Santa Cruz County’s craft beer industry is a supportive community, whether they’re collaborating on a beer or sharing knowledge and equipment. Now, local breweries are rallying to support beloved brewer David Purgason while he recovers from a terrible accident.
Purgason began brewing professionally at local breweries after he graduated from UCSC in 2012. Friendly and talented, with an easy smile, he quickly became a central member of the brewing community. After building a fan base for their homebrews, he and his partner were looking forward to opening their own brewery, Fruition, when in early July Purgason suffered horrible burns while brewing at Venus Spirits. The incident devastated him physically, and has left him on a long road to recovery.
“Everyone at every brewery emailed me asking what they could do to help David and [his partner] Tallula,” says Brittany Crass of Shanty Shack Brewing, a close friend. “At the time, there wasn’t much we could do while he was in the hospital. But now, we can brew beer!”
Spearheaded by Crass, local breweries decided to create their own takes on a “Brew For David” Session IPA, Purgason’s favorite beer style. Nine local breweries and Venus Spirits also collaborated on the “Brewers Unite for David” Session IPA. All of the proceeds from these beers, each bearing a quirky David-esque name or inside joke, will be donated to the Valley Medical Center fund set up for him.
In addition to being available at the breweries, several fundraising events will showcase these one-off brews. On Wednesday, Sept. 20, Lúpulo Craft Beer House will host the Brew For David Tap Takeover, with tasting flights of all-David beers. On Thursday, September 21, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing is pouring the collaboration beer, along with a special release form SCMB for the Raise A Glass for David event. Venus Spirits is hosting Cocktailbeerfest, with cocktails, beer, food and music on Saturday, Sept. 30. Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pourhouse is also pouring David beers as they become available.
Purgason is humbled by the huge outpouring of love from the community. “The incredible support of the brewing community has been amazing, and has truly showed that we are a family, sharing this passion that brings people together. I feel so fortunate to be alive and to be a part of it.”