BRATTLEBORO — Whetstone Beer Co. is combining two of its loves: beer and adventure.
Pints for Parks will celebrate different Vermont State Parks. The inaugural launch celebration is happening from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday at Jamaica State Park, to coincide with the springtime whitewater release.
“Jamaica State Park is the perfect park to showcase a Kolsch,” Tim Brady, Whetstone co-founder, said of the company’s latest limited-run beer tied to the event.
The Kolsch is a beer born in Cologne, Germany, landing somewhere between a lager and an ale (it requires brewing techniques particular to both styles of beer). Brady described Whetstone’s Kolsch as “well-balanced and subtle.”
“It’s perfect for a warm spring day while relaxing after whitewater rafting or exploring your favorite state park,” he said.
Brady recounted partnering with Vermont State Parks in 2014, creating Fort Dummer Summer and Molly Stark Dark beers in honor of the local parks. Nearly 10 years later, the prospect of returning to the idea had come up with the state’s marketing team.
Now, Brady said, Whetstone Beer Co. can take it to a much higher level. “We’ve grown tremendously since 2014,” he said.
Brewing operations have expanded, and the company now has a canning line and distribution.
Pints for Parks will see Whetstone Beer Co. donating proceeds from the beer to Vermont Parks Forever, the state park system’s charity. Draft beer will be available at The Station at Whetstone Beer Co. and select locations throughout Vermont.
Only 3,000 cans will be sold, all of which will come with a removable, collectible sticker.
Each year, two beers will be rolled out as part of the initiative. One will come in the spring and another in the fall.
“This program is a terrific way to celebrate Vermont’s amazing state park system and encourage folks to get outside,” Nate McKeen, director of Vermont State Parks, said in a statement. “Whetstone is a terrific company to work with [that] understands the value of outdoor recreation and connecting people to the parks.”
Next up is a beer related to Quechee State Park, which will drop during fall foliage.
“The Quechee Gorge is fantastic that time of year,” Brady said.
His team wanted to focus on parks near and dear to their hearts in the first year. David Hiler, co-owner of Whetstone, lived in Jamaica, and Brady and his wife, Amy, would regularly hike Jamaica State Park when they first moved to Vermont in 2006.
“We would do the falls,” Brady said. “We always like a hike with a reward at the end.”
He expects upcoming releases to involve parks that staff at Vermont State Parks want to draw more attention to.
“There are a lot of state parks in Vermont,” he said. “Some of them are very, very small.”
When the Fort Dummer themed beer was made, Whetstone employees filled dozens of 5-gallon jugs with water from the park and boiled it. Brady said he doesn’t think that particular plan could be executed again, but his team has ideas to get ingredients from other parks into upcoming beers.
“We are grateful for this creative partnership that will showcase Vermont’s beautiful state parks and raise awareness of Vermont Parks Forever, the foundation for Vermont’s state parks,” Sarah Alberghini Winters, executive director of the parks’ charity, said in a statement. “The support from Whetstone Beer Co. will bolster VPF’s efforts to expand nature education in the parks and provide more free entry through the Park Access Fund.”
Whetstone Beer Co. has 12 core brands or flagship beers. Brady said the company recently launched a pilot program to allow its brewers to be experimental, and then their creations are sold at The Station on a limited basis.
That’s how Border Line was developed. Brady said several pilot batches led to the creation of the beer celebrating the company’s location on the Vermont and New Hampshire borders.