In an unorthodox collaboration, the Anderson Center for Autism in Staatsburg and Mill House Brewing Company in Poughkeepsie teamed up to create something special — a craft beer.
Mill House Brewing Company launched its special craft beer, Mr. Anderson, on April 3 for National Autism Awareness Month.
After joining the Anderson Center in 2012, RonDeena Ross said she wanted to do more work with other businesses in the community. One of her ideas was a beer.
“I thought it would be great to do an Anderson Ale,” Ross said.
Ross, development manager at the center, contacted several breweries, but none stood out. That is, until she met with Mill House Brewing Company.
“They were just so enthusiastic,” Ross said. “You could tell they cared about the community.”
After meeting with the brewmasters, Jamie Bishop and Larry Stock, they set to work on planning a special beer tailored to the center. Rather than simply name a beer after the center, Bishop said they wanted the beer to reflect the center and its founder, Victor V. Anderson.
“We didn’t want to just brew something and say its special,” Bishop said.
To help brainstorm flavors for the beer, Bishop said he and Stock spoke with Vance Gage, Anderson’s grandson.
A fan of craft beers and breweries, Gage was excited to help with the project and worked with Bishop and Stock the day they brewed Mr. Anderson.
Based on Anderson’s Scottish heritage, Mill House Brewing Company chose a Scottish ale, a “68 Schilling” beer for the 1-in-68 children born with autism. Bishop said they chose a style of beer that would be light and not bitter, opening it up for customers that don’t normally drink beer.
As for Gage, he’s a fan. The fact that the brew bears the Anderson name “adds to the experience.”
Not just a one time deal, Mill House Brewing Company will serve Mr. Anderson every April for National Autism Awareness Month. For each pint of Mr. Anderson sold, the brewery will donate $1 to the Anderson Center, while also providing customers the option to donate.
As part of the collaboration, staff at Mill House Brewing Company were educated about the Anderson Center and autism. The purpose of the training was so waiters and bartenders could educate customers on the Anderson Center while offering the option to donate.
“(Mill House Brewing Company) really went above and beyond for this collaboration,” Ross said.