Zeus Brewing Company honors fallen firefighter

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"PK's Bravest" beer by Zeus Brewing in Poughkeepsie. Mid-Hudson News file photo.

POUGHKEEPSIE – In May of 2015, Poughkeepsie Firefighter Timothy “Timbo” Gunther paid the ultimate sacrifice after battling a Church Street fire in which a resident also perished.  On Friday, Zeus Brewing Company on Main Street unveiled “PK’s Bravest” craft beer to honor Gunther.

Gunther, a 21-year veteran of the department, assigned to Engine 2 (now reserve Engine 4) was working with fellow firefighters at a Church Street blaze on May 5, 2015.  After an exhausting few hours, including removing a lifeless victim from the building, Gunther told Deputy Chief Ed Decker, now retired, that he was feeling short of breath combined with a tingling in his left arm.  Decker and then Lieutenant, now Captain, Steve Bauer, got

Zeus Brewing Company. 178 Main Street, Poughkeepsie.

Gunther to the Mobile Life ambulance which rushed the married father of two children to Vassar Brothers Medical Center. Gunther’s condition worsened and he was removed from life support the next day, dying from cardiac issues.  His death was considered a line of duty death, or LODD.  Recalling Gunther on the day “PK’s Bravest” was released, Deputy Chief Decker said, “When Timbo was getting on the ambulance, it was the last time I saw him alive – It still doesn’t really register with me.”

The new PK’s Bravest beer with one of the Timbo commemorative shirts.

Jeremy Phillips, manager of Zeus worked with the City of Poughkeepsie Fire Department IAFF Local 596 firefighters to brew a beer to honor Gunther’s memory.  Zeus Brewmaster Amit Ram gave the firefighters two choices, an IPA or a faster-drinking lager.  The professional firefighters chose the Mexican Lager because “That’s the beer that Timbo would drink,” said Local 596 President Nick Bucher. Bucher noted that “Zeus Brewing will be donating a portion of the proceeds, in Timbo’s honor, to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation which assists survivors of fallen heroes and lobbies for safety improvements to protect firefighters.”

“It’s an honor to work with the firefighters – Poughkeepsie’s bravest, in developing a beer to honor Timbo,” said Phillips.  “The Poughkeepsie firefighters are an incredible group of brave men that risk their lives daily to protect us – and that is truly admirable.”  The brewery manager also said that the release of the beer was originally scheduled for May 5, but the pandemic interrupted that plan.

“Jeremy Phillips, Zeus Brewing, and their sister establishment, Schatzi’s Pub, have always supported Local 596 and the city.  Partnering with an organization that has made substantial investments in us and the city is something our members support and appreciate,” said Bucher.  Mayor Rob Rolison visited Zeus on Friday for the release and expressed his sentiment, saying “We are so appreciative of this kind gesture to brew a beer in memory of firefighter Tim Gunther who lost his life 5 years ago next week. Jeremy Phillips and his team are not only remembering Tim but also helping the Fallen Firefighters Foundation which helps so many.”

Like all restaurants and bars in New York, Zeus has been forced to switch to a “take-out” menu, including the sales of alcoholic beverages.  The limited “PK’s Bravest” beer, with 4.5% alcohol content is available for pickup at their 178 Main Street location.  The cost is $13 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans or $78 per case.  The limited production has made one hundred cases available to the public.  A few kegs of PK’s Bravest have been set aside to fill 32-ounce cans, known as crowlers, after the 16-ounce cans have been sold out.