Monnik, Akasha join Sierra Nevada in Camp Fire Resilience IPA benefit initiative

Monnik Beer Co. assistant brewer Ryan Hogan stirs the mash during brewing of Camp Fire Resilience IPA. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

More than 80 people have died, more than 153,000 acres of property have been devastated and billions of dollars in damage done in the California wildfires. One insurance company, unable to pay the thousands of claims, was taken over by the state.

Some 1,200 breweries — including two here in Louisville — are doing their best to help. Led by an initiative by Chico, Calif.-based Sierra Nevada, these breweries around the country are brewing a special beer called Camp Fire Resilience Butte County Proud IPA based on a single recipe.

All profits from sales will go directly to the Camp Fire Relief Fund, a nonprofit created by Sierra Nevada.

Monnik Beer Co. is one of the local breweries that will lend a hand by brewing a five-barrel (about 150 gallons) batch of Camp Fire Resilience; the brew took place last week, while the beer will be released in the Monnik taproom sometime in January.

Monnik co-owner Brian Holton said the brewery was a bit late in finding out about the effort, but he said, “When I saw what it was and what they were able to do, to have all these breweries in America band together to help with this terrible situation in California, it was no-brainer.”

The other local brewery that will brew its own version of the IPA is Akasha Brewing Co. Co-owner Rick Stidham said, “I read somewhere it’s the biggest, most destructive fire in California in the last 50 years. It’s a good cause.”

Sierra Nevada will also release the IPA in cans. | Photo courtesy of Sierra Nevada.

Stidham also noted that Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale is one of his favorite beers, so Resilience IPA provided a rare opportunity to work with the company.

He said the beer will be brewed at Akasha sometime this week.

As for the beer itself, Monnik head brewer Scott Hand said it’s a pretty straight-forward recipe, based on mostly Crystal Malt with some Two-Row, plus Cascade and Centennial hops.

“From a brewing perspective, it’s a very classic, old-school American IPA recipe,” he said. “It’s kind of exactly what you would expect from Sierra Nevada, and I think that’s great.”

Stidham said Akasha primarily uses the same yeast Sierra Nevada uses, so he expects good results from the beer, which he said is “a real simple recipe.” The best part is, this is a case in which brewing beer also is helping out an important cause.

“The fires in California have been an ongoing problem,” Holton said. “It’s destroyed a lot of beautiful areas and cost a lot of lives and done harm to people. It’s a big problem, and I think when a problem is that extensive, it takes an effort as big as this and bigger. We just wanted to chip in and do our part.”

Pints at Monnik will be $5 apiece, and the beer will be available for carry-out in growlers and crowlers. Stidham hadn’t yet set a price for Akasha’s version of Camp Fire Resilience, but said it would likely be less expensive than the base $6 price for most house-brewed beers.

Lexington’s West Sixth Brewing Co. and Country Boy Brewing also will participate in the Camp Fire Resilience IPA initiative.