About Hops for Heroes

Homefront IPA™ was created with one goal in mind: to honor and support the men and women of America’s Armed Forces. The ale itself is a special brew aged on maple wood in the shape of a baseball bat to pay homage to America’s favorite pastime and add flavor.

Why Baseball?

Hops for Heroes began in 2011 when Major League Baseball pitcher for the Seattle Mariners, Chris Ray, decided to use his love of craft beer to give back to the military and veteran community. He teamed up with Fremont Brewing Company in Seattle to release a limited edition craft beer in which 100% of the net proceeds would benefit military and veteran charities. Named “Homefront IPA,” it was sold at Safeco Field, Fremont Brewing Company, and various retail stores in the Seattle Area.

Chris Ray’s baseball career included a 5 year stint as the closer for the Baltimore Orioles, pitcher for the 2010 Texas Rangers ALCS winning team, pitcher for the 2010 San Francisco Giants World Series team, and a pitcher for the the Seattle Mariners. After a significant injury ended Chris Ray’s baseball career, he and his brother Phil opened their own brewery, Center of the Universe Brewing Company in Virginia. The Ray brothers continued the Homefront IPA tradition and turned Hops for Heroes into a national campaign with craft breweries participating from across the country. Breweries would each create their version of Homefront IPA and then host a release party over Memorial Day weekend to raise funds for military and veteran charities.

Chris Ray from Center of the Universe Brewing Co.

In 2018, the campaign was officially gifted to Soldiers’ Angels to continue the tradition. Unfortunately, due to COVID and the incredible impact the pandemic had on craft breweries, the program was paused in 2020 and 2021. But in 2022, we brought the program back with some key changes to make it even more accessible to breweries of all sizes— most notably, breweries can now host their release party any time between Memorial Day and Veterans Day! This change attracted a record-breaking number of breweries to participate— 16 in total!

We couldn’t be more excited that Hops for Heroes is growing to attract even more breweries and we are eager to see what happens in 2024! However, as we begin recruiting this year’s lineup, we decided that— due to our limited staff size at Soldier’ Angels— we also need to limit the number of participating breweries. Operating a national nonprofit with a staff size of less than 30 is quite a feat in itself! Limiting the number of breweries will allow us to ensure that we are able to fully support each and every brewery that participates in this unique and patriotic experience.

Need some printable information to share with your favorite brewery? Check out our one-pager.

Contact Hops for Heroes

Interested in learning more about Hops for Heroes? We’d love to hear from you! Feel free to call the Soldiers’ Angels office Monday – Friday between 9 am and 5 pm CT and ask to speak to someone about Hops for Heroes: 210-629-0020. Or you can fill out the contact form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Ready to join the lineup? Register now.