A new beer by a local brewery aims to honor the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest beer in Autumn Arch Beer Project's superhero series goes out to educators, who gave it their all to teach virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jimmy Vennard, one of the brewery's founders, said this Hazy IPA, or New England-style IPA, is called the Blackboard Superhero.
"Educators tackled some challenges that were unique to education and teaching our children, and a lot of businesses didn't have the same challenges--they had different ones. But I tip my hat to educators who went in there and got through what was surely to be remembered as a bizarre school year," he told WDEL.
Earlier in the pandemic, Autumn Arch honored front-line health care workers with a beer of their own called Frontline Superhero. A portion of the proceeds of that fund were donated to the ChristianaCare Caregivers Fund.
"To help out those folks that it seems like were constantly working to help out the rest of us, the broader community kind of get over this peak of COVID-19, so [Blackboard Superhero] is kind of a continuation of that series," he said.
Blackboard Superhero is a golden, hazy color with tropical aromas and fruitiness, described as an "easy summer sipper."
"It does not come from any fruit that we added, but a combination of the yeast that we use to brew the beer and also the hops that we added during the brewing process, and that just really gives you a really low bitterness beer, so that makes it appealing, I think, to a lot of folks. But also it just has some really kind of unique fruity characters to it that makes it kind of an easy summer sipper."
The beer was also inspired by educators who work part-time at Autumn Arch.
"We hear about this a lot, some of the concerns, especially last summer, especially about how to return to school and what that's going to look it. It was a big deal," said Vennard
Because the founders, including Vennard are engineers, 10% of proceeds will benefit The Delaware Foundation for Science & Mathematics Education.
"Anytime that anybody gets the beer anywhere," he said.
Thursday night, the brewery held a celebratory night for local educators, offering $5 flights. In addition to the Blackboard Superhero, they also tapped a firkin of the Samoa Cookie Brown Ale, described as a "brown ale aged on an overzealous infusion of Samoa Girl Scout cookies." That specialty beer was only available that evening.
If you're interested in Blackboard Superhero, act quickly, the small-batch Newark-area brewery only made about 10 barrels.
"This beer moved pretty fast. I expect we'll have it on tap for another two weeks before it's gone."
And once it's gone, it's gone.
"We'll probably move onto the next thing that either we feel is a valuable cause or kind of whatever the times or the cause of the day kind of pops up in front of us," said Vennard. "We are a small batch brewery, a little more on the experimental side of things. If you've been to our facility, you can see our process--all our tanks are right there...if you come early enough in the day you can see the brewer working."