Monday, July 28, 2014


Chris Gerard, owner and brewer at Bare Hands Brewery. (Eric Strader)

Chris Gerard and his family (image courtesy of Bare Hands Brewery)

Chris Gerard (middle with hoodie) at the first South Bend Brewfest (Eric Strader)

Bare Hands Brewery Pub (Eric Strader)

Bare Hands Belgian Golden Strong Ale (Eric Strader)

Bare Hands Brewery Mail Order Bride Russian Imperial Stout (Eric Strader)

Bare Hands Brewery Thai.P.A. (Eric Strader)
Bare Hands Brewery's Chris Gerard suffers brain injury, asks for community's support

Posted on May 24, 2014 at 9:26 a.m.

Eric Strader writes about the craft beer scene in Indiana and Michigan. He's a dad, husband, potter, soccer coach and special education paraprofessional who likes to read, bike, hike and canoe. You can read more from him in his community blog for The Elkhart Truth, Hop Notes.

Bare Hands Brewery, owned and operated by Chris and Kim Gerard, opened in December 2011. With Chris at the helm of the brew house, his mission from the start has been “handcrafting small batches of incredible beer with the highest quality ingredients.”

In my opinion, he has been doing just that, and he has received great praise for his beers from both local beer lovers and brewers alike. Bare Hands has been a great asset to the Michiana Brewing community.

Unfortunately, last weekend Chris had a tragic accident that caused significant injury to part of his brain. When this kind of thing happens in the brewing community, friends and family come together to help. Yesterday, I talked with Ryan Gerard (Chris’ brother), and he told me the outpouring of support has been amazing.

Chris is currently recovering, and his long-term outlook for a full recovery looks promising. However, due to the nature of his injury, doctors have not been able to set a timeline for it at this point. In the meantime, the Gerard family and Bare Hands crew are committed to keeping the pub running as usual in Chris’ absence. He wouldn't want it any other way!  They have tons of great beer ready to go and more on the way.

They can use our support now more than ever.

As a small business owner with a young family, Chris doesn't have medical insurance, and his bills are going to be huge. After home brewing for years, his entrepreneurial spirit rose up, and he founded Bare Hands so he could brew professionally. Business has been solid, and Chris has been reinvesting all of the profits back into growing it, which is probably why he doesn't have medical insurance yet (his three kids do).

Ryan has set up a Crowdrise page, “Raise A Pint” fundraising site, for those interested in helping out.  

The goal is to raise enough money to cover his bills. The $60,000 goal is a reasonable estimate, though the bills could be much higher. I know there are many of you out there who have enjoyed Bare Hands’ brews and have met Chris at festivals or the pub. I know many of you want to see Chris and his family succeed. His family is going to do whatever it takes to ensure that happens, and they would be grateful for your help.

A bank account has been set up to collect donations, all of which will go directly toward Chris's medical bills. The family can't thank you enough for your kindness, thoughts and prayers. They feel positive he will get back to being a husband, father and brewer. If you are able to, please donate now, spread the word and help the Gerard family reach its goal of $60,000 by June 23!

Here is the link to the Crowdrise site:  https://www.crowdrise.com/raiseapint-helpchrisgerardandhisfamily/fundraiser/ryangerard

Another way to show your support is to go to the Bare Hands Brewery, located at 12801 Sandy Court in Granger.

Hours will be kept the same:  

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday - Thursday: 4 p.m. – 11 p.m.
  • Friday: 4 p.m. – midnight
  • Saturday: Noon – midnight
  • Sunday: Noon – 7 p.m.

Wednesday’s “Pitcher Day” special is going to be changed  to $1 off the beer(s) of the day. The pub will also be open from noon to 6 p.m. on Memorial Day for all of your growler-filling needs. In the meantime, please keep Chris and the Gerard family in your prayers, and enjoy  a pint with the crew to help show your support for small, locally hand-crafted ales!

Here are some of the beers I’ve enjoyed at the brewery over the past couple of years: 

  • Thai.P.A. (7.1% ABV), an experimental IPA brewed with Thai spices, palm sugar, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf,and galangal (Thai ginger)
  • 574 Pale Ale (Ameican Pale Ale, 6% ABV), the brewery’s signature IPA made with experimental hops and named for our area code. You'll often see this in different varieties like Double, Cask, Mango Habanero
  • Mail Order Bride (Russian Imperial Stout, 10.2% ABV), a huge beer with chocolate and roasted malts, hints of dark fruit and earthy hops. There have also been different variations of this one including Poblano Bride, Mole' Bride and various Bourbon Barrel aged versions.
  • Belgian Golden Strong Ale (10.5% ABV), which has the expected aromas of banana and clove and unexpected, but pleasant, mango. It’s a fairly traditional tasting Belgian with a bit of heat, but overall quite smooth drinking.

You can follow Bare Hands on Facebook.

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