St. Pete brewery taps special beer honoring veterans

Mark Wilson reports

- While a number of businesses are honoring veterans on this Veterans Day, 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg has tapped into something unique: A limited edition American Wheat Ale.

It's a unique wheat ale recipe in a specially designed can called Tango Yankee -- or "thank you" in military shorthand -- and will feature a brief story about a local veteran each year with proceeds donated to charity.

Bruce Harting, from St. Pete, is the inaugural honoree.

"Is this a great country or what?" Harting said with a wide smile as he recalled the moment he first learned of the honor.

He earned his purple heart in Vietnam.  It was April 1966.  While serving with the 3rd Platoon, C Company, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, he was leading his troops into an ambush near the Laotian border, he is credited with saving their lives by guiding them away from heavy fire.

"I pushed them to the side and while I was leaning over on top of the vehicle, that's when I got shot in the back of my leg."

He was airlifted out of Vietnam and healed up in the states. Eventually, he taught at Officer Training School.

Harting says his story is hardly special and he is merely a symbol of the many vets for whom they are grateful of their sacrifice.

But his story is special, especially to Bruce's son Mike, who owns 3 Daughters and surprised his dad by naming him the inaugural Tango Yankee honoree last week.

"When I first saw the can," he said, choking back tears, "it was touching. Really touching."

Not only is Bruce's name and story on the back of the can, the front label sports a pencil sketch of Army medics tending to an injured soldier. It's a reproduction of artwork given to Bruce 50 years ago by the first class of recruits he taught at Officer Training School.

"This can is merely a thank you," Bruce said as he again insisted it's not about him.  "This is our way of thanking veterans everywhere. What you've done in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, or wherever. And whether it's one year, six years or 30 years, what you've done for us is greatly appreciated."

Tango Yankee is available now for a limited time at many locations including Winn Dixie. Proceeds will benefit the Navy Seal Foundation.

If you have a veteran that you would like to nominate to be featured on next year's can, you may contact 3 Daughters at http://3dbrewing.com/hero or by calling 727-495-6002.


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