From coast to coast, a who’s who of United States breweries on Tuesday brewed the same beer — Resilience Butte County Proud IPA — to support wildfire relief efforts in California.
In mid-November, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. announced it would brew the beer. And that 100% of sales from the beer would benefit those impacted by the Camp Fire.
It asked every brewery in the country to do the same.
At last count, more than 1,000 breweries — including two in Utah — had answered the call, according to a running tally on the Sierra Nevada website. That’s about 15% of all craft breweries nationally.
The Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history, started on Nov. 8 in the hills above the brewery’s Chico, Calif., facility.
“Although Chico and the Sierra Nevada brewery were spared, the Camp Fire has devastated neighboring communities where many of our friends, families, and employees live,” says Sierra Nevada founder and owner, Ken Grossman, in a statement. “This community has supported us for 38 years and we’re going to do everything we can to support them back.”
Resilience IPA: Utah Versions
Two Utah breweries — Uinta Brewing and Salt Flats Brewing — spent “Giving Tuesday” brewing Resilience IPA.
“I wanted to take part and do my part for the people that are hurting,” says Scott Parker, head brewer at Salt Flats Brewing in Salt Lake. “I’m originally from California and I know it well. Fire season is brutal.”
Parker previously brewed for California’s Firestone Walker Brewing Co. before joining Salt Flats in 2017.
His version of Resilience IPA will be ready in two weeks, though an exact release date hasn’t been set.
Also on Tuesday, Uinta Brewing rallied around the cause and brewed a barrel of Resilience IPA. The brewery is exploring ways to raise additional funds for the relief effort as well.
“Clearly this is an example of how one industry, with values that are linked to local community and the spirit of mutuality common to all craft brewers, can make a difference,” says Jeremy Ragonese, chief marketing officer at Uinta Brewing. “Disasters are one reason to come together, but the roots of what Sierra has done with this project began a long time ago.”
One reason so many brewers accepted the call for help, Ragonese believes, is Sierra Nevada’s longstanding commitment to the brewing industry at-large.
“I haven’t met a brewer yet that doesn’t hold Sierra in high regard,” he says. “The people there are wonderful to work with, always willing to lend a hand and very supportive of the industry as a whole.”
Brewers Give Back
The Resilience IPA recipe calls for the beer to finish at about 6.7% alcohol by volume. Therefore, as written, it’s unable to be sold on draft in Utah. Packaging complexities could be one reason why only a couple Utah breweries chose to brew the beer.
Salt Flats modified the recipe to create a 4% beer to sell on draft, Parker says. Uinta, meantime, plans to sell its full-strength version in crowlers (32-ounce cans).
“We had already started the process of registering a high-point crowler for future use,” Ragonese says. “And as luck would have it, we received approval in the nick of time.”
No surprise, it’s said to be a classic West Coast-style IPA featuring Cascade and Centennial hops. Keep an eye on Uinta and Salt Flats social media to learn when the beers will be available to drink.
— Uinta Brewing (@UintaBrewing) November 27, 2018
While commercial breweries of all sizes are joining in the relief effort, what about homebrewers?
“We hope this brewing experience allows you time to gather with friends and family and not only make a beer and help the fire relief cause — but to give thanks for all that we have,” writes Chip Walton, Chop & Brew founder, on his website.
‘Supportive & Collaborative’
In the days following the fire, the brewery established the Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief Fund and seeded it with $100,000. Proceeds from the massive, nationwide collaboration brew of Resilience IPA will go to this fund. Individuals are welcome to donate money as well.
Several hops and malt suppliers joined the effort, donating ingredients to be used to brew the beer.
“It’s inspiring and a testament to how supportive and collaborative the craft brewing community is,” says Nicole Dicou, executive director of the Utah Brewers Guild. “You find that type of collaboration here in Utah and elsewhere in the nation.”
Sierra Nevada, a craft beer pioneer founded in 1980, says its version of Resilience IPA should hit shelves in early 2019.
The northern California Camp Fire, which reached 100% containment on Sunday, burned more than 153,000 acres and killed at least 88 people. It destroyed nearly 14,000 homes, according to ABC News.
Salt Flats announced on Instagram that its rendition of Resilience IPA will be available starting Dec. 15. Find it on draft at its taproom, and The Garage Grill and Toscano in Draper.
The Uinta Brewing version will be available at the brewery in 32-ounce crowlers starting at 11 a.m. on Dec. 21.