The Beer Community – whether ‘craft’, ‘mainstream’ or ‘in-between’ – is one of characters and larrikins and generally what we would call ‘just good blokes’. It’s not too surprising, then, to find more than the odd occasion where beer is the catalyst for a greater good.
In this instance, an entity called Brewmanity has been established to produce a quality beer which will also draw much needed attention to charitable and worthwhile causes.
Brewmanity is the brainchild of former Melbourne AFL footballer David Neitz and was hatched as a result of his friendship with his former coach Neale Daniher. Daniher, recently diagnosed with MND (Motor Neurone Disease) has given much-needed publicity to this cause and, as Neitz explained to Brews News, between them had a fairly simple plan.
“In order to raise funds and awareness successfully we needed the right beer. First and foremost, the beer needs to be good. If the beer is good and approachable and marketable then the funds should follow,” said Neitz.
That’s well and good in principle but what style of beer would please the former champion and mentor to many modern day stars? “Neale is a bit, umm, ‘old school’ – a classic changing room-beer kind of bloke who is happy to have a simple mainstream lager,” Neitz explains with just a thinly disguised chuckle. “He might be in for a surprise!”
In classic Aussie Rules style, Neitz has handballed the responsibility for the brewing of the beer to those in a better position ‘on the field’. The recipe development has fallen to veteran beer consultant, Mick Jontef, whose ‘fingerprints’ can be found on many classic Australian beers brewed over the past few decades and Barney Matthews, hospitality specialist, beer enthusiast and founding member of the Good Beer Week team.
The first Brewmanity beer, coupled with ‘Brewmanity Hour’ fundraising events to be held in venues around the country, will be a unique Australian style Pale Ale incorporating a grain bill featuring Australian pale and wheat malts with an all-star Australian cast of hops in Vic Secret and Ella throughout. A two-barrel brew has been brewed for a special media launch in September and, as Matthews explains, will couple with events at venues who are keen to offer their support.
“We have come up with an alternative to ‘Happy Hour’ called ‘Brewmanity Hour’ where venues pay a registration fee and receive an allotment of kegs which then raise funds for Brewmanity projects, the first of which is Cure for MND,” Matthews said.
He is quick to point out, however, that this is not a cynical attempt to sell beer with a conscience. “Ten per cent of profits will go to CMND on an ongoing basis with future projects assessed as we become aware of them. It’s not just about jumping from one cause to the next in order to sell beer, but rather we will look at projects that have a good fit with what we are trying to do.”
Neitz points out; “We saw an amazing response from the football community to Neale Daniher’s recent Freeze MND event which raised money into researching a cure for this insidious disease.”
Dr Ian Davis, beer fanatic and already behind one very successful beer for MND, Cavalier Courage, concurs; “When Freeze MND was launched on The Footy Show, the response was amazing. We had received over $10,000 in pledges in less time than it took for Neale to complete the sentence and had $900,000 by the end of the show.” It’s not surprising, then, that Brewmanity will take up a similar offer from The Footy Show to launch its public awareness campaign.
Mick Jontef summed up the feelings of all those involved in this morning’s brew day thusly: “The momentum that this beer has gained already speaks to the spirit of the beer community and if we can combine that with the famous generosity of the AFL community then we can make a real difference in people’s lives.”
Already, Grain & Grape, at very short notice, have jumped in with ingredients and the use of their big Braumeister system, while Australian Beer Co has been most generous in offering capacity for the full-scale brew in months to come.
Brews News readers can find out more by clicking here. Donations can be made through the website and venues can register to hold a ‘Brewmanity Hour’ event through the same website.
Brewmanity Hour will be held at venues across the country on Friday October 23.