Oskar Blues CAN’d Aid: Great Beer, Great People
Nearly every outdoor enthusiast holds a special place in their heart for Colorado. With miles and miles of mountain bike trails, brutal ascents to test the legs of even the most fit road cyclist, world-class whitewater rivers, challenging climbing, amazing ski runs, and some of the most breathtaking scenery, the Rocky Mountain state has it all.
Another reason that so many of us love Colorado is their more than ample supply of craft beers. You’d be hard-pressed to find any “best of” beer list that does not include plenty of cities and breweries from the area.
My favorite Colorado brewery is Oskar Blues. Of all the breweries I visited in Colorado, Oskar Blues was the most welcoming. The atmosphere, openness, and just all-around-fun at their bar and tasting area makes you feel like you are home. And I haven’t even mentioned the beer yet. The second time I was there, they had a cask conditioned dry hopped Dale’s flowing. Best beer of the whole trip, and truly unforgettable.
Oskar Blues is also the parent of REEB Cycles, who happen to make my beloved gravel adventure, bikepacking, do-it-all bike. Making small-batch, semi-custom, handmade steel and titanium frames is a specialty of REEB, and they take just as much pride in their bikes as Oskar Blues does in their beer.
Oskar Blues started in 1997 in Lyons, Colorado. The brew pub in Lyons is still going strong, but in 2008 they opened the much larger 35,000 ft2 brewing facility in Longmont with a canning line that could pump out 160 cans per minute (since increased to 300).
Besides beautiful mountain scenery and being the towns that Oskar Blues calls home, Lyons and Longmont also both had devastating damage from the massive flooding in September of 2013. The destruction was wide-spread and entire communities were affected.
Oskar Blues saw first-hand the damage to both communities and immediately stepped up to do something about it. They founded CAN’d Aid as a non-profit to supply money and assistance to local residents and businesses. In fact, in just a few months, Oskar Blues had donated over $500,000 to the communities of Lyons and Longmont. In total, they have provided over $700,000 in flood relief in their first year.
CAN’d Aid didn’t recede along with the flood waters. As a matter of fact, CAN’d Aid is growing. On top of the $700,000 for flood relief, CAN’d Aid has given out an additional $200,000 to other grass-roots groups across the nation with the common goal of making this great country even better. Some projects include recycling programs, kids on bikes, and building of homes. I can’t summarize the aims of CAN’d Aid any better than they already have.
We’re parlaying our love for the outdoors, music and family into meaningful program initiatives that do more than make ya feel good–they’re doing some pretty great things too:
Towns – building strong communities.
Treads + Trails – get outside and get after it!
Tunes – for your eyeholes and earholes.
Love Yer Mama – save the blue marble.
Total CANarchy – unCANventional projects that make a difference.
From launching a national recycling initiative and diverting over 16,000 lbs. of trash to getting inner city kids outdoors to supporting after school literacy programs, we’re just getting started! CAN’d Aid needs YOUR help to make even more of these funky, sometimes irreverent, grants a reality.
If you want to see more about CAN’d Aid, check out their website. For the remainder of 2014, Oskar Blues will match every dollar you donate, so please consider giving a little to this great cause. Who knows? It could even be your community benefiting from their “do-goodery.” I’ll raise a pint (or two) to that any day.
– Alex (Steak Sauce)