rollerbeer_120A new beer was introduced in Lansing yesterday to celebrate the Ithaca League of Women Rollers (ILWR).  The Rogues' Harbor Brewing Company introduced the beer last night at the bar in Lansing's historic Rogues' Harbor Inn.  Not only did roller derby fans get to sample the new beer, but its official name was revealed: 'Hell On Wheels Wit'.

"It suits them," says Rogues' Harbor owner Eileen Stout.  "It is a Belgian wheat beer, otherwise known as a wit.  It's light.  It's a little bit cloudy because it's unfiltered, so it has some earthy flavors, and it's seasoned with coriander and bitter orange."

rollerbeer_behindthebarMeeting, greeting, and celebrity bar tending (left to right) BlueStockings skaters Cello Sullivan (aka Armagayddon), Christa Shopis (aka Killah Watts), Rogues' Harbor Brewing Company Brewer Chris Williams, and Assistant Brewer Alex Schwartz

Stout says she decided to sponsor the team because they became the inn's neighborswhen ILWR took over the old East Shore Skate Park that originally was a grocery store behind the inn.  ILWR obtained the building to use as its practice space.  Stout has brought her young daughter to matches, and brewer Chris Williams has been participating with the league.

It was Williams' idea to create a special beer for the skaters.  He invited team members to the brewery to taste a selection of brews and choose the one they liked the best.  They also helped choose the name.

ILWR includes the SufferJets, its flagship team, which was formed in 2007.  In 2010 the league's second team, the Blue Stockings, was formed, and the Junior League of Rollers began later that year, offering roller derby competition opportunities to athletes ages 8-17.  The not-for-profit league also boasts 'jeerleaders', referees and announcers.  The league is a member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA).

rollerbeer_sufferjetpracticeThe SufferJets practice in their new home before walking across the parking lot to enjoy Hell On Wheels Wit

"The juniors, obviously, will not be joining us in the bar," Stout said.  "We're going to be planning another event in the Spring that is more family oriented.  They're selling T-shirts and backpacks and stickers.  We'll be making a T-shirt for this beer as well, but the art work wasn't finished in time for this event."

Rogues' Harbor Brewing Company opened a year and a half ago in the small building next to the inn that has housed coffee and sandwich shops and an antiques store in the past.  To date the beer has been exclusive to inn customers.  With the addition of the new beer the brewery is producing five beers ar any given time.  In addition to Hell On Wheels Wit it is currently producing Cayuga Cream Ale, Route 34 Red Ale, East Shore Pale Ale, and a brewer's choice which Williams chooses every four to six weeks.

Stout says that the brewery is gearing up to become a limited wholesaler, so it is possible the league beer will be available soon at a few locations in the county, including the Ithaca Coffee Company and Da Westy on West State Street.  Ithaca Coffee Company is planning an October tasting.  The brewery does not bottle its beer, but it is available in kegs and growlers.

Beer produced at the inn has been popular since it was introduced there last year.  Stout says Hell On Wheels Wit will be available year 'round, and the brewery will make the $20 per keg donation on an ongoing basis, as well as continuing to sponsor the team.

The bar was ful last night, with many people trying the new beer while others chose their favorites from Rogues' Harbor Brewery beers.Some team members acted as celebrity bartenders for the event last night, while others were on hand to meet and greet fans.  Video footage of the teams in action were shown on TVs around the bar, and live music was provided by Lonnie Park.

While the Ithaca roller derby season typically goes from May to October, it's not too late to see the SufferJets in action.  Their final bout of the season will be at the Cass Park Rink a week from tomorrow, Saturday, October 6th at 7pm.  They will be challenged by the Charlotte RollerGirls.