Cheers! Montclair Brewery creates beers to commemorate Black History Month

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An Essex County brewery has created two beers that commemorate Black History Month.

February is a time to honor those who changed the world by fighting for equal rights for the black community. And Montclair Brewery is doing its part to honor those who fought for equal rights.

“People are coming in specifically asking for the Black History Month beer,” says co-owner Denise Ford-Sawadogo.

Ford-Sawadogo and her husband Leo Sawadogo say that they poured their hearts and souls into creating their beer using February to display their heritage. They have created specialty beers like The Motherland Sorgum and Barton's Bush Coconut Stout using ingredients from Africa and Jamaica.

They also have other brews honoring trailblazers in the black community, like Tubman Railroad Strawberry Ale in honor of Harriet Tubman and a beer showcasing Larry Dobby the second black person to play major-league baseball.

"Not everyone knows about him and there are people that come in and say, ‘Oh yes, I know him and I know his story. I've been following it and I think it's so great,’ and there are others that say, ‘Wow, I’ve never heard of him. That's fantastic.’ So, it's a learning opportunity as well,” says Ford-Sawadogo.

Since the couple opened the bar over a year ago they have made it a tradition, and say that they plan to continue rolling out new brews for Black History Month.

"He went to Montclair high school - I'm talking about Al Anderson which is one of the greatest guitar players. He played with Bob Marley and the Wailers until Bob Marley passed,” says Sawadogo. “So, I am designing a beer specifically to honor this guy."

The owners say that this is also a time for people to see and taste what black-owned businesses have to offer in the community.

"It's so important for us to survive. We need the business and we need people to come and patronize us all year round,” says Ford-Sawadogo.

The business owners are also showcasing a variety of African inspired artists and poets every Friday at the brewery during Black History Month.

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