Thursday, April 17, 2008

A -tion by any other name

Likely to be followed by Conjunction Junction, What's Your Function Belgian Ale, today's spotlight is on a beer that was damned impossible to be as tasty in the glass as it is in theory. Not that it isn't very good - it is. Marred only by a slight metallic aftertaste (that could very well have been storage fault), it's a dubbel-esque amber ale with rich, deep complexity, light-bodied and effervescent yet with a raisin sweetness and a big fruity punch from the yeasts that only grew in intensity as it opened up in the glass. Fellow Aleuminati member Meat described it as the beer "responsible for turning me on to micro-brewed beers and getting me to travel down the road of different beer tasting." But the story behind this brew, alas, is even tastier. Let's test the old eyesight on some superfine side label print:
Salvation. The name of two intricate Belgian-style ales, created by us, Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing and Adam Avery of Avery Brewing. After becoming friends a few years ago, we realized we both had a Salvation in our lineups. Was it going to be a problem? Should one of us relinquish the name rights? "Hell, no!" we said. In fact, it was quickly decided that we should blend the brews to catch the best qualities of each and create an even more complex and rich libation. In April 2004, in a top secret meeting at Russian River Brewing (well, actually it was packed in the pub and many were looking over our shoulders wondering what the hell was going on), we came up with the perfect blend of the two Salvations. Natalie, Vinnie's much more significant other, exclaimed, "We should call this Collaboration, not Litigation Ale!" "Perfect," we shouted!* We celebrated deep into the night (or is that morning?). Fast forward to November 14, 2006. After talking about it for over two years, we finally decided to pull the trigger and Vinnie made the journey to Avery Brewing to brew his Salvation exactly as he does in his brewery. This was blended with Avery's Salvation on December 11, 2006 creating Batch #1 - here is Batch #2. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed brewing and blending it. All profits from this joint venture will fund a return educational trip to Belgium with our bros Tomme (Port Brewing), Sam (Dogfish Head Brewing) and Rob (Allagash Brewing). This pilgrimage will enable us to learn even more about traditional brewing techniques to combine with our already strange and unique styles here in America. Gezondheit!
No, really, that's all on the side label. On one hand, this whole endeavor seems ripe for this discussion on craft beer marketing's effect on its perceived cultural status, but the lingering results are much more positive, reinforcing some of the greatest (and most marketable) tenets of craft brewing: It's made by hand, by real, visionary individuals, within a convivial atmosphere, that has a laudable, respectable history and artistry, and is a shared product of passion and love. And for that reason alone, it's the best use of fine print on a beer label since Lagunitas' Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale.

* This is my favorite misuse of an exclamation point, ever.

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Blogger Stan Hieronymus said...

A quick additional fact. Russian River Salvation won gold Saturday in the World Beer Cup.

6:14 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

And Temptation won a silver! Maybe I ought to celebrate by blending the two of them over a black & tan turtle spoon for a new cocktail - The Gradation?

Sorry, that's an awful pre-coffee pun...

8:44 AM  
Blogger whatsontap said...

Hi Rob... Didn't mean to ignore you. For god's sake, say hi next time, hpefully as some place a little less hectic than the toronado. I'm going to try to make it to City Beer next Wednesday for the unveiling of He'brew's new fig beer. Maybe we can meet up.

Also I don't actually have your e-mail And, I love your site. Best. William Brand/

11:04 AM  

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