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Black woman-brewed Tha CommUNITY beer aims to bring diversity to Charleston taprooms


When traveling nurse and brewer-in-training April Dove moved to Charleston last year, she realized something as she sat down to sip saisons at local breweries: She was one of the only Black patrons.

Even rarer, she noticed, was someone of color in the area’s taprooms.

“I’m certain it’s less than 1 percent,” said Dove, who is a graduate from the American Brewers Guild and goes by “The Traveling Hoptista” on Instagram.

Dove, who apprenticed at Low Tide Brewing, interns at Rusty Bull and works front of house at Two Blokes, is trying to change that.

So when she met fellow brewery hopper and Black blogger David White Jr. of “The Dropping Pin” on Instagram at Munkle Brewing, Dove began stirring up an idea. What if the two collaborated on a beer made by and for Black people, trying to encourage more folks in the community to come in and try, perhaps even learn how to concoct, locally made brews?

Dove has been learning all about the beer-making process herself, with goals to open a brewery, perhaps with White, at some point down the road.

“I’m like a unicorn in this field,” she said.

April Dove and David White Jr., who collaborated with Holy City Brewing to create Tha CommUNITY, an American lager, pose for a portrait on Monday, Sep. 27, 2021. Dove and White hope that the beer will become a catalyst to bring more diversity to local taprooms. Lauren Petracca/Staff

Step one for her was to develop her own beer with the Black community in mind. She said she wanted to craft a light refresher, in the vein of a Heineken but elevated. So she turned to Holy City Brewing, one of her favorite breweries in town that she said has been promoting diversity, to develop an American lager under the brand Tha CommUNITY.

“I knew that’s what a lot of people of color drink, so I was like, ‘Well, let’s do something that’s crafty like that that they would be able to drink and kind of reminisce about times at family gatherings or block parties,'” Dove said. “IPAs aren’t really part of the usual palate.”

She helped develop the beer with Holy City head brewer Chris Brown in July, starting with a local malt and adding in American hops. It has an aroma of corn and florals and a crisp, clean taste.

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“April approached us about Tha CommUNITY towards the beginning of the year as a way to help bring more diversity to the taproom, and we jumped at the opportunity,” Brown said. “At Holy City Brewing, we’ve always tried to be a part of our community in North Charleston, and this beer will hopefully help us connect to our community better.”

Dove and White wanted to get a Black artist to create the art for the 16-ounce cans. White knew local painter Alexandria Searles, who goes by Morowa Mosai. She created the “Until Black people are free, no one is” mural at Edmund’s Oast.

A pour of Tha CommUNITY beer, an American lager brewed with flavor and inclusivity in mind, is pictured at Holy City Brewing in North Charleston on Monday, Sep. 27, 2021. Lauren Petracca/Staff

For these cans, she designed a colorful drawing, with the logo prominent and featuring Afro figures gathering together in the word “UNITY.” African Dashiki characters are featured in the backdrop, standing for “strength,” “wisdom” and “worldly,” among other words.

Dove and White hope to bring the endeavor, along with more small batches of Black-brewed beer, to other Charleston-area breweries. A sour and pilsner are hopefully on the horizon next, Dove said.

Other goals are to educate more Black people on craft beer and brewing, hoping to, over time, turn the statistics in local taprooms.

“It’s an honor to be a part of a movement as such in Charleston,” White said. “The brewery scene here has grown tremendously in the last few years, and we’d like everyone to know that ‘we’ too enjoy craft beer.”

There will be 1,200 cans of Tha CommUNITY American lager (6.5 ABV) for sale at Holy City Brewing and area distributors, like Bottles and Total Wine. It will be $12 for a 4-pack.

To celebrate the release, a free party with the new beer on tap and DJ OG spinning tunes, will be held from 7-10 p.m. Oct. 1 at Holy City.

This content was originally published here.

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