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Local Beermakers Respond to the Carr Fire Relief Effort by Brewing up Shasta Strong IPA

When you put a bunch of beer makers together and present them with a challenge, it’s a given they’re going to brew up a solution.

The challenge at hand: find a way to combine their brewing skills to create something that commemorates the Carr Fire and helps the north state recover from its devastating effects.

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The solution: Shasta Strong IPA, a hop-forward ale that will be available on draft at participating taprooms and on store shelves in four-packs of 16-ounce cans. All of the proceeds from this collaborative effort will be directed toward the Shasta Regional Community Foundation’s Carr Fire recovery fund.

Matt Briner contributed the Shasta Strong IPA label design.

The project started with a conversation between Jeff and Jenny Jensen, owners of Wildcard Brewing; John and Amanda Hutchings, owners of Fall River Brewing; and Scott Wlodarczyk, the sales and marketing guy at Woody’s Brewing. Soon after, Adam Ward and Bart Hauptman at Final Draft Brewing and Mark Livingston, head brewer at Cedar Crest in Red Bluff, joined in the effort.

Neil Petersen, left, Scott Wlodarczyk, Jeff Hansen and John Hutchings. Photos by Jon Lewis.

“We wanted to give back,” Wlodarczyk said. “Jeff, Jenny, Amanda and I talked and we were on the same page. We just wanted to do what we can do.”

The project quickly picked up steam when John Hutchings offered up the spacious brewery he recently opened on Eastside Road. Fall River’s 30-barrel brewhouse allowed the group to crank out a 60-barrel batch of Shasta Strong IPA, or enough to fill 45 kegs and 1,800 four-packs.

Colton McKay, left, Scott Wlodarczyk, Bart Hauptman oversee the proceedings.

Jeff Hansen said the group wanted a full-scale production so the project could make an impact. With everybody volunteering their time, talents and facilities—and Jeff Hansen able to solicit donations of hops from Yakima Chief Hops and malted barley from Great Western Malting in the Pacific Northwest—Hansen said the Shasta Strong collaboration should bring in around $40,000 for fire relief efforts.

John Hutchings, left, and Jeff Hansen during production.

The project is also promising to provide a pretty tasty ale. Everybody put their thoughts and ideas into the recipe and Colton McKay, Fall River’s head brewer, fine-tuned it. John Hutchings describes it as a hop-intensive, West Coast-style IPA. Featuring Amarillo, Citra and Mosaic hops, Shasta Strong “will be a big hop bomb but very drinkable,” Hutchings said.

The cans themselves are sure to be keepsakes for many, thanks to the contribution by talented Redding graphic designer Matt Briner, whose stunning label depicts a pair of firefighters atop a ridge looking west toward Whiskeytown Lake and Shasta Bally.

“I’m just honored to be part of this effort,” Briner said in an Instagram post. “It has been so insanely cool to see a community come together and support each other and give that Carr Fire the same big ol’ middle finger that is gave us. We got this.”

Scott Wlodarczyk, center, discusses distribution plans.

Shasta Strong IPA will be available at Fall River, Wildcard Brewery and its downtown taproom, Final Draft, Woody’s and Cedar Crest (inside Enjoy the Store Red Bluff at 615 Main St.) beginning at 5 p.m. Aug. 29 and soon after at participating restaurants, bars, stores and markets in the Redding area.

As Fall River Brewing stated it online: Independently we were crafted, together we’ll rise.

Video by Tyler Faires. 

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Jon Lewis

Jon Lewis

Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.

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