Left Hand Brewing Company is celebrating Pride month with open hands, open hearts and open beer.
Saturday, June 5 is Left Hand Brewing Company's Brews for Drew party, co-hosted with the LGBTQ+ nonprofit, The Dru Project. This is the first Pride event at the Left Hand tasting room of this scale. The afternoon event is packed with entertainment, including drag performances and live music. Part of the extravaganza is the release of the Dru Project beer collaboration, Druicy Fruit.
“The beer itself was organized to release for this party. Often it’s hard to plan a release party around a brew,” said Emmy Delis, tasting room supervisor and event coordinator at Left Hand Brewing Company. “So it’s been kind of nice to say ‘this is when the release is, now how do we schedule the brew to work,’ and that’s worked out great for us.”
The Druicy Fruit is a berliner weisse — a variety of sour wheat beer, with blackberries and butterfly pea flower.
“It’s tart and pretty sour, really its just a light and lovely brew, and we added the butterfly pea flower to give it a really pretty lavender color for Pride,” Delis said. “On the day of the event, we’re going to sprinkle some edible glitter into it, because why not.”
“Part of why we picked a berliner weisse is because of Berlin’s vibrant queer community,” Delis said. “Our brewer’s, who signed up to champion it, brother is gay, so he really wanted to do a thing for his family too.”
A dollar from each pint of Druicy Fruit sold will benefit the Dru Project — a nonprofit which memorializes Christopher Andrew Leinonen, one of the victim’s of the 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL.
“The Dru Project began very simply: we wanted to keep the memory of our best friend alive,” said Sara Grossman, communications director for the Dru Project. “Five years out, this work is so much bigger than him. We have been able to have impact all over the country and even the world! Groups have downloaded our guide all over the world and in almost every state. We are so proud of the work we have been able to accomplish in honor of our friend and we think he would be very proud of the way we have decided to work to keep his legacy alive.”
The beer collaboration is the latest in a series of projects between Left Hand Brewing Company and the Dru Project.
“One of our sales reps in Florida was friends with Drew in high school, and she suggested the Dru Project for one of our Flights for a Cause benefits,” said Kristina Hernandez Schostak, Left Hand Brewing Company’s communications manager. “So there is that personal connection with our brewery. We became fast friends (with the org) and really wanted to make some things happen.”
“Our collaboration has been incredible. We were initially introduced to the Left Hand crew by a friend of mine and Drew's who used to work for them,” Grossman said. “At first, we accepted donations of product and planned a couple small events together, but now we are reaching the apex of this partnership with a beer tapped in honor of Drew — what an incredible way to honor him, the work we do, and the fifth year marker of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The Left Hand crew has been absolutely wonderful every step of the way.”
Community support from Left Hand Brewing Company is nothing new. Efforts like Flight for a Cause — which donates to nonprofits like the Dru Project and the St Vrain Shelter and events through the tasting room and the Left Hand Foundation have been a strong part of the brewery’s culture. The Open Hands committee is the brewery’s way to bring more diversity to their community.
The Open Hands committee was created a couple of years ago to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. The formation of the committee has helped Left Hand make a more concentrated effort to host events that give back to all portions of the community in new ways, Hernandez Schostak said. Sticking with the brewery’s history of community involvement, the committee will continue to reach out to other underrepresented groups for events and collaboration, she said.
“In the tasting room we’ve always been really connected with the community, but with this new Open Hands group and Emmy stepping into her role in the tasting room, having a passion for diversity, equity and inclusion, and being in charge of the tasting room events, there’s this synergy,” Hernandez Schostak said. “You’re going to see some new things in our tasting room that we haven’t seen before.”
The Brews for Drew project is the kick-off for a month of LGBTQ+ Pride celebration at the brewery. There are plans for an open-mic/music jam the second weekend of June and a meet and greet with local LGBTQ+ romance authors. Capping off the month will be a ticketed event benefiting Out Boulder County.