2017-11-10 / Community News

Warrior Wheat raises funds for veterans

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


Nonesuch River Brewing Company owners Michael Schuler, Jeff Gambardella and Tim Boardman have released Warrior Wheat, a new beer whose sales will benefit the Travis Mills Foundation, a Maine-based organization that helps veterans and their families. (Michael Kelley photo) Nonesuch River Brewing Company owners Michael Schuler, Jeff Gambardella and Tim Boardman have released Warrior Wheat, a new beer whose sales will benefit the Travis Mills Foundation, a Maine-based organization that helps veterans and their families. (Michael Kelley photo) For Nonesuch River Brewing Company co-owner and brewer Michael Schuler part of the fun of operating a brewery, especially a new one, is coming up with new flavors of beer.

“It’s the best of both worlds. There is a chemistry aspect to it and doing things the right way, but there is also an artist portion that let’s you be creative,” Schuler said last week at the restaurant/brewery that opened in late August at 201 Gorham Road.

The latest brew Schuler has created, Warrior Wheat Dunkelweizen, is aimed at much more than offering the imbibing public another beer option. It is aimed at raising money for the Travis Mills Foundation, a Maine-based organization that helps wounded and injured veterans and their families and honoring a family member of his former brewing partner.


Michael Schuler, a co-owner of Nonesuch River Brewing Company pours a pint of Warrior Wheat, a beer that was developed to honor Chris Sullivan, the brother-in-law of his former brewing partner who was killed while serving in Iraq in January 2005. (Michael Kelley photo) Michael Schuler, a co-owner of Nonesuch River Brewing Company pours a pint of Warrior Wheat, a beer that was developed to honor Chris Sullivan, the brother-in-law of his former brewing partner who was killed while serving in Iraq in January 2005. (Michael Kelley photo) “For many, many years I as a homebrewer with my brewing partner Steve Lilley. We brewed for a long time in the garage. He had a brother-in-law who was killed in the line of duty, Capt. Chris Sullivan. Steve worked up a recipe and I knew when we had this place up and running, I wanted to use it to be able to make a donation and honor veterans in the month of November,” Schuler said.

Sullivan, a native of Princeton, Massachusetts, joined the military in 1998 while in college at Worcester Polytechnic University and after peacekeeping missions in Kosovo and Germany, was deployed to Iraq as part of Iraqi Freedom in January 2004. A year later, on January 18, 2005, while on patrol in Baghdad, Sullivan, 29 at the time, was killed by an improvised explosive device. It was two weeks before he was scheduled to return home.

Schuler describes the beer as a dark German style wheat with complex malts, bitter hops and a bready, yeasty taste.

“We like to say it tastes like toast and goes well with a toast to our service members,” Schuler said.

Throughout the month, a portion of sales of the Warrior Wheat Dunkelweizen will be donated to the Travis Mills Foundation, an organization that was recommended by Sullivan’s parents James and Dorothy Sullivan.

“They had high respect for what Travis Mills is doing and what he has been through,” Schuler said.

Donating a portion of Warrior Wheat’s sales to the foundation was something his business partners and Nonesuch River Brewery co-owners Tim Boardman and Jeff Gambardella quickly got behind.

“It’s definitely important to recognize veterans as often as we can and this is a unique opportunity,” said Boardman, who served in Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War in 1991 and 1992.

Travis Mills Foundation Lead Gift Officer Brandy Cain said the foundation is pleased by the act of goodwill from Nonesuch River Brewing Company.

“A lot of out money comes from grassroots efforts. We don’t have a major donor who has come in and given us millions to make this happen. We’ve been very fortunate to have the support of the community. The fact that Nonesuch River Brewing is willing to do this shows us they believe in our mission and what we are doing welcoming veterans to Maine,” Cain said.

Since opening in June, the Travis Mills Foundation has welcomed the families of 64 veterans to Maine, where they spent five days at the foundation’s Belgrade facility taking part in adaptive activities and connecting with other families in their position. Cain said by the end of the year that number is expected to climb to 89 families. Right now, the foundation is focusing on post-9/11 veterans, but Cain doesn’t rule out expanding to include older veterans in the future.

In honor of Sullivan and the countless others who have lost their lives in service to this country, all veterans will receive a 25 percent discount on their meal at Nonesuch River Brewing Saturday, Nov. 11.

Sullivan’s parents have loaned the restaurant their Battlefield Cross, a wooded chainsaw sculpture created by Anthony Marquez, a Oklahoma veteran whose unit – 1st Battalion 5th Marines – lost 17 members and had 160 wounded in battle while in Sanquin, Aghanistan. To honor those lost, Marquez decided to carve a wooden memorial for each family who lost a loved one in Sangin. The battlefield cross, in which a soldier’s boots are placed alongside their weapon and military helmet, is set up as a temporary headstone during services.

The beer has sold well so far. Gambardella said on November 1, the first day it was offered, Nonesuch River Brewing sold 30 pints between the mug club and regular pint sales. Schuler said a 15-barrell batch was brewed, which results in approximately 5,000 pints. Nonesuch River Brewing was brought Warrior Wheat, as well as the Irish Red and ESB to the Great Lost Bear in Portland as part of that restaurant’s GLB Brewer’s Showcase last Thursday.

Schuler said right now Nonesuch River Brewing is self-distributing to bars and restaurants around greater Portland, but hopes to soon partner with a commercial distributor.

Schuler continues to work on new beer offerings and will be unveiling two new beers in the coming weeks, including Santa’s ReinBeer, a beer spiced, he said, with “holiday spirit.”

Gambardella said business has been good for Nonesuch River Brewing Company since the Aug. 28 opening night.

“It’s been unbelievable. We’ve got great feedback and great support from the community,” he said. “Scarborough has really stood behind us.”

Boardman said the restaurant/brewery “was long overdue for this community.”

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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