On May 13 at Hotel Leo’s Crystal Ballroom from 6 to 10 p.m., Kulshan Brewing Company and Lydia Place are joining forces to host a 90s-themed fun-filled fundraising night of beer and dancing at the fourth annual Beer Prom. All proceeds will go to Lydia Place, a local nonprofit agency that has been serving families with children experiencing houselessness in Whatcom County for more than 30 years.
Tally Rabatin is the community engagement director at Lydia Place. She said the nonprofit is a housing-first-model agency, meaning that they believe shelter is the first step at addressing housing insecurity and houselessness. Once housing is secure, they offer further services, including parent support specialists and mental health clinicians available to speak with youths and adults.
“What we are doing is investing into these families the resources they need for long-term sustained independence and success, with the goal being that the kids in the programs today will be the last in their families to experience housing insecurity or homelessness,” Rabatin said.
According to the Whatcom County 2022 Point-in-Time Census of Homeless Residents report, 100 families, 82 with children, experienced houselessness last year. Rabatin said that at any given time, Lydia Place serves about 250 families, including about 340 kids.
Robyn Preston, the event manager at Kulshan Brewing Company, said that community engagement is a core value for the company. Due to their strong relationship in the past, partnering with Lydia Place for this event felt natural from the beginning.
“We strive to actively continue supporting all the amazing local organizations through events,” Preston said in an email. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the Bellingham and brewing community to come together and help raise funds for Lydia Place and all their programs and services.”
Preston said the event was initially inspired by the Washington Beer Collaboration Festival, which features collaborations from breweries across Washington.
Six local breweries, including Kulshan Brewing, were tasked with inviting a “date” from outside Bellingham to collaborate and create six unique brews with.
The 2023 Beer Prom dates are:
Kulshan Brewing Company and Stoup Brewing
Wander Brewing and Old Schoolhouse Brewery
Beach Cat Brewing Company and Crucible Brewing – Everett Foundry
Stones Throw Brewing and 192 Taproom & Beer Garden, Mount Vernon
Stemma Brewing Co. and Icicle Brewing Company
Boundary Bay Brewery and Gruff Brewing
Collin Christianson is the Research and Development Manager at Icicle Brewing Company, which was invited to the Beer Prom by Stemma Brewing Co. He said the two companies decided to create a Cold IPA — a relatively new style of IPA that’s brewed with lager yeasts at colder temperatures — with some new hop varieties from the Southern Hemisphere.
“Collaborations like these are a great way for breweries to break out of their traditional offerings to try something new, while at the same time helping to support great groups like Lydia Place,” Christianson said. “It's great when local companies can come together to help support each other as well as the community that brings us together.”
Preston said that the collaborative brews are typically only available the night of the Beer Prom, although some breweries may choose to offer theirs in their taprooms for a short time after the event.
In addition to the beers, the Beer Prom will feature live music from local acts DJ Will and The Alger Rhythms, dancing, fundraising games and a costume contest with two categories: Best 90s Icon and Best Couples Costume. Attendees must be 21 years or older.
Unique to this year, there will also be a raffle drawing for “The Rebel,” a handcrafted electric guitar by the local custom shop 34 Guitars. Raffle entries are on sale through May 13, and the winner will be announced at Beer Prom.
“Beer Prom is such a blast!” Preston said. “Anyone interested in coming out for the fun won't be disappointed with the beer, entertainment and the opportunity to support a great local organization.”
Isabel Hyde (she/her) is a city news reporter for The Front. She is a third-year studying public relations. In her free time, she enjoys watching films, curling up with a good book, and going to local music shows. You can reach her at email@example.com.