Beer festivals attract a large crowd. Not only are they a lot of fun for attendees but they are also a great way to support local non-profit organizations and charities. This was true for Suds of the Season, a spring beer festival I attended in Shelton, Connecticut a few weeks back. Benefiting Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD), at Suds of the Season, you could discover new, seasonal and limited release craft beers from over 30 local (and national) breweries, cideries and distilleries. It was also great seeing so many familiar faces from Fairfield and New Haven County at the event including New England Cider CompanyFairfield Craft Ales and Asylum Distillery.

As a bonus, this was the only beer festival in Connecticut with day passes to the Sports Center of Connecticut, an entertainment center offering laser tag, target paintball, ice skating, hockey and much more. Also, while at the Sports Center, do not forget to check out the arcade! Play classic arcade games like Air Hockey or Whac-A-Mole, games start at four coins or $1. There are also all sorts of prizes to win like candy (anyone remember AirHeads), pencils, playing cards, stuffed animals and more.

There was live music from Connecticut’s Most Popular Cover Band, The Rum Runners as well as food trucks and vendors like Mary Kay Cosmetics. The Rum Runners played a variety of tunes based on request and they helped facilitate the raffle drawings which was very popular.

 

Suds of the Season Beer Festival

Find Your Rhythm

One of my new favorite lagers that I discovered at the festival was “RHYTHM”, an unfiltered lager by Rhythm Brewing Co. RHYTHM had a clean taste and went down so smooth that I kept coming back for more pours. But I wasn’t the only one though, plenty of people crowded around to get seconds, thirds and even fourths.

Rhythm Brewing Co. is a New Haven based beer company founded by Alisa Bowens-Mercado. Nicknamed CT Lady Lager, Alisa is the first African American woman to brew beer in Connecticut! Go head!

Inspired by what her grandmother would drink, RHYTHM is a timeless beer which gets back to basics. And while a lot of lagers nowadays are filtered and pasteurized, RHYTHM stays true to its natural goodness and flavor.

Find RHYTHM in stores all over Connecticut including Total Wines.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Alisa a few times throughout the festival and standing by her side was her proud mom who is the Senior Account Executive of the company.

Besides the flavorful beer, I was also introduced to some of the good work that local charities are doing right in our backyard.

 

Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities

Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities

Proceeds from Suds of th Season ticket sales, raffle prizes and corporate donations were some of the ways that the beer festival raised money to benefit Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities.

Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities is a non-profit organization that teaches Service Dogs the skills needed to help their owners with independence and mobility. ECAD’s Service dogs have helped over 350 disabled clients with disabilities including Vertigo, Cerebral Palsy and Sleep Apnea.

Suds of the Season Beer Festival benefited ECAD’s Project HEAL™ which pairs Service Dogs with veterans living with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and combat-related physical injuries. These laid back expertly trained canines help with things like panic attacks, reminding their owners to take their meds, retrieval assistance and many more commands.

Executive Director Dale Picard shared with me that depending on the specialization, it can cost anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000 to raise and train a Service Dog.

It’s important to note that ECAD doesn’t receive any federal funding so donations help cover the cost of food, shelter and instructors. Every donation helps the lives of the dogs in training and the clients they help.

Fun Fact: Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities has been operating for 22 years and they breed their own Golden Retrievers and Labradors who are friendly and easy going but also have the work ethic needed for a long career as a Service Dog.

Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities Program

During the beer festival I met Blue an 11 year old Golden Retriever who enjoys snuggling all afternoon and Tuna who just turned 5 years old.

 

Post Suds of the Season

After the event, I got a call from Kimberlee from Mary Kay (one of the vendors at Suds of the Season) notifying me that I had won a $25 Mary Kay certificate. With that certificate, I was able to demo Mary Kay’s line of products in my home.

I invited my mom, grandma and aunt over last Saturday to try a variety of Mary Kay facial products and body lotions. Kimberlee was so accommodating and made our “Girl’s Night In” so memorable! Thank you Kimberlee!

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