Hedgehog Brewing celebrates local beer-fundraising legend Marvis ‘The Middleman’ Dixon with his own West Coast IPA
In June 2020, at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests going on across the US, San Antonio TX’s Weathered Souls Brewing launched their Black Is Beautiful collaboration beer fundraising project, which swiftly became a huge international success. Here in Central Texas, the campaign to raise awareness about the Black Is Beautiful project, recruit breweries and even cideries, and fundraise for local charities and advocacy groups for People of Color has been spearheaded by Marvis Dixon, better known as ‘The Middleman’ for his skill at building bridges in the beer community and encouraging businesses to work together and brew Black Is Beautiful.
For Marvis, spreading the word about the Black Is Beautiful project has been a very personal mission, bringing together his passion for social justice and his love of beer and brewing. On top of his day job at Family Business Beer Company and his college classes (from which he recently graduated – congratulations!), Marvis has spent the last year and a half traveling around Central Texas enrolling breweries into the project, taking part in BIB brew days and supporting BIB releases. A much-loved figure in the local beer scene, Marvis can be found championing Black Is Beautiful with his large, well-known flag, at venues around the Hill Country most every weekend. No Black Is Beautiful release is complete without his presence, and his Instagram feed is the most up-to-date way to stay in the loop about new BIB beers.
Soon after the initial recipe release last summer, Marvis organized a virtual and in-person 5k fundraiser to support the project, running through Cedar Park from The Brewtique craft beer store to Red Horn Brewing, with those who couldn’t make it in person participating from home. He ran a second 5k fundraiser at Jester King Brewing last October and released his own line of ‘Middleman’ buttons and magnets to support the African American Youth Harvest Foundation. Marvis’s incredible commitment to fighting racial injustice through beer has been recognized in a mural by local artist @brikslovesyou on the wall of The Brewtique, and by Cedar Park’s Hedgehog Brewing, who have brewed Marvis his very own Middleman beer – a bright, balanced West Coast IPA. First released as a highly limited edition back in July 2020, the Middleman is now back as a full batch release, and is currently available at the brewery on tap and in cans. The beer is smoothly medium-bodied with juicy tangerine at the front and a piney, lightly spiced finish – a deliciously crushable brew perfect for Marvis (and the rest of us) to wind down with as summer segues to autumn.
Hedgehog owners Chris and Jonathan Harris were inspired to brew the Middleman after getting to know Marvis and seeing how much of an impact his efforts have made on the local beer scene. “We wanted to name the beer after Marvis for a lot of reasons,” says Chris, “He’s been a big supporter of us, introduced us to a lot of beer people around town – both brewers and consumers, he’s been instrumental in so many breweries brewing Black Is Beautiful, including orchestrating our second brew of Black Is Beautiful that we did with Celis, and we wanted to do something to show our appreciation.” Jonathan agrees, adding “I’m not sure when we first met Marvis but he started coming by the brewery last year and just hanging out with us, and we pretty instantaneously became friends.” The beer was a natural way for Chris and Jonathan to show their appreciation. “We’d been talking with Marvis about making the Middleman for a while now and we are stoked to finally get it out,” says Chris, “We did a small batch last fall but we’ve been wanting to make a full batch ever since, and Marvis had been asking us for a West Coast IPA so that seemed like the perfect beer to name after him.”
Marvis himself has been delighted with the project, and extremely appreciative of the recognition. “It’s amazing to know how much Hedgehog have supported me in recognizing how much I’ve advocated supporting Black Is Beautiful,” he says, adding, “I think that a lot of the beers Hedgehog do are amazing – they are definitely a brewery I come to visit a lot.” Marvis is also really pleased with the Middleman itself, which he describes as ‘So delicious and refreshing!”
In a close, tight-knit beer community as we have in Central Texas, it’s always extra special to see a shared appreciation of one another’s contribution to that community, and Marvis’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness around issues of social and racial justice are more than deserving of this thoughtful and tasty accolade. “To be honest I’m a normal person,” says Marvis modestly, “I’m doing what’s right and want others to do the work that we still need to stand up for!” With new Black Is Beautiful beers continuing to be released in and around Central Texas, Marvis’s work is certainly paying off.
Follow Marvis ‘the Middleman’ Dixon on Instagram @panama_nc to keep up with his adventures and new Black Is Beautiful releases #doyouknowthemiddleman.
You can buy The Middleman West Coast IPA at the Hedgehog Brewing taproom in Cedar Park.