California National Guard
California National Guard

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Last Tuesday Sierra Nevada Brewing Company brewed Resilience Butte County Proud IPA to benefit those affected by the Camp Fire in Northern California. Then they asked every brewery in America to do the same.

Answering the call in the immediate D.C. area are 3 Stars Brewing Company, Atlas Brew Works, Bluejacket, Port City Brewing Company, and Right Proper Shaw Brewpub.

The Camp Fire in Butte County that started earlier this month was finally contained on Nov. 25. It’s the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history. It scorched more than 153,000 acres, destroyed close to 14,000 homes, and has claimed the lives of 85 people at last count. About a dozen people are still missing.

The concept of the fundraiser is simple: Sierra Nevada created the recipe, suppliers donated the ingredients, local brewers make the beer, and 100 percent of sales go to the victims via the Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief Fund. As of Friday there were more than 1,200 participating breweries.

Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman says he’s working with malt, hop, and yeast suppliers to provide breweries with what they need to participate, making it possible for breweries to donate 100 percent of sales to the fund. Breweries must sign up by Dec. 7.

Several local brewers had their malt suppliers donate barley, sticking to only pale and crystal malts per Sierra Nevada’s recipe. “They know their way around a hoppy beer,” says Port City founder Bill Butcher.

In the case of Bluejacket and Right Proper, Brewers Supply Group donated barley and the two breweries each donated Cascade and Centennial hops. Atlas’ supply partner, Country Malt, donated all of the ingredients for their batch.

“Atlas will donate 100 percent of Resilience IPA sales to the relief fund for Butte County,” says CEO Justin Cox. “We are hoping to release the beer in our tap room, if the yeast gods smile on us, on New Years Eve. Corey Poole, our director of operations, and I will be working the bar that 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. shift and donating our tips to the fund as well.”

3 Stars’ co-founder Dave Coleman says he’s brewing the Resilience Butte County Proud IPA this week and will have it available in the taproom later this month. Briess Malt and Yakima Chief Hops sponsored the batch.

“We’re not sure that Sierra Nevada could have foreseen the massive response they received, but we’re proud of Ken Grossman and his team for their initiative and of our brewing colleagues for their generosity” Butcher says. “We plan to brew Resilience IPA on Dec. 18, and tap it in mid January.”

Other participating breweries in the region include Maryland’s Brewers Alley, Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore, and True Respite. In northern Virginia, Chubby Squirrel Brewing Company, Crooked Run Brewing, Lake Anne Brew House, and Twinpanzee Brewing Co. will brew a relief beer.

Sierra Nevada’s specification is a beer with 6.7 percent ABV. It’s impossible to be certain that all the local beers will be to Sierra’s specifications given that brewers yeast is a microorganism and cannot be told to stop turning sugar into alcohol. Some could be stronger, approaching 8 percent ABV while others could be weaker, closer to 6 percent ABV.

Beer lovers could set out to try all five, one from 3 Stars, Atlas, Bluejacket, Port City, and Right Proper Brewpub to see which they liked best. In theory, they’re all the same. But in practice? You be the judge.

Photo courtesy California National Guard