By: Lyndsay Gordon, Washington Wild Brewshed® Alliance Program Manager
On February 19, as guests walked into Elliott Bay Brewing Company’s Lake City Way location, they noticed something different. Celebratory voices carried up the stairs from the Cascade Room below. Downstairs, a party was well underway to celebrate a major Wilderness victory: passage of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions – 22,000 acres of new Wilderness, 40 miles of new Wild & Scenic Rivers AND a delicious new beer to commemorate the success.
The party presented a venue to enjoy a hard-earned victory and a way to publicly demonstrate the Brewshed® connection in action. For example, the Alpine Lakes Wilderness protects Icicle Creek, the water source for Brewshed® Partner Icicle Brewing Company’s great downstream beer. Protecting wild lands and waters sourced in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area directly exemplifies how Washington Wild’s work helps keep Washington wild, green and full of great beer.
Recognizing a valuable opportunity to highlight the Brewshed® connectionWashington Wild and Elliott Bay Brewing Company) devised the Alpine Lakes Pale Challenge. And the results were delicious!
As a Brewshed® partner, Elliot Bay Brewing Company stepped up, because they understand the intrinsic value of this type of legislation. “I have seen some of our wild lands disappear from where I grew up in Salt Lake City, so I know how precious our wild lands are,” said James Goodman, brewer at their Elliot Bay’s West Seattle location. “Water makes up the vast majority of the finished product making it absolutely critical.“Historically, beer and breweries have been defined in a large part by their local water and what it contributes to the final beer.”
The challenge itself was fairly simple: if Washington Wild raised $2,500 from the public in honor of the Brewshed® Alliance and the passage of Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions, Elliot Bay Brewing Company would brew a commemorative beer, host a release party, and donate $1 per pint sold of the entire batch. Also, Hops Direct, LLC, and The Country Malt Group both donated products contributing to the creation of the beer, and these savings were was passed on. Washington Wild surpassed the $2,500 goal, and the Alpine Lakes Pale was released to the public on February 19!
“The Alpine Lakes Pale Release Party provided the opportunity to bring the conservation and the beer communities together to celebrate our common interest in protecting wild waters,” said Lyndsay Gordon, Washington Wild’s Brewshed® program manager.
One guest, Kevin Kelly found himself at the beginning and the end of the Alpine Lakes effort. He worked as the first Legislative Aide for Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA08) when the bill was originally introduced in 2007. “From the beginning, I was so impressed by all of the parties that were initially involved [in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions bill]. Not only did they have passion, but they were organized. It is a rare, impressive and effective combination. The Alpine Lakes Wilderness Additions should be seen as an example of how people can really work together to get things done.”
Last September, as the Government and Community relations manager for Recology CleanScapes. Kevin joined 44 other local business leaders in writing a letter to Congress supporting the Alpine Lakes additions. He said the Alpine Lakes Pale Release Party was, “the perfect capstone to the whole process. When a project comes to completion like this, it is great to round everyone up, share stories and celebrate over a very tasty beer.”
Perhaps another guest and good friend of the Brewshed® alliance summed the successful evening up best.
“As beer consumers, all we’re asked to do is pledge a little money and drink some beer, but the real work is done by groups like Washington Wild who worked so hard for so long to get the legislation passed,” said Kendall Jones who writes the Washington Beer Blog. “What the Challenge asks of us is the easy part, a way for us to support the people doing the heavy lifting.”
Here at Washington Wild we say, “Cheers to that!”