Philanthropy in the craft beer industry is a fairly common thing, as most people have an issue that inspires passion. While many companies partner up with a charity because they believe in the cause, personal involvement in the fight can often be the muse for an especially intense campaign. Such is the case for Green Flash Co-Founder Lisa Hinkley, who used her 2010 breast cancer diagnosis as the inspiration for a massive fundraising initiative. Five years later, Hinkley is still cancer-free, and the 2015 edition of the Mira Mesa brewery’s project officially kicked off with Saturday’s Treasure Chest Fest.
With the tasting room decked out with Hawaiian décor and a Polynesian troupe setting the mood with music and dancing, attendees sampled 20 different rare Green Flash and Alpine brews. To further heighten the sensory experience, 11 restaurants donated dishes, and each plate was specially paired with one of the various beers. Highlights of the pairings included a Tripel with bananas and cocoa nibs served with a brown butter sage donut from Nomad Donuts, and a gazpacho from Urge Gastropub created with this year’s Treasure Chest beer in mind.
Speaking of the special fundraising brew, each year Brewmaster Chuck Silva creates a different recipe that’s represented by a unique pinup girl mascot. This year’s edition is an India Pale Ale brewed with tropical flavors like grapefruit and prickly pear, and a natural pink tinge from hibiscus flowers. Apropos of the beer’s characteristics, the logo for all things related to Treasure Chest 2015 is a cartoon hula dancer.
As if the plates and pours from the restaurants weren’t enough, the event also featured three sessions of Behind the Craft, the informational series created by Green Flash Director of Education Dave Adams. Representatives from Venissimo Cheese, True Gentlemen’s Jerky and Ironside Fish & Oyster House brought samples of their wares, which Adams paired with a different brew. Between this and the festival fare, anyone heading home hungry wasn’t really trying.
Aside from the various beer and food pairings, a village of vendors set up booths in various locations of the brewery with offerings ranging from brewing supplies to artisan soap. In the spirit of the fundraising effort, each participating merchant donated to Komen for the Cure San Diego.
In the four years since its inception, Green Flash’s Treasure Chest campaign has helped direct money into the coffers of regional breast cancer charities to the tune of more than $150,000. With bicoastal festivals and a special 22-ounce bottle release of the limited edition fundraising brew, the goal for 2015 is to raise an additional $150,000.