Saturday, January 24, 2009

Review: Collaboration not Litigation Ale (Avery)

Every once in a while, a beer is so good it reminds you of the possibilities inherent in brewing. This is one of those beers.

Collaboration not Litigation Ale was born of a friendship between brewers Adam Avery of Avery Brewing in Boulder and Vinne Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing in Sonoma County, California. The brewers realized they both offered beers named Salvation. Instead of suing each other over the name, they decided to collaborate. Cilurzo blended his Salvation with Avery's.

What results is a Belgian-style strong ale (8.72 percent ABV, 19 IBUs). Only two batches have been brewed, the first in 2004 and the second in Feb. 2008. Soggy Coaster purchased a 22-ounce second-batch bottle for $6.79 at Liquor World. Profits from the beer go to fund an educational trip for the brewers and some of their brewing friends.

Collaboration not Litigation pours a deep amber with medium head that recedes quickly. The first taste is unmistakably Belgian - creamy, rich and full of complexity. This ale has a nutty, caramel flavor that becomes more assertive as the beer warms, making each sip sweeter than the last. The alcohol fumes infiltrate the nose as lacing follows your progress down the glass. The 22-ounce bottle, poured into a globe, yields two substantial glasses.

Soggy Coaster doesn't plan on giving out a lot of A's, because only the very best beers deserve a mark so high (on the other hand, don't expect a lot of D's or F's, because Soggy Coaster doesn't plan on reviewing a lot of shit beers). Avery and Russian River have both earned a reputation for brewing innovative beers of high quality. With Collaboration not Litigation, they have done something special. An outstanding Belgian-style strong ale. A

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