Synapse Session IPA benefits Thomas Jefferson University’s Division of Neuro-Oncology, which researches and treats brain cancer. It’s close to the heart of Love City general manager Mike Tramontana, who lost his father to glioblastoma, an aggressive form of the disease, several years ago.
Love City owners Kevin and Melissa Walter also have been affected by that particular form of cancer. Friend Kurt Wunder, former co-owner of popular Northern Liberties bar and dance club the 700, was diagnosed with glioblastoma last year and is currently fighting the disease. The mother of one of Melissa’s childhood friends died of it, as well.
“It’s such a rare disease, but a disease that we’ve had a lot of interaction with so far,” Melissa Walter says.
To help combat the cancer, Love City will donate 10 percent of the sales of Synapse Session IPA to Jefferson’s neuro-oncology division. The donation, Tramontana says, will go specifically toward glioblastoma research.
The beer, a 4.8 percent-alcohol session IPA, was brewed earlier this summer with some help from Jefferson. Two staff members, Walter says, took a trip to Love City to learn the brewing process and do some “grunt work,” such as add hops during the brew and clean grain out of the mash tun after it was finished. Drinkers, she says, can expect a “good summer beer” that is refreshing and hoppy with mild, malty sweetness.
The Love City team made about 40 kegs worth of the beer, which will be available at their taproom and in some area bars. The batch, Tramontana says, should last until about mid-September, after which the brewery will make its donation to Jefferson.
Synapse Session IPA is the latest in a line of charitable beers from Love City. The company has made beers benefiting such organizations as Pathways to Housing PA, For the Least of Our Brothers, and the Sunday Love Project, among others. That type of community outreach, Walter says, was important to include in Love City’s business model because of her previous work in the mental-health field.
“I worked as a therapist for eight years in the area,” she says. “I knew when we wanted to open a business that we had to do something to give back to the city, just because I know how much need there is here.”
Last year’s partners were decided on by social media vote, and this year’s nonprofits were selected from suggestions from the Love City staff, giving the directive a more personal touch. Next up is a brew with the congenital heart disease-focused nonprofit Big Hearts to Little Hearts, which was nominated by a Love City bartender whose daughter underwent heart surgery as a newborn.