Brewers compete with each other for festival medals and for draft lines at bars. But when the chips are down, the local brewing fraternity comes together as a community.
Last March, Kerri and Matt Rose, the owners of Forge Brew Works in Lorton, Va., found out they were expecting their first child. In August, they learned Kerri had Stage 4 stomach cancer. Their son, Lance, was born in September, two months premature, so his mother could begin chemotherapy as soon as possible.
Casey Jones, the owner of Lorton’s Fair Winds Brewing and a friend of the Roses’, wanted to do something to help. “When Kerri and Matt got pregnant, we were so excited for them,” he said. “When she was diagnosed with cancer, we were like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ ”
After consultations, Fair Winds decided to brew a special beer to raise money for Kerri’s treatment. Representatives from 20 breweries, including Port City, Lost Rhino, Capitol City Brewing and Mad Fox Brewing, gathered at Fair Winds on Jan. 7 to brew 30 barrels of Kerri’s Cure, which Jones describes as a “very, very classic Belgian pale ale. Matt and Kerri founded a Belgian-focused brewery, so as a nod to them, obviously we had to do a Belgian beer.”
The day was a community effort: The Brewers Supply Group donated all the malt. Old Ox Brewery provided the yeast; the other breweries supplied the rest of the ingredients, including Saaz and Citra hops. Ocelot Brewing brought breakfast for the assembled crew. Lawyers and publicists offered their services free.
Kerri died just over a week later, at age 32.
“We felt like they’d be facing a long and expensive fight against an aggressive cancer,” Jones says. “Unfortunately, it turned out to be a short and expensive fight against an aggressive cancer. Matt’s a single parent raising an infant with a long road ahead of him.”
All 20 breweries will tap Kerri’s Cure on Jan. 29. Different breweries received different amounts of the beer; after that first day, you might want to call ahead to check availability. Over the first weekend, the brewers together expect to raise at least $23,000, which will go to cover outstanding medical bills and help pay for Lance’s future education. A GoFundMe page for the family has raised $53,000 so far.
Kerri’s Cure Belgian Pale Ale. Available on tap and in growlers at 20 Virginia breweries Jan. 29, including Forge Brew Works, 8532 Terminal Rd., Lorton, Va. 703-372-2979. forgebrewworks.com.