Caitlin Stevenson didn’t mind a Reschs Pilsener when she felt like a beer. So, when she died of breast cancer last year, her son Dom - a bartender at Wollongong’s US diner-themed bar His Boy Elroy - decided to create a beer in her memory.
And he knew exactly what sort of beer it would be: a German pilsner. That was never in doubt.
“The reason we ended up with the German pilsner was because mum was a German teacher at Oak Flats Public School [south of Wollongong] and had a strong connection to Germany having travelled there a lot,” he says.
“It seemed appropriate to do a beer that linked in that way, so it’s not just a beer, it’s the right beer. It’s the beer she would have enjoyed drinking.”
It’s gotten the seal of approval from Dom's dad and friends of Caitlin, who reckon it’s exactly the beer she would have liked.
The beer - and an associated GoFundMe cancer fundraiser - have been given the clever title Something for Cait.
“One of her lifelong friends from Melbourne suggested it when the thought of a beer was there,” Dom says.
“Dad said, ‘Look, I’m not going to put many restrictions on it, but you have to use that name’.”
Five Barrel Brewing’s Phil O’Shea came on board to brew the beer. He’s had a relationship with His Boy Elroy for some time, having previously brewed a beer called Steel Ale exclusively for the bar.
Dom says Phil has gone above and beyond the call in getting the ten kegs of Something for Cait ready.
“It’s the first pilsner he’s ever brewed and he had to go his textbooks and learn how to do it specifically for this beer,” Dom says.
“His involvement in this has been amazing; he’s not making any money from it. He’s been on board from the beginning and he’s just been invaluable.”
The beer is also raising funds for the Illawarra Cancer Carers, a volunteer organisation that addresses people’s needs while doctors focus on their illness.
“The thing with being in hospital is most interactions, even if they’re for your care, feel difficult,” Dom says.
“Everything is treatment-related or related to your disease and making that better.
“The influence that the cancer carers have, they come round and give people things like goto massages.
“It’s simple little things like that, which is an interaction in your day which isn’t about your cancer, it isn’t about your sickness or your disease.
“It’s about being looked after.”
At time of writing, Something for Cait was available in Wollongong bars His Boy Elroy, The Night Parrot and The Black Cockatoo. Each venue is donating $2 from the sale of every beer to the cancer carers. In waiving his profits, Phil is also donating the equivalent of $1 a glass.
Other venues interesting in putting Something for Cait on tap can contact Five Barrel Brewing or His Boy Elroy. People can also donate money via the GoFundMe campaign page.
Glen has donated his fee for this article to the cause.