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    On tap for a good cause: Great North Aleworks’ Alt Rock Beer

    When former UMass basketball player Luke Bonner was looking for a way to make his nonprofit foundation’s fund-raiser appeal to a younger audience, he had one thought: Talk to the local brewery.

    Bonner and his brother, current San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner, run the Rock On Foundation, an organization based in Concord, N.H., promoting wellness and creativity through the arts and athletics. Luke has a friend at Great North Aleworks, which opened last year in Manchester, N.H. One goal that the foundation and the brewery share: making southern New Hampshire a place young families want to live.

    The Bonners are enlisting Great North’s help to promote a charity concert, the Rock On Fest, taking place in Concord, N.H., Aug. 13. Ahead of the fest, Great North is brewing Alt Rock Beer to serve at various fund-raising events around town (the music festival itself will be family-friendly and beer-free).


    “We’re kind of a nontraditional nonprofit,” says Luke, 31. “We aren’t afraid to push the envelope. We’re definitely trying to appeal to that younger demographic, your millennial types who aren’t into mainstream beer.”

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    Great North is a new brewery with big plans. Founders Rob and Lisa North installed a 20-barrel brewhouse and a canning line with a goal of expanding regionally. The beer is currently only sold within New Hampshire. A recent silver medal in the IPA category at the World Beer Cup should help with street cred.

    “A brewery like Great North is a really great thing for the state to have,” says Bonner. “We want to make sure they do well. It makes it more attractive for people my age to live in New Hampshire.”

    Alt Rock Beer is based on a German altbier, which Great North’s Brian Parda admits is “certainly not the sexiest style.” Brewery staffers brewed three different versions of the beer and voted on a winner, a copper-colored ale brewed with Hallertauer hops and Pilsner malt.

    “It’s a clean, smooth beer that’s well balanced,” says Parda. “It’s definitely sessionable.”

    Great North Aleworks (1050 Holt Ave., Unit #14, Manchester, N.H.) hosts a beer-tasting fund-raiser July 21 starting at 6 p.m. ($5 suggested donation). The Rock On Fest, with a musical lineup that includes Born Ruffians, Saintseneca, and Jason Anderson, takes place Aug. 13 at White Park in Concord.

    Gary Dzen can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen.