’31 Heroes’ in helicopter crash honored with Kansas City beer

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OLATHE, Kan. -- August 6, 2011 a NATO helicopter carrying 30 U.S. Special Forces and a K-9 went down in Afghanistan. Matthew Mason, Alexander Bennett, Spencer Duncan, Bryan Nichols were among those killed.

“He was the most amazing man I’ve ever known,” Nichols' widow Mary said.

Some time after his death, Nichols started thinking about a way to honor her late husband.

"Bryan loved craft beer, so we would always have to go to breweries every time we went somewhere,so I though what better way to commemorate his memory than a beer?” Nichols said.

“We sat down and talked about what beers she liked, what kind of beers Bryan liked, and there was this constant theme of wheat beers and IPAs,” Torn Label Brewmaster Travis Moore said.

So Torn Label created an unusual wheat IPA mix, it debuted on August 6th, the 5th anniversary of the crash. Wednesday they had a taproom takeover at the Olathe Whole Foods Market with 10 percent of all sales going to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which has pledged to pay for college of every child of those killed in the crash.

“It was a very gracious thing for Special Operations Warrior Foundation to do so I feel like it’s my small way to give back,” Nichols said.

The keg was one of the last to be tapped. Moors says as soon as people found out the story behind the beer, he had calls from across the country from people who knew the Navy SEALS and other military forces on board that fateful day, ordering cases and T-shirts.

“We love making beer, we love drinking beer, but we also realize there’s a bigger world out there, and our freedom and ability to do what we love is provided for by the military and what they have to offer us, so it’s huge for us to be able to contribute in some small way,” Moore said.

Torn Label is also contributing $1 from every sale to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

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