Collaboration Not Litigation
Matt Abdoney talks to Adam Avery about his new joint venture
December 24, 2006
Written by matta
I had been hearing some anonymous reports recently that Avery Brewing Co. had aligned with Russian River Brewing for a collaborative beer. Obviously intrigued, I quickly shot Adam Avery a request to discuss his Avery / Russian River partnership with us here on RateBeer. Below is lowdown on the upcoming release!
Matt: Adam, rumor on the street is that you have got a collaborative brewing endeavor in the works for 2007; you care to disclose?
Adam: Yeah, it’s a really cool project, one that’s been in the works and talked about for three years. My good friend, Vinnie Cilurzo, of Russian River fame, and I realized that we both had a Belgian beer called Salvation. Since we were friends, we decided to keep using the name and not worry about who owned the rights etc. In fact, we decided that we should blend the two! Well, I made a trek out to see Vinnie and his brewery/brewpub in April 2004 with some of my beer in tow. After downing a mandatory pint of Pliny the Elder, I opened a bottle of our Salvation and Vinnie did the same with his. We tried some different blending ratios and came up with one that we REALLY liked. Natalie, Vinnie’s wife, said we should call the new creation "Collaboration, not Litigation Ale." We wholeheartedly agreed. We celebrated deep into the night and the "Green Fairy" even made an appearance. It was a good night to say the least.
Matt: How did you obtain the Russian River Salvation; I mean, how was it transported to your facility? Did Vinny, owner / head brewer of Russian River, brew at your brewery?
Adam: Vinnie actually came out to Avery Brewing on November 14th and brewed his Salvation to his specs. We brought in all his malt, hop and yeast varieties so it would be exactly like Salvation from Russian River. He succeeded in hitting all his numbers and, more importantly, the exact flavor profile of the finished product. We considered shipping in Salvation from his brewery, but due to label approval concerns and the fact his brewery was brewing at capacity, and that we had just added about 40% capacity in new tanks, we opted to do everything here at Avery.
Matt: What is the blend ratio of Avery Salvation & Russian River Salvation?
Adam: We actually just blended the two and will bottle on January 9th. It’s really cool how the best of both beers come through in the blend. Actually, Collaboration is, in our opinion, a better beer than either of the two Salvations. Vinnie’s Salvation is a dark Belgian Strong Ale, driven by a complex malt base and yeast flavor while ours is much more hop dominant with a ton of spicy esters. The blend is just a VERY complex unfiltered Belgian style ale. Hard to put in a style category, a dubbel or just a dark strong ale? We’ll let you decide. We’re super proud and can’t wait to see what all you Ratebeerians think.
The ratio is a secret that Vinnie and I would prefer to keep to ourselves. We think it’ll be fun to read the rates and see what ratio people guess it is.
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Matt: Do you have any other brewery collaborative experiments for 2007?
Adam: Well, I’m involved with a lambic collaboration with Tomme Arthur, Sam Calagione, Rob Tod and Vinnie. We brewed a batch together in November at Port Brewing’s new digs (the old Stone facility). Had a blast getting back together with my best friends in the industry. We all went to Belgium last March and decided (in a gueze infested drunken stupor) that when we got back we should brew a lambic to celebrate our trip. It’s in barrels now with all of us bringing our own "bugs" for each of our barrels (5 each). Not sure if we’ll blend back together our just take our barrels back to our respective breweries to serve at our tasting rooms. Still up in the air at this point. What else would you expect from a bunch of brewers like us!?!!? We’ll figure it out over the course of the next year.
Matt: What’s in store for us Avery beer devotees in this upcoming year?
Adam: Right now, for sure, you’ll be seeing FOURTEEN. Been so busy that haven’t even figured out what style it’ll be. Leaning towards something unfiltered and Belgian. And, of course, BIG! Other than that, we just added 4,000 square feet of cold storage so now I have my old cold storage space to play with. Maybe some more wine barrels so we can produce a few more one offs? We’ve been playing with barrels for a few years now but not in sufficient quantity to market. Hopefully, that’ll change in 2007. Happy Holidays to all!
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I realized that we both had a Belgian beer called Salvation. Since we were friends, we decided to keep using the name and not worry about who owned the rights etc.
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