Dr. Matt Downs from Carlson Tillisch Eye Clinic

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Brewery, eye clinic promoting 20/20 vision in 2020

Mankato Brewery and Carlson-Tillisch Eye Clinic hope 2020 proceeds from a new beer brewed Wednesday will help bring 20/20 vision to those most in need.

The businesses are collaborating to make 20/20 ESP, a spin on a traditional English-style ale. Once it's canned, 20 cents from each can sold will go toward a Lions Club program funding eye exams and glasses.

Bill VanderSluis of the Mankato Lions Club said the local service organization's members were thrilled to hear the businesses wanted to help.

"This is really cool," he said. "They've got this neat design to get it to fit in with 2020 and make it something that gives back to the community."Carlson-Tillisch regularly supports the Lions Club program.

The eye clinic and Mankato Brewery first discussed offering a special beer at a company event last fall before evolving the plan into a wider offering benefiting a charitable cause in 2020, said Tami Gay, director of operations at Carlson-Tillisch and a Lions Club member.

"The year 2020 only comes once in a lifetime, so the opportunity is here," she said. "We thought what can we do to make a difference."Through its "Canned for the Helping Hand" series, the brewery plans to partner with more businesses in 2020 for special brews benefiting charitable causes.

The 20/20 ESP, standing for "Extra Special Pale Ale" will kick off the series, with head brewer Chris Collins saying it's the brewery's first attempt at that style of beer.Known as an "Extra Special Bitter" in England, the style is a misnomer in that the beers aren't overly bitter. The brewery opted to slightly change its beer's name for that reason.

The 20/20 signifies more than a nod at the year and the measure for sharpness of vision. The beer's international bitterness unit, or IBU, and SRM, or standard reference method, both measure 20.

A 20 IBU means the beer is only mildly bitter, while a 20 SRM denotes an amber-red hue.

Collins said he's hopeful the beer will raise awareness for the Lion's Club program. Through referrals from places including Open Door Health Center, The Salvation Army or area school districts, the Lion's Club covers funding for children and adult eye exams and glasses.

"We're starting 2020 off providing 20/20 vision for those in need," Collins said.

The beer is set to launch on tap at NaKato Bar in late January. Liquor stores will start carrying 16-ounce cans in four-packs in February.

Gay and Carlson-Tillisch Co-owner Matt Downs said they'd love it if the beer proved popular enough to be brewed again in the future. The brewery does something similar with its Hero Hazy IPA, a beer brewed in honor of Jonathan Zierdt in collaboration with Lupulin Brewing.

"We hope this goes so well that 20/20 is sold in years to come," Gay said.

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January 8, 2020