BIDDEFORD — The head beer-maker at Dirigo Brewing Co. is happy with how his newest release turned out, but equally pleased with the cause it will support.

Dirigo recently partnered with the local firefighters union on a new beer, Big Water, a Kolsch style ale, with the understanding that the proceeds of all sales will benefit nearly three dozen people displaced by a fire in April.

“It’s been a great experience for us,” brewer Ray Edgar said. “The union has been fantastic and it feels good to help the community.”

After a fire at a Hill Street apartment building left 34 people homeless, many in the community looked for ways to help those affected.

State Rep. Martin Grohman created an online funding campaign that raised more than $7,000 to help displaced tenants, but significant need remained. City General Assistance Administrator Kristen Barth said there are specific guidelines for administering General Assistance aid, and there are no designated funds available for immediate help for fire victims. Barth said officials recognize the need to be more proactive and have funds on hand should another major fire occur.

Dirigo was happy to step up.

On Tuesday morning, local firefighters were at the brewery stacking cases of beer as cans came off the assembly line. The beer will debut at an event from 4 to 8 p.m. Aug. 17, at the Dirigo Brewing tasting room, 28 Pearl St., a few blocks from Main Street with a view of the Saco River.

“It’s crisp, clean and bready,” Edgar said. “I’m really happy with the beer. I think it really came out nice.”

Firefighter Tim Sevigney called Dirigo Brewery a “hidden gem” in Biddeford, and said the event will not only benefit the community but will also help promote a local business.

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