Breweries come together to honor memory of DC beer fixture

Ben Tolken was a fixture in the D.C. beer community for more than a decade, and now that same community is honoring his memory by creating and selling a new brew to raise money for a cause near and dear to their hearts.

Tolken started his career behind the bar, working at Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown, before becoming a beer rep for Brooklyn Brewing. Nearly six years ago, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Ewing sarcoma, fighting the disease until his passing in October.

"My brother was simply remarkable," says Tolken's sister Jessy Tolken. "Anyone that you talk to will say that. The most remarkable part about Ben was his spirit and the way he lit up every single room he went into. I was so proud to be his sister."

Now, the D.C. beer community and beyond, including seven breweries, have collaborated on a special beer called Living the Dream.

"Whenever you would ask Ben how he was doing, sitting in the chemo chair or selling beer, Ben would tell you he was living the dream, and I know I'm going to spend my whole life trying to embody that positivity," Jessy says.

The beer, the design of which is based of the movie, "The Never Ending Story" to show that Tolken's story will live on forever, was created not only to honor Ben, but also to benefit the Sarcoma Foundation. All the proceeds from the sale of the Living the Dream beer will go towards the organization.

The beer will launch on Friday at all of Pizzeria Paradiso's locations and will be sold at multiple retail establishments throughout the District.