Yards, Connor Barwin team up for new, Make the World Better IPA

Connor Barwin is retired, but not out!

He may have hung up his helmet for good, but former Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin has switched it up to another passion – giving back.

Barwin, founder of Make the World Better Foundation (MTWB), has partnered for the second year in a row with Yards Brewing Company to launch a new, limited-edition beer. The new, 7.0% IPA crafted by the brewers at Yards is called Make the World Better IPA and gets tapped this Friday at the brewery at 5th and Spring Garden streets. It’s part of their First Draft small batch series. 

A percentage of the proceeds sold from the MTWB IPA will benefit Barwin’s charity, which aims to revitalize Philly parks and playgrounds. Pints of suds at Yards will sell for around $6. 

“By summer 2020, we will have three playgrounds under construction,” he said. 

Trevor Prichett, CEO of Yards Brewing Company, said that the beer is brewed with local, organic spruce tips sourced from a farm in nearby Media. 

“Yards staff really wanted to do an interesting IPA, but also make it approachable and drinkable while also having a local feel to it. [It] features Simcoe hops, which have very appealing, soft citrus flavors. This provides some nice balance,” he said. 

Yards made 200 barrels of Make the World Better IPA. The majority is in draft form, but they also packaged 650 cases of 16-ounce cans which are available for purchase, not only at the brewery, but at more than 30 other locations around the Philly area. 

Connor Barwin and Yards Founder Tom Kehoe in the Yards warehouse.

Barwin announced his retirement from football two weeks ago, and while he no longer exercises as many as four hours a day, he said his wife keeps him on his toes by making sure he stays fit by working out roughly an hour every day. His life is different now, also, in that he has the ability to spend more time with his son and focus on his philanthropic efforts.

“I’m taking this fall to do things I’ve never been able to do in the fall the last 15 years, like spending a lot of time with my family. We’re looking to buy a house in Philly and really settling down in Philly permanently,” he said. 

“For me, I look at Yards as the great Philly brand, and for MTWB, we partnered with them last year. And this year, I’m very thankful that Yards has stepped it up and we’re making a lot more beer. Instead of just doing a draft, they have made a can, which is going to be huge for us because people can really see the brand and the partnership when you have that visual through the can.”

Barwin said MTWB is expected to complete three projects by the end of 2020, including the revamp of Vare Rec Center in Gray’s Ferry, and the reconstructions of Waterloo Playground in West Kensington and Ralph Brooks Park in Point Breeze. 

Friday’s beer launch event is open to the public with food and beverages for sale, and Prichett said the Yards staff will open the entire brewery, taproom, and warehouse to create a type of adult indoor playground for visitors. 

He added: “One of our core values at Yards is commitment to community, and it’s always been central to our mission to partner with [a philanthropy] that works really hard to make our back yard a better place to live and work and Make the World Better absolutely embodies that mission with the great work they do with enhancing public spaces.”

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