Raise A Glass
Saluting Our Veterans
By Tracey Moro
Noting the most influential men in his life have been veterans, Loaded Dice Brewery Owner, Jef Smith, says his father served in the Army, his uncles in the Marines and Air Force, and they are the ones that led him to the idea of a special batch of beer honoring veterans and the local homebrew club, the Pontiac Brewing Tribe.
“Military life is part of my fabric,” said Smith.
“The Pontiac Brewing Tribe started to come in here. They mentioned that they receive a blend of hops from Yakima Chief hops in Washington for Veterans Day, and were wondering if I wanted to partner with them to brew a beer and co-release it with them. This was at the beginning of Loaded Dice being open, and we released the first batch in November 2021. Since then, I have received my own batch of hops (the homebrew club was receiving the prior year’s batch, and it’s always better to have fresh ingredients), but kept the partnership.”
The beer, named Titanic Thompson, an IPA, was a hit again in 2022, and a portion of both years’ sales went to the HunterSeven Foundation. 2023 plans are already in place to release another batch of Titanic Thompson, with funds once again going to HunterSeven Foundation. “Depending on the hop blend supplied by the Yakima Chief, the 2023 batch will follow past years. The name, Titanic Thompson, was derived from a former Army Sergeant who was a famous gambler,” said Smith.
A newspaper once referred to him mistakenly as Thompson and the name stuck with him. Born Alvin Thomas and drafted in early 1918, several months after the United States entered World War I, Thomas was known for teaching gambling skills to many of his trainees, and won substantial money from them, ending the war with more than $50,000 in cash. Beyond playing poker, he also excelled at golf, challenging folks several times per week for decades after the war.
“This beer is amazing. We aren’t just saying that. It has a pillowy mouth feel that you have grown to expect in this style, a woody and dank aroma, and a lingering citrus flavor. We are very proud of this beer and how it turned out, as well as, being involved with these causes,” said Smith. “This is an annual release, and this year we will release it on Veterans Day – Nov. 11. It will be brewed during the early half of October. We brew one batch of it (2BBL) and it will stay on tap until it’s gone, usually three to four weeks,” Smith said. The beer will also be available in cans – to go.
Smith says his connection to the homebrew club makes this beer even more special. “This beer is special to me because part of our ethos is bringing back that home brewing spirit to the industry. This is one of the many ways I am doing this. With this particular organization, I have also been the judge for their annual competition, and have hosted club meetings. This beer hits so many points for me and the culture that we are creating,” Smith said.