Delahunt Brewing will release “Never Forget Pale Ale,” a collaboration brew with the Fallen Firefighter Relief Fund, during a fundraising event on Sunday, Jan. 8, with proceeds benefiting the nonprofit.
The idea for the collaboration sparked two years ago, after a firefighter walked into Delahunt’s brewery in San Clemente and began chatting with the local brewers.
“They thought it would be a great idea to work with us and come up with a collaboration brew,” Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Brian Abney said.
In November 2022, several members of the firefighter union met with Delahunt’s brewers to help with the brewing process.
“We helped choose the hops, we helped with the grains, all the different ingredients that are required to create a beer, and Delahunt came up with the recipe so the exact measurements of the hops and the grains and everything that’s needed,” Abney said.
After the beer fermented for several weeks, the firefighters returned to help can the beer to prepare it to be sold at their upcoming event.
Abney described the collaboration brew as “a great, light bodied, light colored pale ale, that’s not too hoppy, that’s low on the alcohol percentage at 5.6%. It’s not bitter at all.”
The brew’s name, “Never Forget Pale Ale,” serves a couple of significant meanings for firefighters.
“When you come up with beer names, you want something catchy, you want something to rhyme, you want something that makes sense,” Abney said. “Ever since 9/11, when you think about firefighters and you think about firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty, you think ‘never forget.’”
The name also shares the same acronym as the National Fire Protection Association, the governing body that manages safety regulations for firefighters throughout the country, Abney explained.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Fallen Firefighter Relief Fund. The nonprofit was formed after two firefighters, Allen Donalen and Capt. Tom Wall died in October 1998.
“The whole point of our foundation was, No. 1, to take care of the families of our two fallen firefighters,” Abney said. “Then we wanted to not only take care of our own in Orange County Fire Authority, but the point of the Orange County Firefighter Relief Fund is to directly take care of firefighters and their families.”
Not only does the Fallen Firefighter Relief Fund benefit firefighters in need in Orange County, the nonprofit also makes donations across the country, Abney said.
“So, if you’re in Orange County and you’re a firefighter, we’re here to assist you and your family in your time of need,” Abney said. “We also make donations all over the state and actually, all over the country to different firefighters and their families when they have an injury or illness.”
Releasing the collaboration brew in January is particularly poignant for firefighters, Abney added, as January is National Firefighters Cancer Awareness Month.
The design on the Never Forget Pale Ale can also pays tribute to the late Firefighter Engineer Mike Tooley, who passed away from job related cancer in early December, Abney said.
“Right now, believe it or not, cancer is the No. 1 cause of firefighter-on-the-job death and retired firefighters at this point, due to our job-related exposures,” Abney said. “So, this was a long time coming, there’s a lot of meaning behind it.”
As the name implies, Abney added, “we never want to forget a firefighter lost in the line of duty, a firefighter lost in retirement due to job related cancer, cardiac or any other disease.”
“It means a lot to our union, who facilitates this 501c3, it means a lot to the members, it’s going to mean a lot to the family of Mike Tooley because his name is on that can,” Abney continued.
On the flier advertising the event, each face bordering the flier is of a firefighter who lost their life, “either to job related cancer or to another related injury that was caused by their work as a firefighter.”
“This event means a lot to us, it’s a great honor to be a part of it and to be remembering our members and our friends and our co-workers,” Abney said.
Delahunt Brewing Owner Todd Delahunt added that this event is “our chance to give a little back to a group of people that have given and continue to give so much to our community …We’re excited and proud to be a part of this event with the OC Firefighters.”
Sunday’s event will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature a raffle and silent auction at the Dana Point Delahunt Taproom and Taqueria. T-shirts sporting the “Never Forget Pale Ale” design will also be for sale.
The collaboration brew will only be available at the tap room the day of the event until it’s sold out, a representative of Delahunt said.
“This is an opportunity for the public to come and show their support to their firefighters here in Orange County and firefighters across the state and across the nation,” Abney said.
“It’s a great opportunity for camaraderie, to remember those who’ve lost their lives in the line of duty or due to job related cancer or disease,” Abney continued. “It’s an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of these firefighters and the contributions that their families made by allowing them to serve the public.”
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