Beers for a cause Sunday at Mad Chef

By on November 29, 2017

Francisco Ramirez talks about the post-hurricane needs for the people of Puerto Rico. Sunday’s fundraiser at Mad Chef Craft Brewing in East Petersburg will provide some relief.


I ran into Francisco Ramirez a few days after hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. Before even talking about what was new at his Mad Chef Craft Brewing in East Pete, I had to inquire about his friends and family on the Caribbean island. Everyone was safe and sound, but the stories of devastation were abundant.

Maria, when it made contact with Puerto Rico, registered as the tenth-most intense hurricane in recorded history; it left inhabitants in shambles, many without basic human necessities. The category five hurricane slammed into the Yabucoa Harbor on September 20 causing damage estimated at over $103 billion. Ramirez’s relations were safe, but there was a general call for help. He answered immediately and then decided to set up an event to enlist the help of others.

This Sunday, December 3, visitors to Mad Chef will be able to raise money for residents affected by Maria and at the same time try out some amazing beers from Mad Chef and other local breweries. From now until it is gone all proceeds from There Gose Maria, a collab brew between Mad Chef and a Puerto Rican brewery, will go to an islander-run aid group focused on getting money directly to those in need. The group is the same used by American Pickers star Danielle Colby, who is extremely active in raising money for the island nation.

There Gose Maria (4.3 percent ABV) is currently being poured at Mad Chef. I’ve always been a big fan of gose beers, the salty, wheat-based brews once on the brink of extinction. Hailing from Goslar, Germany, gose beers (once only found as a regional specialty in Europe) started attracting the attention of craft brewers a couple years ago and have been growing in popularity ever since.

Also on tap just for Sunday will be kegs from St. Boniface, Columbia Kettle Works, The Brewery at Hershey, and Mike Knaub Brewery, which will be available for $2 (or more depending on your generosity) per pour.

“Traveling Tap is donating their time and their coolers,” said Ramirez while he was still planning the event. “We’ll also do a silent auction or raffle.”

Visitors can enter a chance to win several awesome prizes: a group tour and tasting for up to 10 guests and one free bottle of wine from The Vineyard at Grandview; a Mad Chef “Basket of Swag” including a growler, two pint glasses, two t-shirts, and a $50 gift card; plus, the grand prize of an opportunity to brew with Francisco and brewer Sean Raney. Gift basket prizes are also coming from The Brewery at Hershey, Columbia Kettle Works, and Waltz Vineyard. Entertainment will be provided by Lancaster-based troubadour Steven Courtney.

“A large percentage of the island is still without power,” wrote Mad Chef President Greg Kendig in a Facebook post on November 22. “Residents in mountain towns like Utuado, Aibonito, Naranjito, Corozal, Comerío, Barranquitas have been completely isolated by Maria. Many of these areas have still not been visited by FEMA as they are still not accessible, so human loss and damage estimates are expected to climb in the coming months.”

Maybe on Sunday the Lancaster craft beer scene can help alleviate some of that damage. Cheers and thanks for reading!

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at and

In hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, volunteers hand out water, food, batteries, solar lamps, tarps, and more. Most of all, they offer a helping hand and the hope that things will get better. They call it “un abrazo pa mi gente,” a hug to my people. Sunday’s fundraiser at Mad Chef hopes to add another helping hand to the ongoing effort. (Submitted photo)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *