A Beloved Beer Figure’s Cancer Diagnoses Showcases Brewing Community’s Generous Spirit

Food & Drink

When Alex Kidd, creator of the social media handle @DontDrinkBeers announced in May that he had been diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at the age of 39, the entire beer community was besides themselves with the news that felt like a gut punch. Kidd has a young son and his wife is currently in her third trimester. They are expecting a baby girl.

Kidd’s memes are legendary self-owns of the beer industry and his online beer reviews can be sometimes tough but at the same time constructive, hilarious, and informative. Kidd, a lawyer who lives in San Diego, California also has had contributions to beer as a whole, including the beer style now known as “pastry stout,” which he coined the name for. A pastry stout is a stout that uses ingredients found in pastries like vanilla and chocolate and have become quite popular throughout the world.

Almost immediately, the beer world sprang into action. A GoFundMe was started by a Connecticut man who simply goes by “Tom M” and is known for the Instagram handle @itsalwaysstoutseason. Then the money started to pour in. As of this article’s publication, the fund has raised over $300,000.

“I started the GoFundMe because a few people had suggested wanting to do something privately,” said Tom M. “They knew I had done fundraisers in the past. I suggested a GoFundMe but kinda wanted to wait until we got the ok from Alex or his wife. Then I realized, I never ask permission for these things ever because it is the right thing to do. So I just made the page and we were off!”

Kidd was not looking to do a GoFundMe himself because, “initially I felt like it would be gauche for some lawyer who receives free beer to ask people for help.” Kidd continued, “Tom M pushed these insecurities aside and set up the GoFundMe for me entirely on his own. This ultimately changed everything. I was in the hospital while this was occurring and the immediate outpouring of support was humbling and staggering. I am so grateful to everyone.”

The beer world has come together before to help larger causes before be it racial equality in Weathered Souls’ Black is Beautiful imperial stout, to helping California wildfire victims in Sierra Nevada’s Resilience IPA or Notch Brewing’s Brave Noise hazy pale ale, which raised money for charities that help women affected by sexual harassment and assault. But there’s never been so many breweries and people rushing in to help out one single person in their time of need. Many breweries and beer groups are doing their own fundraisers and beer collaborations to help Kidd and to shed a light on colorectal cancer, which is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women according to the American Cancer Association.

Horus Ages Ales in Oceanside, California has currently raised the most money according to Kidd. The brewery set out to raise $10,000 but raised $14,991 selling a special version of a barrel aged beer called Proper Dose, which sold out in ten minutes.

Horus owner and brewer Kyle Harrop explained that the fundraiser was merely the right thing to do; to help out a friend who is going through a rough time. Harrop and Kidd have become friends since meeting each other through beer and Harrop’s grandfather had fought the same cancer diagnosis.

“Regardless of our friendship, Alex has always been an honest critic of my beers, whether good or bad,” remarked Harrop. “This has turned me into a better brewer over the years, as his approval is something I take very seriously because his palate is one of the few that I trust. I think he truly gives other breweries the same treatment, and people respect him for that. Alex is a great person, he has done an immeasurable amount of advocacy for craft beer in the past decade, while being an incredible comedian and person at the same time, and that is why I think people in the industry rushed in to help him out immediately.”

All the money raised will be used to help fund Kidd’s upcoming three surgeries, chemotherapy and other treatments not covered under the family’s health insurance as it is unclear when Kidd can return to work. “Those funds have been a life saver for our family,” said Kidd, “I figured a few people would donate something, express sympathy and move on. I had no idea the outpouring of support would be to this degree. More moving than the money was the number of touching personal messages and stories from people encouraging me to fight. I remember tearing up seeing all the familiar names who had donated, and many that I had never seen before. I owe a debt of gratitude to so many people.”

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