BRIDGEPORT — Two longtime friends and baseball fans from opposite sides of the city have created a craft beer for a good cause, and they’re throwing a party Friday to celebrate.
Baseball writer Shakeia Taylor and Jay Westbrook — the creator of Harold’s ’83 Honey Ale — teamed up this summer to create Summer of ’54 IPA, a beer to commemorate the first year both Chicago baseball teams added Black players: Ernie Banks for the Cubs and Minnie Minoso for the White Sox. The pair have hosted events across the city, selling the beer to raise money for Lost Boyz, a South Side organization that uses baseball to reach out to kids in underserved areas.
The duo will host one last event starting 8 p.m. Friday at Mitchell’s Tap, 3356 S. Halsted St. Westbrook, Lost Boyz founder LaVonte Stewart and others will be on hand to meet guests, and 12-ounce pours will be available for $6.
The mango and ruby-red grapefruit IPA has been a hit at previous events held at Nisei Lounge and Haymarket Pub, where Taylor and Westbrook raised more than $35,000 for Lost Boyz.
It’s the Chinook hops, which bring out the flavor of the ruby-red grapefruit throughout the body of the beer, while the mango puree added during fermentation rounds it all off, Westbrook said.
The money raised will pay for the Lost Boyz to take a group trip to the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City later this summer.
“The game has been built on the backs of so many great African American players, and part of me telling the stories of Chicago through beer hinges on making sure you know who Ernie Banks and Minnie Minoso were and what they represent,” Westbrook said.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.
Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.