Brewing Projekt

Derek Fassino mills malted barley Thursday at The Brewing Projekt in Eau Claire as he prepares to brew IPA and stout beers. The brewery is among those nationwide that will sell a specially produced beer to raise money for people impacted by a devastating California fire. View more photos at Leader


An Eau Claire brewery is adding its labor and expertise to the largest-known charitable collaboration among U.S. brewers, who will produce beer and in the process help people affected by the Camp Fire, which ravaged Northern California in recent weeks.

The Brewing Projekt is among more than 1,200 beer makers nationally that will make a special beer, Resilience Butte County Proud IPA, and donate all proceeds to the Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief Fund established to assist people displaced by that fire.

The effort is headed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., which is located in Chico, Calif., part of Butte County and west of the areas most impacted by the fire. Ken Grossman, who founded the brewery, decided to brew the beer, and he contacted brewers across the nation, encouraging them to join the endeavor.

When Brewing Projekt owner William Glass learned about Grossman’s request, he decided to take part. He discussed the idea with his employees, who shared his enthusiasm about the idea despite their current hectic schedules related to relocating their business to its new site at 1807 N. Oxford Ave. and ongoing remodeling of that location.

“I saw that message and thought right away this is a great idea,” Glass said. “It’s great when you have a chance as a business to use the product you produce to help people in need.”

Grossman shared the recipe for the newly created IPA with participating breweries. Glass said his brewery plans to make the specially created beer in a couple of weeks, when the company relocates its current production equipment into a larger, adjacent space.

“It will feel really good to have the first beer we make in that new space be this beer,” Glass said Thursday amid construction workers readying the site.

The Brewing Projekt plans to brew about 200 cases of Resilience, Glass said. The brewery, which will sell it in can and draft forms, is among 21 in Wisconsin that have agreed to make and sell the beer in such cities as Milwaukee, Green Bay, Janesville and Hudson.

Glass said he expects to raise between $15,000 and $20,000 locally to assist California residents impacted by the fire. Based on the number of participating breweries, Sierra Nevada officials estimate the project should yield about 8.6 million pints of beer.

“We want to do what we can to help,” Glass said, citing the collaborative spirit among brewers.

The Brewing Projekt employee Derek Fassino said he is happy to be part of the effort to assist those impacted by the Camp Fire. He discussed the charitable effort Thursday as he loaded first rice hulls and then barley into a stainless steel vat where a batch of stout beer was brewing.

“It’s a solidarity thing,” he said of brewers coming together to help people in need. “It feels good to be a part of something like this.”

The Camp Fire took the lives of at least 88 people, with another 203 listed as missing, and destroyed nearly 19,000 buildings. About 15 percent of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. employees lost their homes in the fire.

Breweries taking part include small, midsize and regional brewers, as well as Anheuser-Busch-owned Goose Island Beer Co. Blue Moon Brewing Co, owned by MillerCoors, also will participate. Most Resilience Butte County Proud IPA is expected to be sold in late December and early January.

While each participating brewer will use the recipe Sierra Nevada provided, Glass said, the beer may taste a bit differently depending on where it is produced. For instance, he said, IPAs made in the western U.S. tend to have a stronger, more bitter finish, while that beer style produced by The Brewing Projekt and other Midwestern brewers is often less bitter and more sweet.

“We all like to put our own twist on the beers we make,” he said.

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