Chestnut Hill College’s Annual Reunion Weekend is right around the corner as Griffins of all ages are looking forward to gathering in person for this year’s all-class reunion event. This year's event has been expanded to include five days of reunion activities, including a Young Alumni Night, Athletics Hall of Fame Dinner, and Beyond Resilience, a gala honoring the remarkable legacy of Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D., President of Chestnut Hill College. There is something for everyone at Reunion 2022!
For all the excitement surrounding this year’s event, one of the most unique elements of Reunion 2022 is the debut of a very special beer brewed in honor of Sister Carol and in celebration of the impact she has made over her 30-year tenure as CHC President.
On tap and in cans for the first time, Chestnut Hill College, in collaboration with the Chestnut Hill Brewing Co., is proud to announce the Vale Pale Ale - a beer with a pilsner malt base with hops flavor any beer drinker will enjoy. The flavor palate is much like Sister Carol’s inner strength with her illuminating confidence for the future.
The name, Vale Pale Ale, was a no-brainer as it incorporates both Sister Carol’s name as well as a popular style of beer. In addition, the label on the can features Sister Carol’s likeness.
“When we began planning for this historic year at CHC, we knew we wanted to incorporate the vibrant local community in some way,” says Maureen Fisher, Director of Alumni Relations. “The Young Alumni Committee expressed the idea that it would be fun to collaborate with Chestnut Hill Brewing Company to create a special beer for us. The brewery is known for being community-driven, as is CHC. It is a natural fit to work together and do something different and unique.”
Chestnut Hill Brewing Company owners and married couple, Lindsey Pete and Nick Gunderson, showed immediate interest in crafting an ale around Sister Carol.
“It is an honor for us that we get to make a beer for the special occasion of one of the longest-serving college presidents, not just locally, but nationally. 30 years is impressive, and we are happy to help commemorate this event,” says Pete, a sentiment echoed by Gunderson.
Chestnut Hill Brewing Company opened in 2017 at its current location at the Market at the Fareway in Chestnut Hill, PA. What began as an entrepreneurial idea to be a hostel with a brewery, Chestnut Hill Brewing Company evolved and became what you see today: a full-service brewery with a taproom that serves food, cocktails, and most importantly, great beer.
“We were inspired by one of our favorite spots in Minnesota, where we met, called Punch Pizza, which made delicious Neapolitan wood-fired pizza and we wanted to take it a step further and make our own beer,” says Gunderson.
Two halves of a whole, Pete takes care of the business aspect of Chestnut Hill Brewing Company while Gunderson focuses on brewing. A self-taught brewer, Gunderson has made several signature drafts, including ‘Motra,’ which he has been brewing since day one.
“Nick's favorite part is creativity,” says his wife. “He likes to experiment with different hops, grains, and yeast, and is always excited about the newest technology and trends. He also really enjoys the biochemistry and process of making beer.”
Like Chestnut Hill College, Chestnut Hill Brewing Company values community and local growth. Not only is this a partnership that holds the possibility of future brews according to the brewery’s owners, but it also strengthens the College’s relationship with the neighboring community and its local vendors.
“Community is one of our core values and it is great to be able to partner with such a prominent member of the community. We enjoy making beer for special occasions and this is certainly an exciting one to be part of,” says Gunderson.
“We think people are going to absolutely love it,” Fisher adds. “We are weeks away from the first event that will feature Vale Pale Ale, and we couldn’t be more excited. It’s going to be great to see the beer in the hands of our loyal alumni and the smiles on their faces. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a new tradition for both CH Brewing Company and CHC.” The Vale Pale Ale will be available on tap at the brewery for a limited time.
Chestnut Hill Brewing Company is currently working on a post-pandemic relaunch of their Taproom. Having undergone many changes over the past two years, Pete and Gunderson are excited to release their new menu items, cocktails, and brews.
WHYY also covered the story. To read more, click here.