New Helvetia develops IPA to celebrate proposed Sacramento farmers market mural

A computer-generated image depicting half of the Bright Underbelly mural project.
A computer-generated image depicting half of the Bright Underbelly mural project. L/C Mural & Design

Plans for the 70,000-square-foot Bright Underbelly mural that two local artists want to install above the Sunday farmers market are well underway, now with support from one of Sacramento’s popular craft breweries.

New Helvetia Brewing Company, located on Broadway not far from the market at 8th and X streets, will release a brand new Bright Underbelly Bergamot IPA this Wednesday. The new brew is named after the proposed giant mural from local art duo Sofia Lacin and Hennessy Christophel, who hope to bring color and life to the underside of the W/X freeway that has long served as a drab ceiling for the crowded Sunday market.

All said and done, the project will cost an estimated $150,000, of which $110,000 has already been raised, said Tre Borden, program manager. Currently, the team is working with the city and the California Department of Transportation, which has final say on the mural, to finalize a maintenance agreement. Borden hopes to begin painting later this spring.

Dave Gull, owner of New Helvetia, said he heard about the project as part of his role in the Greater Broadway Partnership, and is happy to support public art in his neighborhood. He approached Lacin and Christophel before developing the recipe and agreed to brew something with a bright, fresh feel to highlight the colorful project.

The proposed mural will have a “magical forest” look that incorporates the changing seasons with elements such as bees and migrating geese, the artists told The Bee last year. The artists also designed the label for the IPA, which was brewed earlier this month and has not yet been bottled.

“We wanted a beer that would look and taste and feel bright,” Gull said. “It really reflects the project itself. We want to keep this idea of public art front and center in the beer world’s mind.”

New Helvetia will debut the beer Wednesday during a promotional event featuring music and a visit from Insight Coffee Roasters. A $20 ticket gets two pints of the IPA, with all additional funds going to the Bright Underbelly project.

Those who donate more than $100 to the cause can have their names inscribed on one of the 24 pillars under the mural, Borden said. A $5,000 donation, one of the biggest so far, came from the farmers market itself.

Though future sales of the beer won’t directly generate funds for the project, Gull said he hopes the Underbelly beer will raise awareness. The brewery also plans to support the project by supplying beer at future mural fundraising events.

“You think of underbelly as this grimy, seedy, stark place,” Borden said. “We want to flip that around and really make this a source of brightness and light for the community, having to really do with the activities at the farmers market.”

Editor’s note (3:30 p.m.): This post was updated to reflect the fact that donors can have their names inscribed on a pillar for donating a minimum $100, not $200.

Call The Bee’s Sammy Caiola, (916) 321-1636.

Bright Underbelly Bergamot IPA Release Party

What: A promotional event for the Bright Underbelly art mural over the Sunday farmers market in downtown Sacramento

Where: New Helvetia Brewing Company, 1720 Broadway, Sacramento

When: Wednesday Feb. 25, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Cost: $20

Info: www.newhelvetiabrew.com

Related stories from Sacramento Bee