"You talk to any brewery, old or new, and they will tell you a story about how another brewery helped them out," says Chris Bell. "Everyone helps each other along. We want to celebrate that and celebrate what makes this industry great."
That's the idea behind a collaborative brewing effort between Cannonball Creek Brewing in Golden and Call to Arms, a future Denver area brewery being planned by three former Avery Brewing staffers: Bell, Jesse Brookstein and Jon Cross.
The beer, called Peace & Assist, is a cheeky play on the cease-and-desist letters that have become commonplace in the past two years as older and expanding craft breweries jostle with newer ones over business and beer names and trademarks. It's also a spiritual descendent of Collaboration Not Litigation, a beer that was first brewed ten years ago by Avery and California's Russian River with the same goal in mind. The two breweries each had a beer named Salvation, but decided to co-exist rather than fight.
Brewed with peppercorns, hibiscus and cardamom, Peace & Assist is a sour farmhouse ale that was fermented with both Belgian yeast and Brettanomcyes. It also contains Lactobacillus, a bacteria that adds distinctive sour notes to beer.
"None of us had ever done a kettle sour and we wanted to put ourselves out there and make it fun," Bell says. "We've spend so much time over the past few months raising money and planning our brewery and looking for space that it was nice to get back in there, flipping valves, graining out and tasting beers with guys who we know and like."
Bell, Brookstein and Cross got to know the owners of Cannonball Creek, Brian Hutchinson and Jason Stengl, when the two worked for the Mountain Sun/Vine Street group of breweries in Denver and Boulder. "The relationship between the breweries has always been great," Bell says.
Earlier this year, though, the Call to Arms crew resigned from Avery en masse in order to pursue their dream to own a brewery themselves. "We left Avery on great terms, and they've been incredibly supportive, as you would expect them to be -- they are a classy, old-school brewery, " Bells says. "Leaving was a tough decision. It was really emotional. There were tears at that meeting."
But they plan to take a lot of Avery's spirit with them by creating and brewing a diverse selection of beers. "We're going to do whatever we want. We don't want to pigeon-hole ourselves. There are so many good styles out there. We want to make them all."
Call to Arms is currently working a lease for a building in northwest Denver -- and hopes to be able to announce its location sometime in late July or early August.
And despite their dreams for a craft-beer world without litigation, the Call to Arms owners say they've done due diligence on their own name to make sure that no other brewery already has a claim to it. "Of all the things we've done, naming the brewery was the hardest," Bell says. "There are limited number of nouns and adjective combos out there. But we are really happy with it. It is our battle cry...for doing our own thing."
Peace & Assist will be tapped at noon on Saturday, July 26 -- and could be the first edition of what turns into a yearly collaboration. There will be live music from Sean Lamborne and Melissa McGinley (of the The Longest Day of the Year) and food from the Oskar Blues' CHUBurger food truck. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Clothes To Kids of Denver.
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