Around Christmas of last year, Rob Goss sent his friend Ken Praay some text messages raving about the caramel creams the Linthicum Heights liquor store manager was eating.
“It was a picture of him eating the candy and talking about how good it would be in a beer,” said Praay, co-founder of Monument City Brewing Co., with a chuckle.
A couple days later, Mitchell Goetze — CEO of Baltimore’s Goetze’s Candy Co., makers of the caramels — introduced himself to Praay over the phone because he had recently enjoyed a Monument brew and realized both companies were based in Highlandtown.
Coincidence or not, Praay took it as a sign that Goss had the right idea. This all has led to a beer collaboration between Goetze’s, Monument City, Whitey’s Liquors and Goonda Beersmiths, another city craft brewery that helped Monument create the recipe. The result is the limited-edition Bulls-Eyes Caramel Creams Milk Stout.
On Friday, Monument City will host a release party at its taproom that doubles as a winter coat drive for the nonprofit Maryland Center for Veterans and Education Training. (A portion of the proceeds from all of the milk stout’s sales, which will be sold in 6-packs and on draft at select area bars, will also be donated to MCVET.)
The beer is Monument City’s first milk stout — a stout beer made with lactose to add sweetness. Monument added actual caramel candies to the brewing process, along with the same sugars and vanilla Goetze’s uses in making the candy, which is celebrating its 100th year in production.
“It’s fun, and not something we normally do,” Praay said. “But for this, it made sense.”
A couple hundred cases were made of the milk stout, he said, and 6-packs will begin to arrive in liquor stores in the city, Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County next week.
The nonprofit MCVET offers housing and a range of services for homeless female veterans. Serving these women often means addressing issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, unemployment, poor health, mental illness, domestic violence and military sexual trauma, or MST.
While everyone involved is happy with the final product, it’s the charity aspect that makes the companies most proud, said Meghan Brody, director of marketing for Goetze’s.
“We have quite a few veterans that work here at the company and past Goetze’s owners that are veterans themselves, so it’s close to our heart,” she said. “We like to help out people in our own backyard.”
The companies toured MCVET’s facility in Jonestown, and were moved by the work the organization does to help homeless veterans get back on their feet.