Former Boston University hockey player Travis Roy was known to Bostonians for his story and his philanthropy, but those close to Roy also knew him as a keeper of good friends and a fan of good IPAs.
Roy, who tragically was paralyzed during his first shift for BU’s hockey team in 1995, died in October at the age of 45. At the time of his death, tributes to Roy poured in from all over the sports world. Now, a few months later, another tribute is being paid to him in the form of one of his favorite beverages.
Dorchester Brewing Company and Worcester’s Wormtown Brewery have teamed up to brew a beer called “24,” a reference to Roy’s uniform number. The red ale was made in Roy’s longtime home of Boston and features spruce tips and Blue Ox malt from Maine, Roy’s home state.
Dorchester Brewing operations manager Jim O’Neil chose to honor Roy in part because of a personal connection to his story.
“I was a sophomore at Boston University when Travis Roy was a freshman,” O’Neil said. ” I remember being at that game, and rushing back to my dorm room afterwards to flip on the television to watch the news — this was in 1995, before the internet, really. I remember being shocked that they were saying that a BU player had been paralyzed. When Travis died, I started to think more about him and his impact on the BU community.”
That impact is sizable: In 25 years, the Travis Roy Foundation has raised $20.4 million, according to director Lisa Kielt. More than 2,000 people, many of them quadriplegics, have received grants toward vehicle and home improvements, as well as wheelchairs and other quality-of-life improvements. Additionally, nearly $6 million has gone toward medical research on upper body mobility. After his tragic hit, Roy lost movement from the neck down.
Kielt says the new beer will “celebrate Travis,” and “will also replicate for others the moments Travis loved best — simple breaks in the ordinary, enjoying the company of friends new and old, gathered together for a terrific cause.” During his life, Roy was known to gravitate toward the bitter IPA “maybe because its forthright nature was reliably present.”
Beer fans should know that “24” is an IPA of 6.5 percent alcohol by volume, with flavor Dorchester Brewing’s O’Neil describes as “earthy, piney, hoppy, with a nice malt balance showcasing caramel notes.”
The beer is scheduled to be released April 9, to coincide with NCAA hockey’s Frozen Four, also taking place that weekend. Available for in-person drafts and 32-ounce crowlers to go, the beer will be a tap room only release in Dorchester, as well as at Wormtown’s Worcester and Foxborough/Patriot Place locations. A dollar from ever beery sold will be donated to the Travis Roy Foundation.
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