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Grumpy For Good

Disgruntled Brewery will serve the brew, Ella, in cans for this first time this year to raise money for Ella's Halo.1 / 2
Taryn and Ryan Krumwiede run Ella's Halo, a non-profit that supports families with infants in Neonatal Intensive Care units in the Twin Cities. (submitted photo)2 / 2

Moving on from a loss and turning grief into something positive can be difficult, but for Taryn and Ryan Krumwiede, that was what they needed to do when they lost their infant daughter Ella due to complications from being premature, Thursday, Sept. 7 at Disgruntled Brewery patrons can honor Ella's memory and help raise money for the Ella's Halo foundation with a brew specially made from a hop named Ella.

The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and will include tasty Disgruntled Brews, food from Bully Barbecue, live music, and a silent auction. All proceeds will go to Ella's Halo, a nonprofit that supports families with infants in Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the Twin Cities.

Disgruntled Brewery's Tap Room manager, Robin Pettow, says the Krumwiedes first approached them last year about partnering with the foundation to raise money for their projects. Giving back to the community is important to the company, and it's something they wanted to make a part of what they do when they started the tap room and brewery. Saying yes to a fundraiser at the tap room last year and this year made sense.

"It's something we think is important," Pettow said. "What Taryn and Ryan do helps make the situation families find themselves in a little less stressful."

Taryn and Ryan Krumwiede both grew up in Perham and still have family in the area. They graduated from Perham high school in 1999, went on to college and ended up in Minneapolis. Ella, their first child, was born in 2009, premature at 24 weeks. She weighed one pound. After three months in the University of Minnesota Children's hospital, she passed away due complications from being premature. "We were fortunate to have her for those three months," says Taryn.

The couple had many people reaching out wanting to know how they could help, and Taryn says her first idea was to collect blankets for the NICU that were more baby orientated to help create a warmer, more home-like environment.

"It was great to see how excited the nurses were to receive the blankets; that jump started us thinking about what else could we do for the families," says Taryn. "It was a way to put our energy towards a better cause after our loss."

While Taryn says she was fortunate to live only five minutes away from the hospital, many families came from much further away and often times with not much more than a small bag of essentials. The emotional roller coaster of having a newborn in the NICU for an extended period of time can be made worse by being in strange surroundings, without the support of family and friends close by.

"We realized how much support families like that need. It's a difficult journey, and we wanted to make it as home-like as possible, so care packages became one of our projects."

They raise money so that every family admitted to the NICUs receives a bag. The foundation has done other projects while working with the hospitals, but Taryn says that one is the most popular item. Events such as the one at Disgruntled Brewery help raise money for projects like the bags.

Last year when the brewery agreed to do the fundraiser, brewer and president Brett Doebbeling crafted a blonde ale from an Australian hop named Ella just for the event and, appropriately enough, christened the new brew, Ella. All the proceeds from that beer go to the foundation.

"This type of beer goes over well in this area, and I wanted to create something that would be a good fundraiser for their cause," Doebbeling says. "It's a light refreshing beer that is a touch sweeter."

Taryn says it feels pretty special to have the brew not only named after their daughter, but made from a hop named Ella. "It was just perfect last year when they told us they had it, and this year they are canning it. Its pretty special."

The overwhelmingly positive reception to their foundation has helped the Krumwiedes keep it going all these years later. In 2010 they became a 5013(c), and while they have a board of directors, they are very involved with all the projects, in addition to having full time jobs and raising a family.

And now that they have other children Taryn feels the foundation is a good lesson for them to learn to be kind and also a reminder that Ella is still a part of their family.

"Our children very much know there is a sister that is not here, that has a lot to do with Ella's Halo. We want them to know about giving back—it's become part of them as well."