Raise a glass to raise an oar

Michael and Darin Echelberger

Michael and Darin Echelberger

Johnstown brewery fundraiser to benefit veteran rowing team

By Steve Graham

Four veterans plan to row across the Atlantic Ocean in December in an international race. 

You can support them without fighting frigid swells or even raising an oar. You only have to raise a glass on Sunday at Veteran Brothers Brewing in Johnstown.  

Darin and Michael Echelberger opened the first brewery in the northern Colorado town last year on Memorial Day. They are both Navy veterans, and a chance encounter led to an opportunity to help some fellow veterans.

Darin Echelberger said a Denver couple came to their brewery for a drink after a nearby dinner theater show. 

“We talked to them for about an hour and a half, and they said ‘we have some folks you have to meet,’” Echelberger said. 

The couple came back shortly thereafter with Bryant Knight, a special forces Army veteran who lives in Castle Rock. Knight is also one of four members of the Fight Oar Die team, which will row across the Atlantic Ocean next winter in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge, and also raise awareness for veterans’ issues.

The brewery, in turn, is raising awareness for the Fight Oar Die team with an appropriate beer for a crew that is pushing its physical limits.

“We did need something on our menu that pushes the boundaries a little bit,” Echelberger said of the Infidel double IPA, the strongest beer Veteran Brothers has created. 

The beer is 9.3 ABV and 103 IBU, but Echelberger said the malt balances the bitterness of the five-hop blend in the beer.

The Infidel will be released on Sunday with a party from noon to 6 p.m., including live music, raffles, giveaways and food donated by Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que.

Veteran Brothers will donate $1 from each beer sold, as well as all raffle and food proceeds to the Fight Oar Die team.

“They’re just super-good guys and they have a whole lot more guts than I do,” Echelberger said.

The Fight Oar Die team

The Fight Oar Die team