By: Liz - Harpoon Helps Published:
A few months ago we received a note from one of our hop providers about a project they were organizing called Ales for ALS. The idea behind the project was simple; Loftus Ranches and Hopunion (the aforementioned hop providers) would send us a special proprietary hop blend to brew a beer with and we’d donate a portion of sales of the beer to ALS research. We signed ourselves right up, as did dozens of other breweries across the country.
ALS holds special significance to Harpoon because one of our founding investors, Gordon Heald, succumbed to the disease many years ago. It inspired us to call awareness and raise funds to help find a cure for this horrendous disease, which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. So about 12 years ago we started our annual Harpoon 5-Miler to benefit ALS research. The race, which has raised close to $1,000,000 to date, benefits the work of The Angel Fund. Each year around the time of the race (which will be held on May 19th) we hear more and more about how much ALS has affected so many people in our community, and it inspires us to do more.
Ales for ALS gave us another opportunity to help. All funds raised from the Ales for ALS project will go to ALS TDI, a research organization located near our Boston brewery in Cambridge, MA. A few Harpoon brewers, with this special proprietary hop blend in mind, put their heads together and came up with a recipe for a session IPA. So a couple weeks ago we invited ALS TDI staff members to join us at the brewery and help brew our Ales for ALS beer. Dave, Ben, Mari, and John came by to help us throw in the hops and sample some of the wort as we brewed our 10-barrel batch. They brought with them Steve Saling, a renowned landscape architect and beer lover, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2006 at 38 years old. Steve has become a tremendous advocate for ALS research. While he is unable to speak or use his hands, he is able to communicate clearly using an eyegaze computer that is mounted on his power chair; using that eyegaze computer Steve ordered a Harpoon Cider and a Boston Irish Stout when we went back to the beer hall for a beer after the brew.
Our Ales for ALS session IPA will be on tap in our Boston beer hall in May. We’ll let you know when to come in, try the beer, and support ALS research. We’re very proud to be a part of a brewing community that works together to support a cause that’s so important to us and to many in the extended Harpoon family.
By: Nick Godfrey - Former Harpoon Creative Director Published:
(Nick Godfrey, front and center, and the rest of the Harpoon Brewery team in 1993).
As you share all of your IPA stories, we want to share some of our own. In anticipation of this promotion, we spent some time reminiscing with some of the folks who have been involved with or supported Harpoon IPA over the past 20 years, and we asked them what they remembered. For this post, we have invited Nick Godfrey, who was the mastermind behind the original Harpoon IPA design, to tell his story:
At the time of the IPA launch as the first Harpoon summer seasonal there was a lot going on at Harpoon. There were about 10 of us in the company, craft beers were in mid-stride of taking off, and we were gaining momentum as a brewery. Harpoon Ale was our lead beer, with the Golden Lager in distant 2nd place. For seasonals, the Winter Warmer had been around for a number of years and was a fixture on the shelves and taps. Octoberfest which had only been on draft was now bottled. We wanted to expand into spring and summer. At this time this was not a standard practice for any brand, yet others were beginning to introduce seasonals.
For Spring, our thinking was to have a more full bodied beer to be enjoyed in the cold. Stout was the choice for this. For Summer we wanted a beer that was different from the current Ale and Golden Lager, that was unlike other competing brands and was a recognized, traditional style. I don’t believe that there was a Light-Bulb-Moment where IPA was born, yet quite quickly it was settled that this was to be the first Harpoon Summer seasonal.
My role at Harpoon was marketing, and since there were so few of us with everyone wearing multiple hats, so I also ended up doing all design. This included packaging. The Octoberfest was the first Harpoon beer in the current packaging style, with the checks, the corner decorations (leaves for the fall), and oval with the name Harpoon boldly placed in red, in the center. The thinking here was that the design and colors would pop off the shelf. The IPA looked as it does now with complimentary blue and orange that really pop, flowers, spears and ribbons.
IPA, or India Pale Ale, is a traditional British beer that was originally made for the British troops in India. The flowers chosen for the IPA packaging are summer Tiger Lilies – and there are also tigers in India. A match! The spears (not Harpoons) on the sides of the oval around the Harpoon logo represent the spears that the British officers, after treating themselves to a pint of IPA, would use to hunt.
It is great to see how this great beer has risen to be recognized and appreciated by beer drinkers as a leading brew in Boston and well beyond. Cheers!
Have a story like Nick? Share it with us in our contest for a chance at winning the "Harpoon IPA Experience" for a year, including entry to and accommodations at all of our festivals in Boston and Windsor, VT.