what Coloradans can to do to help those in need in their community. Each brewery will have days assigned to them when construction starts. Patrons are welcome to become volunteers and join their favorite brewery on the job site. What makes Denver’s House That Beer Built unique is the number of breweries participating and all the ways beer enthusiasts can get involved to help.
Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 with Millard and Linda Fuller. Habitat’s mission is to eliminate substandard housing by building and preserving homes, advocating for fair and just housing policies and providing training resources for families to improve their living conditions. Habitat for Humanity provides no profit and no interest financing for their homes which is much more affordable to families that are in need. The Denver branch of Habitat for Humanity started in 1979 by a group of volunteers who also wanted to help with the housing crisis. Since 1979, Habitat Metro Denver has become one of the largest branches of Habitat for Humanity in the United States. In 2016, they celebrated their 600thhome built and 750 families helped.
Other Fundraising Events
-Participating breweries will be selling a House That Beer Built passport whose proceeds will be donated to Habitat. Each brewery has specific offers in the passport. After being stamped by all the breweries, patrons can enter the passports into a drawing for a grand prize.
-Fiction Beer Co. will be setting up a donation box in their taproom that they will match dollar for dollar.
-On April 29, Living the Dream Brewing Co. is holding a Crawfish Boil. The Duke Street Kings, a local band that also raises funds for Habitat through its Blues & BBQ for Better Housing Festival, will provide live music. Habitat representatives will be in attendance allowing patrons to sign lumber (2x4s) used for the house for $1.
-On May 6, Resolute Brewing Co. will be holding a Kentucky Derby party. More details to come!
-On May 19, Renegade Brewing Co. will be donating $1 of every pint they sell to House That Beer Built.
-Dry Dock Brewing Co. will be brewing a beer to honor Habitat for Humanity with proceeds from every pint purchased being donated.
-Call to Arms Brewing Co. is holding “Hops for Humanity” the entire month of June. They will release up to a dozen hop-forward beers throughout the month.
-Ratio Beerworks is planning a happy hour fundraiser to donate a dollar from every beer purchased to Habitat.
-Fiction Beer Co. is planning a book and burger pairing with a book signing and discussion from Julia Herz, author of Beer Pairing, and a member of the Brewers Association team. The date hasn’t been released.
Good Samaritan’s in Action
Call to Arms Brewing Co. opened in the summer of 2015 with great beer and a great community foremost in its mind. Jesse Brookstein, one of the co-owners, says “Our vision for Call to Arms has always been to be a neighborhood and community-focused brewery, which is why we chose to open on Tennyson Street in the first place.”
Call to Arms is one of the 21 breweries that will be participating in House That Beer Built this summer. When asked why Call to Arms was participating, Brookstein said, “As soon as Habitat contacted us, we jumped at the chance to work together with their incredible organization for one of the more unique fundraisers we’ve been lucky enough to be a part of.”
One of the inspirations for Call to Arms to become a part of HTBB is their Good Samaritan Program. This program rewards patrons for their hours spent volunteering at local non-profits. Brookstein is looking forward to bringing these volunteers to the Habitat house site and working side-by-side with them, building a home. “Beyond the great sense of value one can receive from helping to build these homes, they can also receive free beer at CTA at the end of the work day!” said Brookstein. It is clear from the enthusiasm and other charity events that Brookstein and his co-owners from Call to Arms Brewing Co. are looking forward to Denver’s first House That Beer Built.
- Ranay Janssen