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By Mitchell Mylius


He walked up to the counter with all his buddies. But, there was so much to choose from. All he knew was that he didn’t like the heavy, dark stuff; he wanted something light. Besides, it was only 2 p.m.

T’was a Saturday and don’t forget, it is 5 o’clock somewhere. Veteran Rich Ghera knew that much.

“I drink Bud Light at home, definitely do not want a porter,” said Ghera to the brew tender. “I think I’ll try a flight, then pick my favorite and get a pint!”

A beer flight is simply a sampling of several beers. Eight Bridges Brewery keeps ten different brews on tap every day they are open for tasting. All the choices had brew-goers rethinking their flight choices.

What the drinkers couldn’t rethink, however, was that 10 percent of their beer money helped fund the Veteran’s First Program at LPC. Along with that, a tip jar on the counter was being filled with donations for the program. The jar itself brought in almost $400 at the end of the night.

The event was called Brewza Palooza.

Eight Bridges Brewing is located just across I-580 from Las Positas College. It wasn’t chosen just out of convenience.

The brewery reached out to the vet’s program volunteering to fundraise. Todd Steffan, the Veteran’s First program coordinator, didn’t say no.

“I never had heard of this place before and they just e-mailed me one day saying they wanted to fundraise events,” said Steffan. “I was like, yeah!”

Steffan drove over the overpass, attended the event, and was impressed. He explained how the brewery is family-oriented. They provide board games so families can play. He also enjoyed the fact that it is run by George Beardsley, a Vietnam veteran.

“We’re all just a family here,” said Beardsley with a smile on his face.

Brewza Palooza was not the first event the brewery sponsored either for the LPC veteran’s program.

At the Cycle 4 Veterans ride last October, they were there with free beer and water supporting the riders.

Beardsley has 30 years of experience in small business, and praises his company team, all members of his family, for its commitment.

Taproom manager Caitlyn Beardsley was running the bar at the palooza, making sure people liked the beer she suggested.

The family supports any veteran organization that reaches out to them, and sponsor all types of events that help those in need.

Caitlyn’s brother Justin, for example, was at an event called Meet the Brewer at Hermitage Brewing in San Jose. Proceeds from the event went to supporting people with Multiple Sclerosis.

“We always try to support events that have an aim to give proceeds to the less fortunate,” said Justin Beardsley.

Justin is the Brewmaster and has created all craft beer offered there. He released three new recipes the weekend before Brewza Palooza: Maple RIPA, Berry Patch Honey Porter and the Bloody Belgian Ale. Golden Nektar, an eight bridges staple was more popular with the vets.

“Let me get two of the Golden Nektars,”said Ghera, “I want to get one for my friend, Buddy.”

The retired Army Veteran walked back to his table and kept the laughs going with his military buddies.

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