Great Lakes Brewing Co. is releasing a new brewpub exclusive beer called Fighting Heart Irish Red Ale in honor of Cleveland-born fighter Johnny Kilbane (April 9, 1889 – May 31, 1957) .
Fighting Heart Irish Red Ale will be tapped at 6 p.m. Sept. 25 at the brewpub in Ohio City. The free event coincides with the 100th anniversary of Kilbane’s victory against Abe Atell, which made him the World’s Featherweight Champion. He held the title for 11 years.
His home on Cleveland's west side was dedicated as a city landmark earlier this year.
Great Lakes will donate $1 from each pint sold to the Johnny Kilbane estate’s memorial fund. Pub brewer Joel Warger selected the roasty, malty Irish Red style to honor Kilbane’s heritage. The beer will be available while supplies last.
Fighting Heart Irish Red Ale is named after a poem written by Kilbane, and is a collaboration among Great Lakes and Kevin and Erin O’Toole, great-grandchildren of Kilbane.
"Johnny was Cleveland’s first international sports hero,” Kevin O’Toole said in a prepared statement. "He was a shining example of how anyone can literally come from nothing to achieve great success and then use that success for the betterment of the community."