On Saturday, Jan. 16 Blitz Ladd hosted a release party for Gilgamesh Brewing’s Terry Porter beer, named after the retired Portland Trail Blazer basketball player. A portion of the proceeds from the new limited-edition craft beer will benefit the Oregon Health Sciences University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation.
The idea for the brew originally sprouted from a conversation between the sales manager for Gilgamesh, Andrew Radtke, and his friend who runs a blog site for Trail Blazer fans, Pinwheel Empire.
Then, when Radtke approached Porter to have him sign a gift basket for another charity project, he proposed the idea of brewing his own beer; Porter immediately liked the idea.
“It’s been incredible. We couldn’t ask for a better person,” Radtke said. “Being able to work with a hero and someone I idolized–he’s such a good role model. He’s just as good of a person as I thought he was.”
Porter has served on the board for Doernbecher’s for a year and admires what they do, so he asked them what they needed funding for. They are in the process of constructing a five-story guest house facility at OHSU South Waterfront campus for patients and their families, many of whom come from all over Oregon and Southern Washington.
“It’s a really big burden on their plate when they have to try to find lodging,” Porter said. “We give them a place where they can sleep, get a little pause, a little break before they have to go to the hospital. We’re really just trying to make it more convenient for them during a difficult time for them and their families.”
Together, Gilgamesh and Columbia Distributing are donating $2 for every bottle and $40 for every case sold. So far the venture has exceeded their expectations.
“The response has been unbelievable,” Porter said. “We’re hoping this is building momentum until the end of the basketball season and we will be able to present a very big check to Doernbecher.”
Gilgamesh is a relatively new brewery that started six years ago in Salem, Oregon, but this project has been one its greatest rewards.
“This project is far above anything I ever dreamed of,” Radtke said. “Having the opportunity to use our business and use our reach to do good things that normally we wouldn’t be able to do as an individual. It’s awesome to get all this support from the community and Terry and Columbia Distributing. Everyone’s collaborated really well.”
In addition to lending his name, Porter also helped brew the test batch. “I’ve never made a beer,” Porter said. “We had to work through a couple different batches like mad scientists!”
The Terry Porter porter is dark and rich with a taste of chocolate and hint of smoke. It’s a little sweet, but not too sweet.
“People are very excited about it,” said Jered Adkins, a server at Blitz Ladd. “So far we’ve sold over $1000. People love the name, and they really like the new beer.”
Radtke was focused on making a beer that everyone could enjoy.
“It’s a great tasting beer,” Porter said. “Most porters have a bitter finish, but this isn’t bitter at all. It’s very smooth. Kinda’ like me!”