What: Bend Resilience Beer Fest

When: 2–8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Behind the Les Schwab Amphitheater, 344 SW Shevlin Hixon Drive, Bend

Cost: Free admission; $10 for mug and five drink tickets; additional tickets five for $5

Contact: bendresiliencefest.com

On Saturday, the Bend Resilience Beer Fest brings together breweries from Central Oregon and beyond to raise money for the victims of November’s devastating Camp Fire in California. The beer festival takes place behind Les Schwab Amphitheater, and unlike most fests, all of the attending breweries will be pouring the same beer: Resilience Butte County Proud IPA.

Resilience IPA spun out of the Camp Fire Relief Fund established by Chico, California’s Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. The Camp Fire started in the hills near the brewery, and while the fire bypassed it, many of its employees were affected.

“Although Chico and the Sierra Nevada brewery were spared, the Camp Fire has devastated neighboring communities where many of our friends, families and employees live,” Sierra Nevada founder and owner Ken Grossman said in a press release. “This community has supported us for 38 years and we’re going to do everything we can to support them back.”

Sierra Nevada brewed Resilience IPA and pledged to give 100 percent of the proceeds from the sales to Camp Fire relief. And then the company reached out to every other brewery in the country, asking them to do the same.

Over 1,400 breweries answered the call, each brewing its own version of Resilience IPA and pledging to donate the proceeds. Sierra Nevada provided a recipe for the beer, but due to variations in ingredient availability, equipment, and other factors, each brew will be slightly different.

This is true of the 16 (at last count) beers brewed by Central Oregon breweries being showcased at the Bend Resilience Beer Fest. The recipe describes what might be called an old school American IPA, 6.5 percent alcohol by volume, with enough crystal malt to give the beer a copper color and Centennial and Cascade hops for bittering and aroma.

The three Resilience IPAs I have tried so far fit this profile, with their own differences. The version by Wild Ride Brewing Co. was the darkest in color, with a firm and resinous bitterness balanced by malty caramel notes.

Deschutes Brewery’s is stronger at 7.5 percent ABV and billed as a double IPA. A bit brighter and lighter in color than Wild Ride’s, there is some sweetness in the body complementing the hops, which are intense enough to describe as sticky with piney resin.

Boneyard Beer’s version of the IPA features a crisp, dry finish and draws a fruity and citrusy note from the hops, reminiscent of the brewery’s flagship RPM IPA.

These three beers will join 13 others from around the region at the Bend Resilience Beer Fest, as well as one from 1188 Brewing Co., from John Day, and the original from Sierra Nevada itself. In fact Sierra Nevada’s Grossman and others from the brewery will be in attendance on Saturday as well.

The beer festival came together quickly, which is unusual for events of this size. Chris Justema, president of Cascade Lakes Brewing Co., reached out in early December to the Old Mill District to help organize the event.

“After a meeting with Cascade Lakes, Crux, 10 Barrel and Deschutes, the idea quickly became a reality with all hands on deck to get the event organized and put together in just shy of a month,” said the Old Mill District’s Brent Joseph.

“This whole event bubbled up from an outpouring of support from breweries, distributors, and other community partners,” said Justema in the official press release. “Everyone wanted to help in some way, so we created an entire festival devoted to the cause.”

As of this writing there are 18 versions of Resilience IPA slated to pour at the event. It’s an excellent opportunity to sample multiple versions of the same recipe and explore how similar beers can vary from brewery to brewery. It’s also a great opportunity to support the California communities affected by the Camp Fire; all proceeds from this event will be donated to the Camp Fire Relief Fund.

— Jon Abernathy is a Bend beer blogger and brew aficionado. His column appears every other week in GO!

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