“Beer makes it better.” This is the driving philosophy behind The Hell Yes Project. The Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company (The ABGB) supports numerous Austin nonprofit organizations through this initiative, benefitting children, adults, dogs, and the natural environment.
Here are a few of the many ways you can drink beer to make life better for your fellow Austinites.
Hell Yes, Austin!
The ABGB starts off by donating 5 percent of profits to select Austin charity and nonprofit partners. By hosting fundraising, volunteering, and educational events, The Hell Yes Project continues to nurture our community.
Not only that, but the events are wildly fun and somehow so Austin. For example, the upcoming Freddie for a Day fundraiser for AIDS Services of Austin on Sept. 1, 2018, will have patrons dressing like Freddie Mercury (with a mustache, at least), dancing to local Queen cover band Magnifico, and participating in a Freddie Mercury/Queen lip-sync contest.
On Sept. 16, 2018, The ABGB will host A Night of Strait Country honoring George Strait–the man and his music–and benefiting SIMS Foundation, Austin’s nonprofit champion of musicians and mental health. Both September events are ticketed, with proceeds going to their respective organizations.
The list of causes goes on from there: HAAM, Friends of Barton Springs Pool, Austin Pets Alive!, Amadeo’s Army, Central Texas Food Bank, Ghisallo Cycling Initiative, Austin Habitat for Humanity, We Are Blood, Foundation Communities, and others.
I knew The ABGB supported Austin nonprofits with The Hell Yes Project. But I didn’t realize the full scope of the brewery’s community-building until I met the project team, which includes only two dynamos: owner/advocate Mark Jensen and Events & Production Manager Millie Clark.
Why Are You So Good, ABGB?
The ABGB supports Austin’s nonprofit organizations by hosting fundraising events, providing manpower, coordinating and providing space for volunteer activities, and donating 5 percent of profits to local causes. When you visit The ABGB, whether at 2:30 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon or 10 p.m. Friday night, you’re bound to find a good crowd soaking up the sun, tunes, and beer, petting dogs, and making friends.
The ABGB hit the ground running in 2013 and hasn’t slowed down since. The high-quality craft beer is obviously a big draw. The food is solid, too, with hearty pizzas, satisfying salads, brats, and tasty tidbits (try the deviled eggs topped with crispy bacon).
The shaded patio, superb lineup of local bands, and overall good-times feel round out the list of attractions. I believe a lot of those good-times feels come from The Hell Yes Project and The ABGB’s perpetual attitude of gratitude. What comes around, goes around, as they say.
How The Hell Yes Project Began
Jensen explained, “We knew from the very beginning that we wanted this place to be a beacon, sort of a cultural gathering spot for the community, to use the power of beer to do good. That was always cooked into the plan of what The ABGB would be. But naming it the ‘Hell Yes Project’ and putting them all together under that umbrella came a little after the fact.”
The project is named for one of the craft brewery’s most popular and refreshing beers, the award-winning Hell Yes! helles lager. The powers that be discussed what they were passionate about in the early days. Some of their first few pet causes sprung from that: Barton Springs, bicycling, and dogs. That’s when the idea really started taking shape.
In these past five years, The Hell Yes Project’s reach has expanded quite a bit.
Manpower, Teamwork, and Fundraising
Out of that early discussion, the team decided to brew a beer specifically for the dogs at Austin Pets Alive!, called the APA! APA, an American Pale Ale series. The beer was intended to benefit Austin Pets Alive!, and help promote adoption and care for long-stay dogs.
The ABGB released the 11th batch in the series in June 2018. Each beer in the series highlights a single hop with a unique characteristic and flavor profile. One dollar for every pint sold helps find deserving dogs their forever homes. As of summer 2018, The ABGB team estimates they’ve raised more than $45,000 through sales of this special beer.
The Hell Yes Project also partners with Friends of Barton Springs Pool to clean up the springs once a month. There are three time slots for volunteers to sign up for, with one shift covered by an internal team of brewers, owners, and other employees. Volunteers are treated to a “slice of love” at The ABGB afterward.
Through the project, The ABGB has also hosted events with Save Our Springs Alliance, to educate and advocate for Barton Springs Pool preservation.
Ghisallo Cycling Initiative is another favorite of The Hell Yes Project. Groups sign up to buy a bike, then show up at The ABGB to build it together. The bikes become part of a lending library at Langford Elementary School.
For only $200, a group can sponsor a lending library rider that includes a bike, helmet, lock, and lights. An elementary school child can then check out the bike to ride around his or her community.
The Hell Yes Project is building a house this year with Austin Habitat for Humanity, named The House That Beer Built. Austin Habitat for Humanity is a long-time beneficiary organization. The ABGB recently raised funds for this project during its annual MCA-Day.
September to Remember
The Hell Yes Project dishes out dozens of opportunities to get involved locally as part of a volunteer group, by attending a fun event or merely patronizing The ABGB. However, the September 2018 Hell Yes Project calendar offers a dizzying number of ways to help—and have fun at the same time. Remember, beer makes it better.
Here’s a quick glance at The ABGB’s sexy September 2018.
- Sept. 1 – Freddie for a Day (AIDS Services of Austin). True confession: the first album I ever bought with my own money was Queen’s “News of the World.” So yeah, I’ll be there singing along to every song.
- Sept. 2 – The ABGB 5th Anniversary Party (Austin Habitat for Humanity). Enjoy pizza, beer, and live music from Leo Rondeau and Little Mikey and the Soda Jerks, and play the PILS PILS PILS challenge to benefit Austin Habitat for Humanity. You can also buy a custom-painted, one of a kind, trucker hat, painted by SpraTX artists as another fundraiser.
- Sept. 5 – Long Stay Dog Love Day (Austin Pets Alive!). Volunteers work on enrichment activities and kennel set up for the long-stay dogs. Then they spend some one-on-one time giving these shelter angels extra love and social media shout-outs, to help get the word out to potential adopters.
- Sept. 6 – Barton Springs Pool Clean Up (Friends of Barton Springs).
- Sept. 11 – HAAM Benefit Day. Come out to the free music showcase (lineup TBD) and raise money for Health Alliance for Austin Musicians with every purchase.
- Sept. 13 – Build Day at The House That Beer Built (Austin Habitat for Humanity). Sign up online, dress appropriately, and plan on a full day actually raising the walls with The ABGB staff, musicians, and friends.
- Sept. 15 – Strut Your Mutt Team Event (Best Friends Animal Society). Austin’s own Freddy Pickles, doggy celeb, and his mom are leading The ABGB team in this fundraising dog walk to help shelter dogs.
- Sept. 15 – A Night of Strait Country (SIMS Foundation). Amarillo by Morning and The ABGB by night! Hosted by Jacob Jaeger and Kristopher Wade, and featuring The Space in the Hole Band (consisting of some red hot Austin talent). Did I ever tell you I saw George Strait live at the rodeo? It’s true, and I don’t want to miss this event!
- Sept. 26 – Volunbeer (Central Texas Food Bank). Come learn more about Central Texas Food Bank’s mission and programs, listen to south Austin music’s darling of the stage, Warren Hood, and bring the food bank’s most requested food items during a one-night food drive.
Raise a Glass, Lift Up Your Community
How do I love thee, ABGB? Let me count the ways. Oh wait, I can’t count that high. Nobody could ever count that high (apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning). Thanks for your generous Hell Yes Project, your beer (especially Big Mama Red and Hell Yes!), your charm and love of dogs, and for the food! See y’all real soon.
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@jojoaustin wants to know:
Which Hell Yes Project event will bring you to The ABGB this month?
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