BLUE ASH, Ohio — Customers will get more than just a great beer when they buy a pint of Fretboard Brewing Co.'s newly reformulated S23 Pale Ale next week, according to Ryan Eldridge.
"It's not just another craft beer," said Eldridge, a Covington police officer and co-founder of local non-profit Behind the Badge. "It not only tastes good but it will also give back to the community."
Eldridge, along with fellow Covington police officers, established Behind the Badge in 2014 to help people and organizations in the communities they serve. The organization expanded that mission in late 2017 when it created its "Hero Fund" thanks to a partnership with the then newly opened Fretboard Brewing located in Blue Ash.
"It's been a great partnership," said Jim Klosterman, one of Fretboard's co-founders. "We've had no challenge donating our proceeds from sales of S23 at the taproom to Behind the Badge."
Kevin Moreland, Fretboard's newest business partner, said the brewery has donated more than $10,000 to support the fund, which provides financial assistance to injured first responders, and the families of responders who have fallen in the line of duty. The brewery has briefly paused production of the beer while tweaking its recipe.
Klosterman added the Hero Fund's mission pairs perfectly with why he and his fellow Fretboard co-founders Joe Sierra and Bradley Plank created the original S23 nearly five years ago.
The three friends brewed and sold the beer in order to establish a fund to support the children of Joe Sierra's brother. Eric Sierra, a Cincinnati police officer, died of a brain aneurysm in late 2014. S23 was Eric Sierra's badge number.
Eldridge said he first met Joe Sierra at S23's inaugural tapping in January 2015.
"The beer has not only done a lot to fund our Hero Fund," Eldridge said. "It's also brought together friends."
He added "great ideas always need to be revamped at times" to explain why Fretboard decided to reformulate S23.
"We felt the need to do this because there are a lot of categories of session pale ales out in the market right now," Moreland said. "We came up with a new recipe. It's really coming after today's unique beer drinkers."
Fretboard will introduce the new S23 during two special events next week.
The first will take place during Reds Opening Day next Thursday at Arnold's Bar and Grill, located at 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown. Cincinnati's longest operating bar will hold a special tapping for S23 when festivities begin at 9 a.m.
Fretboard will then host its own event the following evening (March 29) inside its taproom at 5800 Creek Road in Blue Ash. The evening will include food and live music by Yacht Rock America, a six-piece classic rock cover band made up of veteran members from some of Cincinnati's favorite bands.
Once the new S23 is tapped, proceeds from its sale will once again start flowing into the Hero Fund.
"We are really excited about this beer," Moreland said. "We're trying to make S23 a little more prominent. It's something that honestly is just that close to us."