Collaboration Not Litigation Ale

8.72% from a bomber, Batch #2

(from Avery Brewing Company/Russian River Brewing Company)*

A few years ago I tried several of the major Avery releases. I recall liking them all, but not really loving any and thus I had pretty much ignored the brewery ever since then. That all changed when one of my favorite beer blogs, Fermentedly Challenged, mentioned how much he had loved this brew. His review most intrigued me because he noted something I hadn’t known, that this beer was a collaboration between Avery and Russian River. For the longest time, Russian River beers (predominately Pliny the Elder and Younger) have been at the top of my “most wanted” list. For whatever reason, Russian Rivers simply do not seem to make it to the east coast—as far as I can tell—and thus I have never had a single beer from that brewery. This would be my first chance to kinda have one. I immediately went to the Columbus Circle Whole Foods and was lucky to find one sole bottle left. (I found several other great beers on this trip as well).

It pours a much bigger head than I expected yet isn’t as dark as I thought it would be. Nice little fruity smell almost like a barley wine. But it also has Belgian-esque “hints” in it. So many complex flavors in its taste. Very alcohol-y the more you drink it, which is something I like indeed. The aftertaste is a tad bitter. Quite frankly, the more I drink it, the more I feel almost like I’m drinking a weak bourbon neat. In fact, halfway through drinking this I realized I had no idea what style of beer this was. I thought it kinda tasted like a barley wine, kinda tasted like a Belgian ale, perhaps a stout…? (It is in fact a strong dark ale.)

It might not be an exact science, but one way I do like to judge alcohol is by the borderline arbitrary pseudo-standard of “how good it makes me feel” as it gets me drunker and drunker. Allagash Interlude is perhaps the king of this sensation. I feel like I’m floating in the clouds by the time I’m done with a bomber of Interlude. Collaboration gave me a similar feeling. I felt sensational by the time I was done with this one. And that was not exactly a good thing because I had several more craft beers I had wanted to sample that evening and was thus unable to because I don’t like to try new beers while bordering on blotto. Thus, I was forced to nightcap my evening by stealing from my ladyfriend’s stash of Bud Light Lime. Quite a difference, no doubt. Like starting your evening by making out with Scarlett Johansson and ending the night in bed with Kathy Bates.

After drinking Collaboration not Litigation I may have to revisit the rest of the Avery bottlings to see if my opinions have changed (while I continue dreaming about one day trying Russian Rivers beers.)

Overall, this one is fantastic. A minor masterpiece.


*Salvation. The name of two intricate Belgian-style ales, created by us – Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing and Adam Avery of Avery Brewing. After becoming friends a few years ago, we realized that we both had a Salvation in our line-ups. Was it going to be a problem? Should one of us relinquish the rights? “Hell no!” we said. In fact, it was quickly decided that we should blend the brews to catch the best qualities of each and create an even more complex libation. In April 2004, in top-secret meeting at Russian River Brewing (well actually it was packed in the pub, and many were looking over our shoulders wondering what the hell was going on), we came up with the perfect blend of the two Salvations. Natalie, Vinnie’s much more significant other, exclaimed, “We should call this Collaboration, not Litigation Ale!” “Perfect!” we shouted. We celebrated deep into the night, (or is it morning?). Fast forward to November 14, 2006. After talking about it for over 2 years we finally decided to pull the trigger and Vinnie flew out to Avery to brew his Salvation exactly as he does in his brewery. This was blended with Avery’s Salvation December 11th, 2006. We hope you enjoy it as much we enjoyed brewing and blending it.

Fast Forward to 2008. After incredible demand from fans of beer across the country Avery and Russian River have teamed up to do it all again. This year’s batch will become available mid February, marked by a release party at the Avery Brewing Co tasting room, Boulder Colorado 2/12/2008.


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