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.
Many in the brewing community have come together to help Chris Gerard, Bare Hands Brewery’s owner and brewer, and his family following his recent brain injury. This says a lot about the Indiana brewing community, and The Tomlinson Tap Room in Indianapolis is doing its part with a month-long fund raiser.
Tomlinson Tap Room’s bar manager, Ben Hunt, has become a big fan of Bare Hands Brewery over the last year. Recently, he was communicating with Gerard when all return communication stopped. Hunt was concerned – then Shane Pearson of Daredevil Brewing called to share the bad news. Pearson wanted to donate a keg to raise money for Gerard. The Tomlinson Tap Room has 16 rotating taps of Indiana beer and is connected to the Brewer’s Guild of Indiana, so this seemed like the natural action to take as a fellow brewer.
Hunt immediately decided to send out a mass email to invite breweries to donate beer for Gerard’s cause. Since then, his phone has been ringing off the hook, and his email inbox has been jamming up.
“I have more beer in stock than I have ever had before, and the majority of the proceeds will go to Chris,” Hunt told me. He is going to dedicate two taps to raising money for Gerard for the full month and will continue rotating the donated beer when each tap runs out. At this point, he may have enough beer that the event will run into July.
Locally, Fiddler’s Hearth is hosting a Iechyd Da Brewing tap takeover fundraiser for Gerard and is family on Friday, June 6. Beers will be tapped at 5 p.m. (with a percentage of proceeds donated directly to the Gerard family) and local favorite Kennedy's Kitchen will be performing at 9 p.m. Please consider attending to raise a pint for Gerard.
This update was shared on Bare Hands’ Facebook page:
“Doctors gave us – the Gerard family - the okay to release him from St. Joseph Regional Medical Center on Wednesday, and he will begin out-patient therapy on Thursday. His progress has been remarkable in the last week and everything is looking up moving forward. He even stopped by the brewery to say hi to the crew and has been able to spend more time with Kim and the kids!
In the meantime, the community outreach and support from family, friends, Bare Hands customers - and folks we don’t even know - has been huge. As of 9:00 pm Thursday night our fundraising page (link below) has raised over $19,000 and the June 23 “Raise a Pint for Chris” Benefit Golf Outing/Dinner/Auction at Knollwood Country Club (again, link below) is starting to fill up. Every cent raised goes to help Chris and his family pay their medical bills.
If you've been lucky enough to visit the brewery in the last week you may have noticed the guys pouring some of Chris's best beers yet - they have plenty from before his injury - and raising even more for Chris and his family. Further, we keep getting word of local, and regional, businesses finding ways to help; tap take-overs, percentages of sales, in-store fundraisers…all from people who care, and people who want to help. As we continue to get that list together we will do our best to keep everyone updated, and make sure to recognize those who have stepped up to help.
Local news media have also gotten wind of our efforts and have taken Chris’s story on to help spread the word. Many thanks to WNDU and WSBT (links below) for their stories in the last couple days. Also watch for something from Heidi Prescott in the South Bend Tribune soon.
The bottom line is that we are incredibly fortunate to live in a community like this, to have the love and support of friends and family like we do, and to experience the pleasure of meeting so many great people through Chris and his dedication to brewing fantastic beer. Chris is getting better but the medical bills are not going away. Please continue to spread the word and help us raise money for he and his family, join us for the golf outing, and most importantly…#raiseapintforchris !
Donate here: https://www.crowdrise.com/raiseapint-helpchrisgerardandhisfamily/fundraiser
Golf Outing/Dinner/Auction: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/raise-a-pint-for-chris-benefit-golf-outing-tickets-11745110943
WNDU Story: http://www.wndu.com/home/headlines/Bare-Hands-Brewery-owner-recovering-after-brain-injury--260840011.html
WSBT Story: http://www.wsbt.com/news/local/granger-business-owner-family-getting-help-from-community-after-traumatic-brain-injury/26213200“
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