To date, Solace’s Falls Church location is the only local brewery to brew Brave Noise, a pale ale “collaboration with a big goal: a safe and discrimination-free industry.”
The project currently has over one hundred brewery partners, ranging from Maryland and Virginia to Canada and England. Locally, however, the Falls Church brewpub offshoot of Solace’s Sterling location is the only participant.
“Brave Noise is a global collaborative effort to provide inclusive and safe environments for women, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ throughout the beer industry. By brewing this beer, your brewery is standing in solidarity with those who shared their stories about mistreatment and who are survivors of gender discrimination, racism, sexual assault, and harassment within the industry. By standing with us now, you are part of the movement for change that is long overdue in beer,” per the organizers of the movement.
Further afield in Virginia Oozlefinch Beers and Blending, Hampton; Random Row Brewing Company-Charlottesville; and The Veil Brewing Company in Richmond have signed on. In Maryland, Ten Eyck of Queenstown is the sole participant.
Solace Outpost Head Brewer Sam Puffenbarger says proceeds will go to DC’s Casa Ruby, the only LGBTQ bilingual and multicultural non-profit organization in the area. In Hyattsville, Streetcar 82 has also pledged to brew the Brave Noise beer, and are working with their staff to develop their code of conduct. Thus far, no brewery in the District proper has signed on to the project. Brave Noise has asked for participation by December. Solace itself is no stranger to charitable beers; the 2021 batch of Rescue Ale, an IPA brewed with Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation and Lost Dog Cafe, is available now as well.
As stated on the site: “Brave Noise is advocating for safe spaces and inclusive environments by requesting breweries be transparent with their policies and commit to long-term work.” In order to brew the beer, breweries must publish a code of conduct, make a charitable contribution to a related non-profit or charity, and commit to long-term change. Clearly it’s too soon to condemn participating breweries that don’t live up to this, but it makes us wonder why more haven’t signed on.
There are difficulties inherent in beers with a charitable element or brewed to raise awareness. Last summer’s Black is Beautiful beer, 2020’s All Together and 2018’s Resilience IPA are examples of efforts that were both successful and fraught with difficulties. Some of the challenges brewing a beer for a charitable purpose are logistical, like tracking funds with beer sold at the brewery, at bars/restaurants, and in bottle shops. Others, like making sure participating breweries make good on their promises have proven trickier. Resilience IPA had issues with pledged proceeds from participating breweries. At one point, over half the donations went unreceived.
Brave Noise is different in that the beer project’s creators are asking breweries to release their codes of conduct and commit to long-term change. But can this beer achieve these ambitious goals?
Stay tuned as we follow along, tracking what the Brave Noise project will look like locally. It’s difficult to answer, but as some of those in our community have asked already, why have far fewer breweries joined Brave Noise than say Resilience, Black is Beautiful, or All Together? Short of a massive sign up in the next 60 days, it appears the project will have less signed on than the previously mentioned ones. Does that matter? Can the project be more effective given its constraints are more specific than the others? Time will tell.
In the meantime, Solace is hiring, both kitchen and front of the house staff, for their next outpost, which will be in the District, near Audi Field. If you’re interested, please reach out to them.