Sean Collier had many loves in life, from hiking to police work, the Patriots to country music. And, as friends attest, he was fond of a good beer.
That is why, nearly a month after the MIT police officer’s tragic death, allegedly at the hands of the Boston Marathon bombers, news that Cambridge Brewing Company in Kendall Square is creating a beer in Collier’s honor — “Collier Stout” — is giving those who loved him reason to smile.
“I think Sean would be beside himself if he knew a beer was being named after him,” said Travis Dixon, who graduated with Collier from the police academy and roomed with him for the past three years.
Phil Bannatyne, Cambridge Brewing Company’s longtime owner, said he expects the first batch of Collier Stout, which will be a dry Irish stout, to be brewed by the end of May. After a quick fermentation, the first pints should be ready for drinking around mid-June.
The beer will cost $5.50, with Cambridge Brewing Company donating $1 from each sale to the Jimmy Fund, which has established a memorial fund in Collier’s honor.
Chris Vossmer, an Arlington native now living in Colorado Springs, was the first to suggest the idea. Sitting in the tasting room of his favorite microbrewery, Rocky Mountain Brewery, he and his friends were discussing April’s tragic events when a rich, dark beer was put in his hands.
“I had spent 24 years of my life dedicated to military service and protecting our rights and freedoms, and to have terrorists hit my hometown, it still bothers me,” said Vossmer, a retired Air Force first sergeant. “I took a drink, and said this would be something that would be fitting [as a remembrance].
“My friends at the bar said, ‘Why don’t we brew one?’ Within a couple of minutes we were able to come up with the name. Sean was a big, strong, stout kid.”
That stout also means “brave” makes the name resonate that much more, he said.
Vossmer’s sister, Cheryl, a sergeant in MIT’s Police Department who knew Collier well, quickly embraced the idea. While she approached Cambridge Brewing Company, another MIT police sergeant, Richard Sullivan, said he received the endorsement of Collier’s family.
Rocky Mountain Brewery and Cambridge Brewing Company will each put out a version of Collier Stout sometime in June, with each brewer using a past recipe for expediency. The MIT Hobby Shop will be providing wooden “Collier Stout” beer taps, featuring a night watchman’s stick and a police badge.
Plans call for each brewer to produce a limited run, which in Cambridge’s case means about 2,000 pints, Bannatyne said.
Tim Croke, Collier’s other roommate and a fellow law enforcement officer, promised to be first in the line.
“The memorial service at MIT was the dream send-off that he would have wanted. Now having a beer named after him — it’s so fitting,” Croke said. “I can’t wait for this to come out so Travis and I can raise a toast to him — one last cheer.”
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