There are more than 1,350 breweries in the United States alone, so it should come as no surprise that, quite often, toes are stepped on and lawsuits are filed. Anheuser-Busch has fought the Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar over the name Budweiser for years, and Moosehead Brewery in Canada is suing several American craft brewers for the use of “moose” in their beer names, such as Big Sky’s Moose Drool.
So when two competing brewers, Adam Avery of Avery Brewing and Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing, realized they both had a beer named Salvation in their lineups, they could have opted to let the courts and lawyers fight it out. Lucky for us, they just happened to be good friends, visionaries and levelheaded guys. They started blending their different Salvations together in 2004, trying to find the right mix, and by the end of last year they had it figured out. Vinnie flew to Colorado to brew his Salvation at Avery Brewing exactly as he does in California, then blended it with the December brew of Adam’s Salvation.
The result is what Vinnie’s wife Natalie appropriately dubbed Collaboration Not Litigation Ale. It’s an incredibly complex Belgian strong ale that weighs in at 8.99% ABV, with notes of figs and caramel in the aroma. The taste is spicy with some peppery tones and warming brandy flavors. Not only is the brew delicious, but profits from the beer’s sales will be put to good use by Vinnie and Adam: They plan to team up with other brewers for a trip to Belgium where the group will study the finer points of blending Belgian ales.