'Resilience': The National Beer Of Relief For Camp Fire Grief

CAMPBELL, CA — Resilience. That’s what it takes to live through a catastrophe of tragic proportions.

No one knows this better than the victims who lost family members, friends, homes, businesses in California’s deadliest, most destructive wildfire in history. No one knows this better than thousands of firefighters who fought back those menacing wall-high blazes that leveled Paradise and Magalia, while rescuing people under duress and unprecedented stressful circumstances. No one knows this better than those left behind with a heart and a longing for hope in what to do about the suffering.

So neighboring Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico invites the rest of the world to fight back the tears with a Resilience in hand. The aptly-named special brew will go nationwide in cans early next year and on tap this month, with all the proceeds designated for the Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief Fund, supported through the Golden Valley Bank Community Foundation. The brewery is seeding this fund with an initial $100,000 to get started.

It has a lot of help in the process.

More than 1,300 breweries have signed up to make and offer the classic, hop-forward beer in the tradition of the renowned brewery run by Ken Grossman and his family.

Six of the breweries can be found in Silicon Valley’s Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Sierra Nevada Brewery provides the recipe and support to get the ingredients. The participating breweries just foot the labor.

Twenty Santa Clara County firefighters, many of whom were on the strike team fighting the blaze, tried their hand at a new line of work, following the recipe to make the special concoction at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery on South Bascom Street in Campbell on Tuesday. The brewery will host a party to tap the brew on Dec. 28.

The process took more than four hours but was well worth the experience.

“It was a great opportunity for them to feel like they’re giving back. A lot of this stuff has been very emotional and tough for them,” Santa Clara County Firefighters Union #1165 President Adam Cosner told Patch. “They can get therapy, but this is usually how we defuse. It’s sitting around together over a beer. And it’s a way to let Paradise know we’re doing this for you.”

Rock Bottom Manager Nate Konsitzke said his brewery is more than happy to oblige.

“Nobody wants to see tragedy happen. But when something like this does, I think it brings out the best in people — no matter what their background,” he said. It helps that the effort is “led by a very respected brewery.”

Konsitzke pointed out how the breweries don’t see this as a competition. Sharing a recipe is par for the course.

“I’m excited to see what comes of this. This industry is like no other. When we heard this was going out and that we could be a partner on a large scale, we picked up on it right away. When things like this happen and the community needs help, we want to do all we can,” the veteran brewer said, calling his chain of five restaurants “community oriented.”

The other four Rock Bottom breweries are located in Long Beach, La Jolla, Burbank and San Diego. The latter two exist under the Gordon Biersch name that Dan Gordon founded.

Sierra Nevada spokeswoman Robin Gregory said the company is pleased with the outpouring of support.

“We knew we just had to do something. We just started asking every brewery in the United States,” Gregory told Patch. “We were inspired by Russian River Brewing Company.”

The Sonoma County brewery crafted a beer called “Sonoma Pride”after the Wine Country fires ripped through the two hallmark valleys in Napa and Sonoma the year before. The brewery has collected more than $1 million for fire relief.

The brewery did what it does best. The unique beer that takes a few weeks to brew represents a signature Sierra Nevada type — plenty of hops with hints of pine and citrus.

“It’s in line with our portfolio,” she said.

Other Silicon Valley breweries offering Resilience include:

Here is a list of breweries sorted by state.

–Images via Santa Clara County Firefighters Union #1165 and Sue Wood, Patch

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