When you pop the red, white, and blue cap off a bottle of Dry Dock Brewing’s Colorado Freedom Memorial Blonde Ale and tilt back the American flag-emblazoned bottle, you won’t be drinking any old blonde ale. You’ll be enjoying one of the only beers ever to bear the stars and stripes and helping fund a veterans’ memorial while you do it.
The ale—which was bottled for the first time this year—is the brainchild of Rick Crandall, president of the Colorado Freedom Memorial Foundation, and Kevin DeLange, the owner of Dry Dock Brewing. Hoping to tap into the Centennial State’s love of craft beer, the duo decided to brew up a fundraiser where $1 from each bottle benefits the Colorado Freedom Memorial Foundation to help cover the cost of upkeep, insurance, and additions to the Aurora monument.
It’s the label that’s truly unique, though: The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau prohibits the use of the American flag on alcohol labels. When Crandall’s graphics team designed the logo, they didn’t know it was verboten. Several months and a veterans letter-writing campaign later, approval came in for the patriotic labels. It’s a union Aurora mayor Steve Hogan calls “virtually unprecedented” and a beer that, though he more often goes for Scotch, he prefers over all others. Crandall, for his part, is just happy he and other veterans have a beer to call their own. “It seems to be fitting.”
Up Next: Both Crandall and DeLange would like to expand availability. (This spring’s production is limited to about 4,500 22-ounce bottles, available at Dry Dock and select retailers around Colorado.)