After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Marcus Baskerville, founder and head brewer of Weathered Souls Brewing Company in Austin, TX, wondered what he could do to help.
Enter the “Black is Beautiful” beer collaboration. What started as a single beer recipe has become a collaboration of more than 1,000 breweries across the country to help raise funds for police brutality reform and to increase awareness of the daily injustices faced by the BIPOC population.
Dozens of Chicago-area breweries have signed on to lend a hand and brew their own version of the Black Is Beautiful stout and to donate 100% of proceeds donated to a deserving nonprofit. Each brewery is encouraged to take the basic recipe and get creative with it, so that each brew showcases one of the many different shades of black and brown that a beer can take.
Here’s a look at some of the participating local breweries, the unique approach they’ve taken with their own Black Is Beautiful beer, and the organization they’re supporting with the proceeds.
Variation: Blackberry stout
Proceeds benefit: My Block, My Hood, My City
Variation: “Tropical stout”
Proceeds benefit: Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
Variation: Imperial Stout brewed with cacao nibs, vanilla and Smuggler’s coffee
Proceeds benefit: Know Your Rights Camp
Variation: Imperial stout aged in Heaven Hill and Jim Beam barrels
Proceeds benefit: NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Variation: “Vanilla latte” stout with Ethiopian coffee and Ugandan vanilla beans
Proceeds benefit: Chicago Freedom School
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Karl Klockars is a Chicago-based author and writer, focusing on food, drink, travel, and culture. Karl’s work has appeared in publications including Chicago Magazine, Thrillist, PCMag, Time Out Chicago, AskMen, Chicagoist and the AV Club. His book, Beer Lovers Chicago, tells the story of the Chicagoland craft beer landscape, from breweries and brewpubs to beer bars and craft-centric restaurants. He’s also the co-founder and main writer for GuysDrinkingBeer.com, regularly recognized as one of the nation’s best craft beer websites. He’s appeared as a guest on numerous radio shows, TV news programs, and podcasts; consulted on programs for the BBC and American syndication and spent a few years hosting morning radio shows and podcasts.