The fight against inequality, racism, and police violence has taken many forms in recent months - including Black Is Beautiful, a beer collaboration organized by Marcus Baskerville, the founder and head brewer of Weathered Souls Brewing in San Antonio.
Baskerville made the recipe for his imperial-style Black Is Beautiful stout public (you can even brew it at home), and is donating proceeds from sales to the Know Your Rights Camp. Looking to, uh, tap into the community, he then asked his fellow brewers to put their own spin on his stout, or use their own recipes - all they had to do was agree to donate 100% of proceeds to racial justice organizations.
Since launching in mid-June, over 1,000 breweries in all 50 states (and 20 countries) have joined - including several of Southern California’s biggest and best. So whether you’re a certified Cicerone, a beginning brewer, or just want to help fight the good fight, we’ve picked a brewery and a beer for every situation.
If You’re A Coffee Freak.
Downtown LA’s excellent Mumford Brewing created this imperial stout - weighing in at 10% ABV - with coffee and cacao, which makes it taste like a French roast coffee. They’re donating all proceeds to ACLU Socal.
If You Want To Support A Black-Owned Brewery (And Like Pecan Pie).
One of the first Black-owned breweries in Los Angeles, Crowns & Hops is a newcomer on the LA scene. They’ve got a soon-to-open taproom in Inglewood, but they’ll have their iteration of Black Is Beautiful in local bottle shops this week. It’s a sweet one: A 7% ABV pecan pie stout, brewed with pecans (obviously), molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla. This is what we call a dessert beer. Proceeds are going to Black Lives Matter LA and the Anti Police-Terror Project.
If You Want To Show Off To Your Beer Nerd Friends.
If beer nerds are Captain Ahab, Monkish beers are the white whales of LA. That means this one will be really hard to get your hands on. Monkish’s take on Weathered Souls’ recipe is brewed without any adjuncts - meaning it’s a malty, roasty 10% ABV imperial stout. Think of tiramisu. They’re donating their profits to The NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
If You Ever Wished You Could Get Drunk On Mounds Bars.
San Diego spot Belching Beaver is making a (comparatively) light option, brewing a 7.5% ABV milk stout with lots of dark chocolate and coconut, and a small amount of vanilla. Their proceeds are going to San Diegans For Justice, an organization committed to increasing police accountability in the city
If You Like Chocolate Ganache.
Ambitious Ales, a brewery in Long Beach’s Bixby Knolls, released their version of Black Is Beautiful as a bourbon barrel-aged stout, with an aggressive 11% ABV. Expect it to be smooth and rich, like drinking a chocolate ganache, or hanging out with George Clooney. All profits will be donated to The Okra Project, a collective that brings home-cooked and healthy meals and resources to Black trans people.
If You Love San Diego.
Alesmith is leading what they call a “mega-collaboration” of 20 San Diego breweries for this iteration of the imperial stout, which stands at 12.5% ABV and is brewed with cacao nibs, cinnamon, and coffee and vanilla beans. They’re donating proceeds to San Diegans For Justice, as well.
If You Want To Support Food Justice.
San Pedro’s Brouwerij West is another spot that went straightforward with this one, using the original recipe and brewing a 10% ABV stout. They’re splitting proceeds equally amongst Know Your Rights Camp and the National Black Food And Justice Alliance, a coalition with the goal of increasing food justice in Black communities and increasing Black food sovereignty.
If You Want To Support Black-Owned Coffee Growers.
For their version of this beer, Oxnard’s excellent Casa Agria sourced coffee beans from JNP Coffee, a Black- and female-owned coffee grower and importer. Casa brewed Weathered Souls’ recipe to make a roasty, espresso-forward imperial stout. Proceeds are going to the Ventura County chapter of the ACLU Defense Fund.
If You Want To Support A People’s Budget For Long Beach.
A relative newcomer to the Long Beach beer scene, Long Beach Beer Lab brewed a straightforward version of the original recipe. They’re donating proceeds to the California Conference For Equality And Justice, an organization dedicated to fighting racism through education, and the Long Beach Gray Panthers, who are fighting for a 2021 People’s Budget in Long Beach. They also bake chocolate challah bread every Friday, which is an excellent accompaniment to this roasty stout.
If You Want To Taste A World-Class Blend.
Firestone Walker really brought out the big guns for their blend of this stout - 55% fresh stout brewed using Weathered Souls’ recipe, 30% Parabola (their fantastic barleywine) aged in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels, and 15% Velvet Merkin (another excellent stout) aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels for 14 months. It’s a super-sweet, boozy blend that you’re going to love. Proceeds go to The NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
If You Want An IPA Support Racial Justice, Too.
Common Space in Hawthorne is brewing a pair of beers for racial justice. They’re brewing Black Is Beautiful, and donating the proceeds to Campaign Zero, but they’re also brewing their own beer called Take Action, a citra-forward IPA, with all proceeds going to Black Lives Matter LA.
If You Want Something From An Old Standard.
Classic Sam Adams-owned Arts District spot Angel City released their version of Black Is Beautiful earlier this month, using Weathered Souls’ recipe. They’ll be donating proceeds (up to $4,800) to The NAACP.
If You Prefer Light Beers.
Beachwood Brewing in Long beach isn’t participating in Black Is Beautiful, but they do have a new brew called To Long Beach With Love, an extremely drinkable, aromatic German-style Pils. They’re also donating to the California Conference For Equality And Justice.