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Introducing The Humbled in Humble Project

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A legendary Houston business lends a hand on brew day for the launch of a series of philanthropic beers. It’s a one-of-a-kind collaboration beer that’s happening in Humble, and we’re beside ourselves at the role we get to play in it. 

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2020 has been a polarizing year. Domestic relationships have been challenged as we spend more time with our significant others than we’re used to. Friendships have come into question as lines are drawn about what’s wrong, what’s right, and how there’s not a gray area for certain things. Let us not overlook that it’s an election year, and that can be quite divisive. It seems like everything about 2020 has left so many people picking sides on one thing or another. Not to mention, we went from scoffing at 3 week old brewery-only-release IPAs to happy to drink an 8 week old grocery store shelfie at one point.

And to think, we cheered, “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” when that ball dropped… For this? Sheesh. Can we pull out the cartridge, blow on it, and hit the reset button?

Unfortunately, we can’t. But what we can do is make the most dank lemonade out of the lemons that we’ve been handed, and that’s exactly what Ingenious Brewing has set out to do while trying to band us all together.

A History of Philanthropy Leads to the Humbled in Humble Project

Ingenious recently celebrated 2 years during this quarantine. Despite that, they’ve managed to win our coveted annual MVB award, and they’ve done it in style. Day one of Ingenious’ started off with dramatic financial losses due to a business deal gone awry with their brewing equipment, but Ingenious has been dead set on making the craziest beer they can imagine and giving back to the community whenever they can.

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Picture this. You’re 2 years into your new business, and a historic global pandemic strikes. What do you do?

Donate over $15,000 to worthy local causes and figure out how to keep on doing it.

Wait.

Wut.

Everybody’s downsizing somehow. Be it product offerings, labor costs, or physical locations in some cases, and Ingenious is no different. But while many businesses are tucking their tails and trying to mitigate their losses, Ingenious has decided to make benevolence a part of their recurring business model at any cost even while they have to suffer cutbacks in other areas. This is probably why they got so many votes during the MVB voting last month!

Between their event collab with The Answer (VA), where 100% of ticket sales went to the charity Sky High for Kids, raised $7,800 and additional contributions from participating partners and individuals tallied over $10,000 donated total.

Not too long after that, Ingenious donated to the city’s frontline workers to the tune of $2,499.
Feed the Frontline Texas – $833
Assist the Officer Houston $833
Firefighters Foundation of Houston $833

Immediately after the dust settled from those frontline-worker donations, they were one of the first breweries in Houston to throw their name into the ring for Black is Beautiful, the global collaboration beer spearheaded by Weathered Souls of San Antonio. Ingenious has been able to donate $3,800 to Houston’s Shape Community Center.

As if all this wasn’t enough, Ingenious decided to push benevolence, social justice, awareness, and advocacy to the next level with a series of beers titled the Humbled in Humble Project.

Head Brewer James Carlyle reached out to the most influential, diverse, group of people in Texas, and he asked for some help with this collab. He wanted black and brown people to have a stake in the collaboration, and he wanted it to be an infinite project. Like a real stake – designing the recipe, milling in the grain, canning, what organizations to donate to once the beer’s done, and everything else in between.

So he reached out to Houston’s own, Hop Topic, Brew Bros HTX, The Pint Exchange as well as Austin’s homebrewing standout, Shannon “The Brew Brotha” Harris who is opening his own location soon. You should support a budding black-owned business right about now. Oh, and us.

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James said to all of us, “I want you to be a part of this collaboration. I want it to be ongoing, and I want y’all’s help to make it mean something.”

So one evening a few weeks ago, we shared a few beers via Zoom and put our heads together on how we could make the Humbled in Humble Project something that’d bring Houston together when so many polarizing topics are dividing us.

Humbled in Humble Brings Together a Dozen Men of Color to Influence Change

Here’s what we came up with.

Humbled in Humble is our way of grabbing the baton in an infinite marathon of community outreach in the form of a beer.

Each new release of the Humbled in Humble Project will raise awareness to inequalities in our community while donating to reputable local causes that equip, empower, and educate on a variety of topics. Each release will feature a different beer. Different styles, different ingredients, different contributors, and a different cause.

Volume 1 will benefit 100 Black Men of America’s Houston, TX and Austin, TX chapters to help mentor young black men to help them avoid traps laid out by systemic racism.

Other Humbled in Humble releases will benefit
Domestic violence survivors
Families that have been broken up by ICE and immigration law
Houston’s maverick LGBTQIA+ community
And prostate cancer awareness just to name a few

In addition to Texas heavy hitters in the beer world, we linked up with a Houston L E G E N D just to solidify the foundation of this project. Getting them to be a part of this beer collaboration was one of the inspirations for the recipe to begin with.

But I bet you’re wondering what the first beer recipe will be. All we can say for now is that it’ll be a pastry stout featuring some delicacies from the Houston Institution known as THE Breakfast Klub, with a THE and a K, and some homegrown love from everybody that can fit in the brewhouse.

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The Breakfast Klub has been recognized as one of the best breakfast restaurants in not just Houston, but the nation, by Good Morning America, USA Today, Esquire, Forbes Magazines, Zagat, and locally Yelp and Houston Press have given them plenty of number one spots throughout the years. Heck, even THE Queen, Beyoncé endorsed them.

If there was anybody in town we wanted to collaborate with on a pastry stout, it was the humble restaurant on Travis St. with a humbling reputation of community.

The Breakfast Klub, much like Ingenious, has built their reputation on community. “Our restaurant is rooted in principles of faith, family, kommunity and empowerment; we treat every customer like our family and we believe that family is the cornerstone of any community, so we place an emphasis on supporting activities and causes that enrich and strengthen families.”

Additionally, also much like Ingenious, The Breakfast Klub regularly has lines out the door and around the corner as people line up for their soulful meals that extend far beyond breakfast. It’s a match made in heaven.

We’ve spent a lot of time these last few weeks on calls, texts, putting together schedules, designing labels, merch, and so on with each of these folks. We wanted to share a bit about their background and why this Humbled in Humble Project is so important to each of them.

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Hear From the Creators of The Humbled in Humble Project Volume 1

What does this beer mean to you? Who do you plan to share one with? These questions yielded some of the answers you see below.

For me personally, Humbled in Humble is a way to give back constantly. We have an amazing following of people from all walks of life and this is our way to continuously show support. I’m excited to see just what Humbled in Humble could potentially be. First person I’m sharing a beer with will be my wife, Jessica. Because she’s constantly putting up with my shenanigans, but more importantly, pushing me to be better person and brewer. That’s what has allowed me to get to where I am today.

-James Carlyle, Ingenious Head Brewer

The foundation of Hop Topic’s platform is the promotion of inclusivity. Being a part of Humbled in Humble is important to us because it is a tangible step towards inclusivity which ensures that all genders, ethnicities, and sexual identities are welcomed and represented in the industry. It takes humility for breweries to acknowledge that simply marketing with photos and symbols of the underrepresented is not the same as including them and we believe that Humbled in Humble can help to bring them to this realization and affect true change in the industry. True change is what we are most excited about.

-Ken Noble, Hop Topic

I think the Humbled in Humble series is a great idea and start incorporating diversity and inclusion to the craft beer industry. With the Black is Beautiful initiative by Weathered Souls creating a platform for more breweries, like Ingenious Brewing, to grab the baton and keep the work going for a change in the community of craft beer and brewing. I’m honored to even be a part of this series being from a neighboring town but I hope this speak volumes to all beer markets across Texas to reach out and invite their supporters into the taprooms and brew houses for conversations. Let the community know you care about them as much as they care about you!

-Shannon Harris, The Brew Brotha

We are excited to be a part of this project because “spread haze, not hate” is the Brew Bros way. This is the perfect opportunity to present beer (spread haze) for the cause: standing up against the many forms of hate like systemic racism, sexual discrimination, exclusion, and police brutality.

-Odell, Brew Bros

I’m honored to be a part of this project as it embodies what The Pint Exchange represents. We aim to educate, diversify, develop, and support. Each release will support a cause that encourages inclusion, which is needed regardless to one’s background, political views, race…..etc. Honestly, I’m excited to work alongside some people that I’ve known for years prior to this project. We are all united through craft, and I’m ready to see what the end result will be. The first person that I will share this beer with, will be my business partner Luis. Things have been busy since we started The Pint Exchange, so it will be great to step back and take a sip as we plan for the future.

-Kendrick Knighten, The Pint Exchange

I’m proud to be apart of this movement. I think that being part of a community means taking care of one another. We should all aim to give more. It’s awesome to be able to use craft beer to help build others up.

-Chris Adams, Beer Chronicle Houston

It’s an honor to work for a brewery and work along side others with the same drive and commitment that the Humbled in Humble Project embodies. The beer community is an extensive conduit to spread knowledge and awareness throughout the world. This is a huge step in bringing togetherness and support for key aspects of life. Full send!

-Derek Segari, Ingenious Brewer

I’m excited about this project for two reasons. First, it’s a chance to give back to our community that has been embraced the craft beer movement and made all of us feel at home. Second, the amount of collaboration in this project is next level. There is so much passion behind this one-of-a-kind movement that it’s impossible to not get pumped up!

-Brent Topa, Beer Chronicle Houston

Because my wife and I both lived through a lot of trauma in our first ~20 years, we decided we’d use the rest of our lives making up for lost time. We’ve spent the last 10 years doing just that, and about a year ago my family and I sat down and developed a mission statement to make sure we had something to constantly check ourselves against. ‘We stand up in the face of injustice. We help, serve, and give to others. We break the cycle of our childhoods. We go the extra mile before we’re done. We speak for those that need a voice. We embody the love of Jesus. And we do it all by any means necessary without looking for a pat on the back.’ It’s one of the reasons Beer Chronicle has served our community for 4+ years, constantly giving to cause-driven organizations. The Humbled in Humble Project gives us a chance to do what my family, my friends listed above, and my Beer Chronicle team have been doing for years. I can’t wait for this series to develop and gain momentum, and I can’t wait to share one of these with everybody that’s giving their time and talent to brew it and spread the word about it. When my kids get older and talk about this era, and what they saw, they’ll be able to say they watched my wife and I bust our asses to stand up for what’s right. Furthermore, designing this label, the shirts, and all the stuff around it has allowed me to really put my heart on a label. That’s humbling.

-Anthony Gorrity, Beer Chronicle Houston

Between an iconic Houston restaurant, an inventive Houston brewery, and a bunch of passionate people of color, this collaboration is off to a solid start, and the beer’s not even brewed yet!

Brew day is scheduled for the end of August, so you can expect to see cans of Humbled in Humble Volume 1 mid to late September. Who wants to lend a hand for Volume 2 and beyond? Get at us.

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Stay tuned for more on Humbled in Humble, and big thanks to Houston artist Wiley for letting us show some of his “LOVE” on these cans that we were so humbled to design!

If you’re interested in helping us spread the word about this collaboration, please check out this Google Drive with some digital assets you can share.

Beers to you, Houston.

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Beer Chronicle Team
beerchronicle@gmail.com
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