Beer is more than a beverage that simply fills your glass; it’s a veritable market mover, a powerful force that creates jobs, generates revenue and transforms neighborhoods. But the true power of craft beer can be found in the community it fosters and in its ability to give back to members of that community that are in need. Thin Man Brewery’s 11 Day Power Play Pilsner, which was brewed to help fund cancer research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, is one such example of what locally produced craft beer is able to accomplish.

11 Day Power Play Pils, which combines German pilsner malt and traditional Czech hops, is available right now at all Tops, Wegmans and Consumer Beverages locations, as well as Premier Gourmet, Bottle Rocket and more. By purchasing this beer, not only are you getting a great beer, you are doing your part to give back as $3.67 from every four pack sold goes directly to the 11 Day Power Play Organization, which supports cancer causes in Western New York through an annual 11 day hockey marathon game. They have raised over $4 million since their inception in 2017.

Thin Man Brand Ambassador Mike Shatzel says he was happy to help 11 Day Power Play founders Mike & Amy Lesakowski brew a beer to raise money to fight cancer because many of his family members have unfortunately faced their own battle with it, including his sisters and both of his parents.

“This is actually the second time we have teamed up with 11 Day Power Play to brew beer,” Shatzel says. “The first time we were self-distributing and unable to can so we made a small splash locally with it. Myself, Mike & Amy and my good friend Chris Boron started the discussion of brewing and canning the beer again in late fall on 2019. Our distributor TJ Sheehan was very excited to jump on board also so we decided to make it happen. Both of my parents and a few of my sisters are cancer survivors so I take great pleasure in helping 11 Day Power Play in their fight against cancer.”

The Lesakowskis founded the 11 Day Power Play movement back in 2016, eight years after Amy was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Mike also lost his mother to cancer that very same year, which inspired him to do something to give back, leading to the birth of the 11 Day Power Play. After raising over $1 million for Roswell that first year, the idea grew to include more of the community at large. In the years since, Make-A-Wish Western New York and Camp Good Days and Special Times have become additional beneficiaries.

“I’m not good at hockey – I used to play roller hockey when I was 12 or 13 years old – but this is an awesome cause,” Thin Man Head Brewer Rudy Watkins says. “Their goal this year is to raise $2 million for Roswell Park and two years ago, when we first brewed 11 Day Power Play Pils, we were able to raise a sizeable amount and donate it to them and I am genuinely really excited that we can do that. It’s fun to make beer, but it’s even better to be a good citizen to your community.”

Watkins adds that it is a truly special feeling for him and Thin Man’s small brewing staff to be able to do what they always do – brew beer – and still be able to make such a monumental difference in their community and the lives of its members in the most need of help.

“It’s awesome to be able to do something that I do every day to benefit people,” he adds. “To be able to do something more meaningful is pretty great. A lot of people who like hockey also like beer, and even if people don’t like hockey, they can get behind a good cause and drink some tasty beer while doing so.”

The 2020 11 Day Power Play is tentatively scheduled to take place at Harbor Center, July 8-19. For more information, and to donate directly to the cause, please visit

Brian Campbell is co-founder and Brand Manager of the Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).