New Sly Fox brew SRT Ale will benefit the Schuylkill River Trail

Brian O’Reilly, brewmaster at Sly Fox Brewing Co. on Circle of Progress Drive in Pottstown holds up a six pack of the new SRT Ale after the first cans came off the canning line Wednesday, April 15. The new ale is named after the Schuylkill River Trail, and will be launched April 22 following a 5-day launch event.
Brian O’Reilly, brewmaster at Sly Fox Brewing Co. on Circle of Progress Drive in Pottstown holds up a six pack of the new SRT Ale after the first cans came off the canning line Wednesday, April 15. The new ale is named after the Schuylkill River Trail, and will be launched April 22 following a 5-day launch event. John Strickler — Digital First Media

POTTSTOWN >> Sly Fox Brewing is gearing up for the launch of its newest product — SRT Ale — a product which both celebrates and benefits the Schuylkill River Trail.

The unprecedented multi-day launch — The SRT Spree — will include trail cleanups in collaboration with the Schuylkill River Heritage Area and regional sampling along the Schuylkill River Trail prior to the official launch of SRT Ale on Earth Day, April 22.

SRT Ale is brewed to appeal to craft beer fans who also love the outdoors, according to Corey Reid, Sly Fox sales manager.

“We deliberately made it a lower alcohol beer — a more refreshing beer. We wanted to make it a lighter color to appeal to a wider audience. But we also wanted to give it a big aroma. It’s light, golden and refreshing but with an aroma that makes it recognizable as a craft beer,” Reid said.

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Reid said the collaboration with the SRHA was a natural one. He said it started with Sly Fox Brewing looking at ways to donate to the upkeep of the trails.

“When we started looking at how to donate — we realized the trail is 130 miles long, so we couldn’t just designate one county,” he said. “We looked at how the trail is maintained and that the SRHA oversees it and they are right here in Pottstown. It was perfect; they are our neighbors.”

A portion of the proceeds will be given to the Schuylkill River Heritage Area, but Reid said it’s “wide open” how much money it might be, and it depends on the popularity of the brew.

Kurt D. Zwikl, executive director of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area said regardless of how much might come to the organization, it was worth the effort. The ale’s name, SRT, stands for Schuylkill River Trail, and each can of ale features the trail logo.

“It is a great commercial for the trail and something we thought would really benefit our organization and the trail as a whole,” Zwikl said.

When Sly Fox management suggested the idea of a seasonal ale that would promote the trail, Zwikl said he was intrigued.

“In many ways, their constituents are our constituents. They are attracting hikers, bikers, kayakers. Those are the individuals we look for, as well. The blending of their interest and ours is a natural,” he added.

After some discussions, the collaboration was presented to the board of directors for the Schuylkill River Heritage Area and approved.

The idea for trail cleanups as part of the SRT Spree event grew out of the discussions, according to Zwikl.

“I think what we thought was unique was how they put some thought into the event. They will be on the trail during this event — in the water, on a bike. They will be promoting the trail,” he said.

During the Spree, Reid and another Sly Fox employee will travel from Pottsville to Philadelphia. The team will travel by kayak, bike, on foot and horseback to get from one stop to the next. Reid said they will be carrying a large flag with a graphic representation of a can of SRT Ale. Each day the Spree will stop along the trail for an organized trail cleanup and samplings of SRT Ale at various pubs along the trail route.

“We agreed to organize the clean-up at trailheads along the route,” Zwikl added.

A total of five clean-ups are planned, at Port Clinton, Kernsville Dam, Union Township, Lock 60 and the Schuylkill Banks. Zwikl said at least 25 volunteers have committed at each location, but the number could be as high as 50 volunteers along the way.

The Schuylkill River Heritage Area builds and maintains the trail in Berks and Schuylkill counties. Montgomery, Chester and Philadelphia counties maintain the trail in those counties. Zwikl said the SRHA does maps and provides other support for the entire trail.

“Brewing a tribute beer to the crown jewel of regional recreation was a natural for us,” said Sly Fox Brewmaster, Brian O’Reilly in a press release. “The Schuylkill Watershed is vital to the work we do and Sly Fox is committed to supporting it.”

For a schedule of stops along the SRT Spree, visit www.slyfoxbeer.com/index.php/front/srtspree Follow the event on Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/1526582460963574.

For information about the Schuylkill River Heritage Area visit www.schuylkillriver.org. For more information about the Schuylkill River Trail visit www.schuylkillrivertrail.com.

Follow Business Editor Donna Rovins on Twitter @MercBiz and email story ideas to drovins@21st-centurymedia.com.