When Good River Beer donated 1,000 masks to local frontline healthcare professionals this past spring, it didn’t imagine the same types of personal protective equipment would soon pollute what the brewery’s mission vows to protect: local rivers. Now, as single-use masks join the ranks of cigarette butts, plastic bottles, and Styrofoam on waterways’ least-wanted lists, the brewery is inspiring river rats to help clean up.

Community partners—like Patagonia Denver and Denver Parks and Recreation—have joined the brewery for regular river clean ups along the South Platte for the past two years, collecting 15,000 pounds of trash so far. Starting in early August, Good River Beer kicked off a trio of additional clean ups with local recreation shop Down River Equipment. The first two events—on August 2 and September 13—will have volunteers pluck trash out of two highly trafficked stretches of the South Platte: the area near the REI flagship store and beneath the Broncos Bridge. The third will take place along Golden’s Clear Creek in October.

Good River co-founder Adam Odoski, says that protecting urban rivers isn’t just a task, it’s a responsibility. “Keeping rivers clean is a responsibility and obligation that we cherish and will continue to support,” he says. “Plus, healthy rivers mean we get to continue paddling on the hidden waterways we love.”

As COVID-19 continues to affect the nation’s brewing community, Good River Beer hasn’t floated through unscathed. In May, the brewery permanently shuttered its five-month-old taproom and postponed its sponsorship of the summer’s biggest rafting festival, FIBArk, in Salida. But the closure of Good River’s Santa Fe Art District outpost doesn’t mean the beer is drying up.

Instead, the brewery’s focus is now on expanding distribution to get its ales, pilsners, and IPAs to more Western states (its currently available at over 500 retailers in Colorado and hopes to expand into Kansas and Wyoming), as well as bolstering its effort in uniting the river community around conservation. The beer maker continues production through a partnership with Sleeping Giant Brewing Company, and two percent of proceeds from canned beer sales directly fund local efforts through its nonprofit, 2% for Rivers, including river clean ups and other conservation projects. “Good River Beer will continue to focus on brewing great beer and using our beer as the vehicle for positive change,” Odoski says.

Want to join in on the cleanups? Learn more and sign up for the September 13 event here.