Good friends Keil Jansen and Erik Lars Myers are master brewers—beer nerds, if you’d like, which means every ingredient in their creations has been carefully considered.
So when the respective bosses of Durham’s Ponysaurus and Hillsborough’s Mystery Brewing decided to collaborate on a beer to support North Carolina’s LGBTQ community in the fight against HB 2, they went with a style that makes a big-tent statement. Jansen says the forthcoming “Don’t Be Mean to People: A Golden Rule Saison” is “the best beer we could make by using North Carolina ingredients. Literally. We looked at what we had available, and thought this beer fit it.”
Using ingredients such as our state’s barley, wheat, and sorghum, he says, reflects the spirit of thirty North Carolina breweries coming together for this project. Those breweries stretch from as far west as Sylva (Innovation Brewing) to Carolina Beach and New Bern back east (Good Hops and Brewery 99). Jansen says the beer, with a golden-to-light-brown hue, will have an ABV of about 6.5 percent.
“We’re using the house saison yeast from Mystery Brewing,” says Jansen. “They have their own kind of strain they’ve cultivated. I know from drinking Erik’s beer that the beer will be, certainly, a little bit fruity, and probably pretty dry.”
Ponysaurus will supply the hops, already featured in its Weissbier—”classic banana and clove” with “refreshing tartness and citrus notes.”
“We’re brewing it this Saturday,” says Jansen. “It’ll take about two weeks to ferment. We’re giving it about a month from this Saturday to have it ready, in cans, for people to pick up.”
One hundred percent of proceeds from the beer will be split between Equality NC and Queer Oriented Radical Days of Summer, which organizes camping trips for queer and transgender youth. The brewers opted to offset all expenses with a crowdfunding campaign, fulfilled in about four hours this afternoon. The beer can be purchased at a fundraising site, and it will be divvied out to all participating breweries. Jansen gives credit to Myers for assembling those.
“He’s written a book on North Carolina breweries,” says Jansen. “We’ve been tossing this idea around, but he used his connections and email list that he generated from writing this book to make sure we got a hold of everybody.”
Most of the support from those breweries, he adds, will be from donated labor.
“Some people will be sending folks down on the actual brew day to pitch in,” he says. “What we really need to have is a big tent. What we really need is to have a big voice. And every brewery that signs on adds to that.”
In a Monday release, Myers said, “We didn’t feel that HB 2 represents us as businesses or as residents of North Carolina. We wanted to do something in response, and making beer is what we do.”
Jansen says he’s glad they can share their message with people from all over the state, not just the Triangle.
“Here in Durham, here in Raleigh, here in the big cities, we’re pretty privileged in terms of how the communities respect our LGBTQ brothers and sisters,” Jansen says. “People in Durham are going to be fine. People are going to continue to use the bathroom. They’re going to work in places that respect their personal choices. But it’s everybody else in the state. It’s the communities where people have now, essentially, been given permission to be assholes.”
You can find a list of participating breweries at the fundraising page here, and a list of retailers will be posted later.