BURRILLVILLE – Since the early 1900s, there have been two firefighter social clubs in the village of Pascoag; Hose Company #1, and Hose Company #2.
That has finally changed this year, with membership uniting to create the new “Pascoag Hose Company,” while collaborating with a village brewery to enjoy a few pints of a beer inspired by, and customized for, the club itself.
On Saturday, April 9, Bravo Brewing Company held a reveal party for Box 444, a new beer on tap that will provide ongoing support for the new club, with a portion of proceeds from each batch sold donated to the hose company.
“It’s the social entities of the Pascoag Fire Department coming together,” explained member Ben Arndt. “We’re one department – and now we’re also one social club. We’ve come together under a new set of bylaws and a new charter.”
Arndt approached Bravo owner Chris Mishoe with the idea to celebrate the unification with a “hose company brew.”
“It was an immediate ‘yes,'” he said, noting it was Mishoe’s idea to create a brew that would stick around for more than just a single event, with proceeds to go to the club on an ongoing basis from beers both on tap, and in coolers at the Pascoag Main Street brewery.
Arndt notes the club was looking for, “something drinkable,” and a social libation, with slightly less alcohol content than your typical craft beer.
Mishoe came up with an American Whitbier – “brewed with generous amounts of wheat for a hazy and golden appearance. Sweet malt flavors paired with notes of orange zest and spice create a unique beer that is complex, but also light and refreshing,” according to the brewer.
“It’s very good. Chris really did a great job,” said Arndt, noting that the beer is similar in taste to a Shock Top, and just 4.44 percent alcohol by volume.
It’s a symbolic number also featured on the master pole box at the Pascoag Main Street Fire Station, from which the new, “Box 444,” derives its name.
The label, designed by Burrillville-based GS Incorporated with artwork provided by both Mishoe and the club, features that alarm box, along with photos of two antique fire trucks owned by the hose company. It also features history on the two village entities, both formed in the early 1900s with volunteer membership from the Pascoag Fire District.
“Throughout the years there have been many rivalries between the two Hose Companies, but when duty calls, all gripes are left at the door as we work together to keep the community as safe as possible,” the label notes.
“It came out fantastic,” Arndt said of the design. “I couldn’t ask for a better label.”
The clubs – social entities separate from the department itself – officially became one in January, and more than 40 members had their first taste of the new brew at an installation dinner earlier this week.
Lt. Brian Venditelli has been named president of the hose company, with Lt. Tom Walker to serve as secretary, and Firefighter Lorii Astillero and Capt. Stephen Bailey to serve as treasurers.
The beer itself went public at a fundraising event at Bravo Saturday that included raffles. The grand prize, a custom-painted AR 15 with a generic fire department logo from Big Bear Hunting & Fishing, will be drawn May 1.
Arndt noted that money raised goes to club activities, such as sponsorship of a Burrillville Little League team, or a yearbook page for Burrillville High School seniors.
“This has nothing to do with the fire department itself,” he explained, noting that the club is not involved in things like the purchase of equipment or the district’s operating budget. “This is the first collaboration between the two companies together as one, and this is the first big fundraiser we’re doing.”
The unique collaboration with the brewery creates a permanent link between the village department’s club and the village business, located just yards apart at Pascoag Main Street numbers 105 and 75, respectively.
“The way this all came out is more than we expected,” said Arndt, thanking Bravo for the support and collaboration, GS Incorporated for the, “spectacular,” label, and all of the sponsors that donated raffle items.
It’s a fitting tribute to two clubs with a long history in Burrillville that have finally come together.
“It’s been a monumental achievement,” Arndt said. “If we train together and work together on scenes, we should be together as one social group.”