Black is Beautiful Beer Collaboration

As our nation continues to navigate the injustices related to Black people in America and our own city, Richmond, grapples with distrust toward the police department, there has been positive movements that have risen during this time. 

One notable action is the “Black is Beautiful” beer and initiative that Marcus J. Baskerville, Head Brewer at Weathered Souls Brewing Co., has created. The BIB beer has a base stout recipe created by Baskerville, as well as a beautiful gradient of shades of brown for the label. According to the Weathered Souls, this is “a collaborative effort to raise awareness for the injustice people of color face and raise funds for police brutality reform and legal defense for those who have been wronged.”

With over 900 breweries committed to this initiative, Richmond has also stepped in to spread awareness through craft beer. There are currently 28 breweries participating here in Virginia. I got with a few of my brewery homies here in Richmond and asked some questions about their involvement with the Black is Beautiful beer collaboration. Full disclosure, I was able to attend and brew with The Answer on this collaboration. Local Beer Ambassador for The Answer, CM Bryant, helped organize the collaboration, along with Head Brewer, Zach Warren and Assistant Brewer, Lacey Whitaker guided us as we went along the brewing process. Look forward to a big bodied stout with Rwanda Kigeyo coffee from Black owned coffee company Roasters Next Door, located in Roanoke, VA. 

Brian Preston, Shawn Preston, Kyle Bailey, and An Mekong

The Answer Brewpub – Kim McNamee, Manager

Why was this an important initiative for The Answer to be a part of?

Beer is the answer, but community is a very close second for us here at the Answer Brewpub. We constantly seek out ways to help out or local community as well as our wider beer family across the country, so when we saw a way to show our support for our family from the Black community, we knew we had to participate! The brewing industry in general is notably lacking in representation, but here at the Answer our staff and clientele are very diverse, we even have a female assistant brewer, which is extremely rare as anyone who knows beer is aware. We are grateful to be led by a generous and forward-thinking man who happens to be a minority himself and who seeks to extend opportunities to anyone and everyone regardless of the color of their skin.

How has feedback been from the Richmond community as it relates to this initiative and to the overall pulse of the country?

The Answer staff has been out with the community speaking out for change as it relates to the current protests going on around the world. Our clientele and staff were all very excited about our participation in the Black is Beautiful initiative. Visually, Richmond draws more attention to the national eye at times like these because of our seemingly endless statues built to commemorate men who are constant reminders to Black Americans of their oppression throughout history and unfortunately, to this day. There are those that don’t see the need for change, but those who do have voices that are louder and stronger and full of more love, and if Richmond is any indicator of how the country is feeling as a whole, the fight won’t end until we accomplish what the Black is Beautiful initiative has set out to achieve.

The Answer will contribute the proceeds from this collaboration to Campaign Zero and SisterFund.

Hardywood Park Craft BreweryEric McKay, President, Co-founder

Why was this an important initiative for Hardywood to be a part of?

Our community is really hurting right now, and we felt the Black is Beautiful initiative was a great way we can do what we do best and bring people together over delicious beer.

How has feedback been from the Richmond community as it relates to this initiative and to the overall pulse of the country?

To me, Weathered Souls really hit the nail on the head in terms of a timely and fun way to unite our industry in a way that celebrates diversity and inclusivity. The early discussion of this beer, which will be brewed by a number of breweries in the Richmond area, has been really positive, and I think that sentiment will only grow as awareness increases.

Do you have a release date for the “Black is Beautiful” beer? Any other details you can share? ABV? Adjuncts? Collaborators? Etc.?

Sterling Stokes, also known as “Richmond Beermeister,” brought this initiative to our attention, and so we’re honored to have him collaborating with us on the recipe. The release date hasn’t been announced yet, but it will most likely be the last week of July or first week of August.

Hardywood plans to contribute 100% of the proceeds to the Richmond Black Restaurant Experience. Any retailers interested in participating can email to preorder kegs or cases. 

Strangeways Brewing Company – Bo Elliott, Head Brewer

Why was this an important initiative for Strangeways to be a part of?

Strangeways Brewing is proud to participate in the “Black is Beautiful” beer initiative from Weathered Souls Brewing Co. The Initiative is intended to bring awareness to the injustices that many people of color face daily and to help bridge the gap that’s been around for ages and provide a platform to show that the brewing community is an inclusive place for everyone of any color.

How has feedback been from the Richmond community as it relates to this initiative and to the overall pulse of the country?

Reception in the community and on social media has been positive so far. I hope this trend continues when the beer is released, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some pushback from some people who miss the point. There are still a lot of people who hold ignorant views in this country, and if this beer isn’t for them we’re okay with that. Sometimes you have to stand for what’s right instead of what’s safe. Richmond has been central in the recent protests and hopefully those efforts are a force for positive change that brings people and our country closer together. 

Do you have a release date for the “Black is Beautiful” beer? Any other details you can share? ABV? Adjuncts? Collaborators? Etc.?

The recipe is based off the Imperial Stout recipe provided by Weathered Souls for the project with a few slight tweaks. I’ve upped the roast flavor a bit to differentiate from some of the other breweries involved in the collab and also tailored the mash profile to produce a rich, full bodied brew with slight sweetness. ABV will be in the low 9% range. Regarding adjuncts, I am using a healthy amount of flaked oats in the mash and sugar in the kettle to boost gravity.  

Strangeways will contribute 100% of the proceeds from BIB to Girls for a Change.

The Veil Brewing Co. – Matt Tarpey, Head Brewer

Why was this an important initiative for The Veil to be a part of?

The Black is Beautiful initiative is a way for the beer industry to spread awareness of the racial injustices still going on today and provides a way to give back to the Black community. In an overwhelmingly white industry, it was important for us at The Veil to take a bold anti-racist stance and stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The Black is Beautiful initiative provides breweries with a physical way to support the cause, all while brewing a style of beer that we love making. Our hope is that out of tragedy and injustice, meaningful and sustainable change will take place.

How has feedback been from the Richmond community as it relates to this initiative and to the overall pulse of the country?

The project has been well-received, both locally and nationwide, and The Veil is proud to be a part of it. We believe in justice and unity and are excited to support projects that help lift up the Black community as we support and continue the nationwide fight for racial justice.

Do you have a release date for the “Black is Beautiful” beer? Any other details you can share? ABV? Adjuncts? Collaborators? Etc.?

Our version of Black is Beautiful clocks in at 11% ABV and is brewed with Blanchard’s single origin coffee, caramel sauce, and maple syrup. It will be released on July 7 in Richmond and July 8 in Norfolk. 

The Veil plans to contribute proceeds to The Richmond Transparency and Accountability Project.

For more information on the Black is Beautiful beer, visit, there you’ll also find the breweries in your area that are participating. Please support if you can and continue to stand, fight and speak up for the injustices that surround us in these trying times. Creating this beer is by no means an “end all” to racism in our country, but it is a clarion call to those who oppose it and is a celebration that Black truly is Beautiful.

Until next time, its ya man Uncap. Cheers!

CategoriesDrink Local, General, Play

Eric Jackson is on a mission to uncap everything in RVA. A recent Atlanta transplant, Jackson is known in craft beer circles for his popular blog, Uncap Everything. Having landed in Richmond earlier this year, Jackson wasted no time getting to know all things beer, art, and culture in the river city. Jackson is also the cofounder of Capsoul podcast, magazine, and monthly hop crawl—all of which work to build community through service and love for craft beer. Through these platforms, Jackson hopes to bring everyone to the table to address diversity and enjoy a good beer together.