- Mike Riedel
California's infamous Camp Fire burned more than 153,000 acres, killed at least 85 people and destroyed more than 13,000 homes. It stands as the most destructive wildfire in the state's history. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is part of that community; although the brewery was not affected, many of its employees and neighbors were impacted by this tragic event.
In the days following the fire, Sierra Nevada announced plans to brew Resilience Butte County Proud IPA, a fundraiser beer for Camp Fire relief. The brewery committed to brewing the beer and donating 100 percent of its sales to the Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief Fund. The brewery also sent out the "bat signal," calling on their friends in the industry to donate their time and labor. More than 1,400 breweries signed up to brew Resilience in their own cities, including two of our own local breweries, who stepped up and answered the call. Uinta Brewing Co. and Salt Flats Brewing recently released their versions of Resilience, adding to the 17,000 barrels—or 4.2 million pints—whose profits will go to those impacted.
Uinta Brewing's Resilience: The color is a brownish amber that is actually pretty clear. The aroma has fragrant orange blossom and peel, along with pear and pine. The taste is where the hops shine, with that familiar iconic West Coast IPA pine and citrus. I also get orange peel and a lot of bright but not sour fruit flavors, which I interpret as berries. There's a bit of roasted maltiness to it, but the hops take center stage. The finish is semi-dry—just what you'd expect from a Sierra Nevada-inspired IPA.
Overall: This is not a gimmicky beer. It is straightforward, and the 6.5 percent alcohol is designed for drinkability. The outstanding simplicity in its aroma, taste and texture are designed for all beer lovers, even those noobs who aren't used to the more traditional standards.
Salt Flats' Resilience: Poured into a clear glass, it shows a cherry-amber color and a thick golden-white head that gradually dissipates, along with good carbonation. It smells citrusy, with orange and grapefruit peel masking the nose and notes of pineapple. It takes a little digging, but eventually I uncover sweet malt and piney scents that might remind the drinker of more old-school style IPAs—floral with faint biscuit aromas. This all balances the hoppy smell, which strikes the nose very well. The taste starts off piney and very fruity, the flavors of cherry and pineapple being the most prominent. A light caramel flavor is present as well. The taste was more assertive than the smell, for sure. It was also bitter in the aftertaste with remnants of grapefruit peel—altogether crisp and refreshing in the finish.
Overall: This was quite exceptional for a 4 percent ABV interpretation on the Resilience recipe and ingredients. A refined combination of citrus, pine and floral flavors makes the drinker think back to the days when IPAs were much simpler.
Both breweries will be donating all of the money raised from the sales of these two beers to the Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief Fund. And because so many breweries nationwide have responded to the call in brewing Resilience, Sierra Nevada is projecting more than $10 million in proceeds to support Butte County recovery programs. Sierra Nevada alone is putting out about 4,000 barrels of draft and canned Resilience IPA. Some of that might hit the Utah market as well in the coming weeks, giving you multiple opportunities to help out this worthy cause. As always, cheers!