Rhinegeist Brewery honors those who served with specialty Veterans Day beer

Posted at 12:59 PM, Nov 11, 2016

CINCINNATI -- Eleven Rhinegeist Brewery employees who served in the U.S. Armed Forces will honor fellow veterans Friday by tapping Valor, a beer they made specifically for Veterans Day.

"The name is just showing the fortitude of all veterans, to go through what they have to and the respect we have for each other," said Peterson Clare, Rhinegeist's inventory control manager. 

The tapping, set to take place at 5 p.m. Friday at the Over-the-Rhine brewery, is part of a Veterans Day fundraiser that continues until 9 p.m.

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Rhinegeist hired Clare, an Army veteran and former Blackhawk helicopter pilot who served in Afghanistan, last year. Clare said he pitched the idea for Valor to his bosses about two months ago after witnessing all of the community outreach events and fundraisers the brewery regularly hosts.

"Why don't we do something for all veterans?" Clare asked. "I am a veteran myself. Why can't we do something that would be neat or cool? They said, 'Yeah, absolutely.'"

Clare then approached his fellow veterans at Rhinegeist about creating the beer and fundraiser to benefit the West Chester-based nonprofit Battle Buddy Foundation. Battle Buddy helps veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and combat-related injuries reintegrate into civilian life, often times by pairing them with highly skilled service dogs the organization trains.

"We wanted to do something local, not something that was a larger scale," Clare said. "We are really big on Cincinnati and the local area. They were the ones we liked best."

"We are extremely excited," said Chrissy Faulkner, executive deputy director of Battle Buddy. "Rhinegeist has grown exponentially. The things that they are doing are really cutting edge and pretty well known in the craft beer community."

Faulkner met most of Rhinegeist's veterans last Veterans Day when the brewery made its first cash donation to support Battle Buddy's mission.

"For them to do it a second year in a row was pretty exciting for us," Faulkner said. "It really means a lot for a locally based business to give back to a local charity."

Clare said coming up with Valor and holding a special event this year meant a lot to him and his fellow veterans at Rhinegeist as well.

"We all kind of had a say-so in the name," he said. "As far as brewing it, we had whoever could get away from their actual job come up and brew whenever they could. I did my best to make sure that everyone who could be there was there."

Clare also pointed out that Valor is a Kentucky Common-style beer, something unique for Rhinegeist. He thinks most people will enjoy its flavor.

"It's something different than we normally do," Clare said. "It's kind of like a pre-Prohibition-style ale. It's almost like a malt liquor style, nothing too bitter or hoppy -- just something we usually don't do."

The beer also has a little more kick to it than a typical ale, with 6.5 percent ABV. Rhinegeist will sell the beer in its taproom until it runs out.

Faulkner said Battle Buddy representatives will be on hand to thank Rhinegeist's employees for their service and support.

"The event helps our organization focus on what Veterans Day is truly about," she said. "It is a really nice experience. It also helps us raise awareness of issues that our veterans face."

Veterans Day fundraiser

5-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11
Rhinegeist Brewery, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine
Free admission