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Homebrewers to host Dec. 23 benefit for SIUH Employee Relief Fund

Homebrewers Raise a Glass to Medical Staff Who Helped Sandy Victims


Photo courtesy of Bitter and Esters
John La Polla teachers students how to brew at Bitter and Esters. The store is donating beer and two gift certificates for classes to Pour to Restore, a homebrewing event that will raise money for Staten Island University Hospital employees affected by Hurricane Sandy.
ST. GEORGE — A Staten Island
homebrew club is raising a glass to celebrate hospital employees who worked to help patients even as their own homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Pour Standards will host the Pour to Restore homebrew beer-tasting to raise money for workers at Staten Island University Hospital.

“Our employees were still working while trying to repair their homes, trying to find relief,” said Sean Torres, 27, who leads the Pour Standards club and works at SIUH.

“We thought that donating to the first responders, the patient-care workers here, would help them out a lot.”

All proceeds from the $30 event, set for Sunday, Dec. 23 at 120 Bay Cafe, will be donated to the Staten Island University Hospital’s Employee Benefit Fund, which was started after Sandy to help employees in the storm's aftermath.

Hospital spokeswoman Arleen Ryback said 50 employees lost their homes during Sandy, and another 250 were affected.

Each guest will get a wristband that allows them to sample more than 20 different brews made by about 17 homebrewers from Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan and New Jersey.

“One of our goals at the homebrew club was kind of to do things for the community,” Torres said.

Club members were interested in hosting a fundraiser for Staten Islanders even before the hurricane hit, but they couldn’t figure out where to donate the money.

Once Sandy struck, the need was clear.

“We said, ‘We definitely have to do something now,’” Torres said.

Torres said the benefit will put money directly into the hands of hospital workers affected by Sandy.

“Anything donated to that fund goes straight to the employees,” he said.

For those who might want to learn how to brew their own beer, Pour to Restore will be raffling off two gift certificates for homebrewing classes at Bitter & Esters in Prospect Heights, valued at $110 each.

“We’re happy to give away gift cards for a good cause like this,” said Douglas Amport, co-owner of Bitter & Esters.

“A lot of people up here are very lucky that [Sandy] didn’t affect us at all. We got to spread the luck.”

The homebrew supply store is also donating 10 gallons of a hoppy pale ale, Dr. Feelgood, and possibly a Belgian-styled pale ale for the event.

Pour Standards organizers, who hope to be far more than a group that chats about beer recipes, see this event as the first of many community-minded projects.

"These kinds of events, we want to continue doing," Torres said.

Torres said he was surprised by the quick and generous outpouring of support from homebrewers.

“When you think of beer, you would imagine that people would want to keep it for themselves,” said Torres about the often expensive hobby. “It’s a lot of work. It’s almost a full day to brew a beer, and you have to wait for it to ferment a week.

“These guys are just giving it away,” he said. “It’s not cheap.”

Pour to Restore will be held on Dec. 23, at 120 Bay Cafe, starting at noon. Tickets are $30 and can be bought online at pourtorestore.com.  Participants must be at least 21 years old.

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