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Food & Drink

Craft beer from North Carolina is helping victims of California’s wildfire

Sierra Nevada is one of the forefathers of American craft brewing, building massive breweries in California and North Carolina and ushering in the current beer boom. In the wake of the Camp Fire in California, the company is organizing more than a 1,000 of the nation’s breweries to raise money for victims.

Last month Sierra Nevada brewed a special release IPA called Resilience: Butte County Proud, a reference to the California county devastated by the most destructive wildfires in state history and where the brewery was founded. Thousands of homes were burned and destroyed as the fire claimed 85 lives. The fire came close to Sierra Nevada’s Chico brewery but didn’t cause any damage.

The company said all draft and can sales of Resilience would be donated to relief efforts and recruited others to brew the beer as well. The response has been huge, with craft brewers large and small committing tanks and draft lines to the IPA, more than 1,000 as of Wednesday afternoon.

In North Carolina, where Sierra Nevada built its east coast production facility in Asheville three years ago, 44 of the state’s breweries are pitching in, including seven in the Triangle.

Locally, breweries Ponysaurus, Fullsteam and Bull City Burger and Brewery in Durham, Big Boss and Trophy in Raleigh, Fortnight in Cary and Carolina Brewing in Holly Springs have pledged to brew the beer and serve it in their taprooms.

The beer itself is a west coast IPA, clocking in around 6.8 percent alcohol by volume. Sierra Nevada started brewing the beer in November and expects to put it on draft and distribute cans in late December, according to the brewery’s website.

When Carolina Brewing Company opened in 1995, there weren’t many breweries in the country to look up to. Sierra Nevada was definitely an influence, so when the brewery put out the call to help, CBC co-founder Joe Zonin said they wanted to be part of the effort.

“Personally, we’ve always been big fans of Sierra Nevada,” CBC co-founder Joe Zonin said in an interview.

Carolina Brewing Company brewed its batch last week from Sierra Nevada’s recipe. Zonin said it should be ready to tap around New Year’s. The brewery, the second oldest in the Triangle, made enough to fill roughly 30 full sized kegs. Zonin said Sierra Nevada had brokered hops and barley suppliers to donate ingredients or offer them at a discount, but he said those numbers aren’t final yet.

Look for the beer on tap around the Triangle around the end of the year, with all sales going towards California’s fire victims.

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