Collaboration not litigation is one of those beers you have to at least try if you aren’t into the standard run of the mill brews that are out there. One of the more interesting things brewers are doing now a days is trying to find harmony in the brewing community. We see these light beer wars on TV. Miller light is better than Bud Light blah blah blah. In the end they both taste like pee. Craft brewers have decided to go the other way when it comes to the competitive beer market. That is, they combine similar recipes to hopefully produce a product that is both different and amazing all at the same time. Unfortunately I missed out on the last big collaboration I wanted to get, Life and Limb, which brought together both Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada. I would not allow that to happen again. When my good friend over at Hockey and Beer told me about this bottle, I had to check this one out for myself. I headed right over to the store and picked up a bottle until now.
The aptly named, Collaboration not Litigation, brings together two big names in the craft beer industry. The first is one of my up and coming favorites in Avery. Recently I enjoyed their double IPA DungA. If you are into hops, this is definitely one you are going to want to check out. It will have your face doing contortions at 93 IBU’s. The other is a west coast brewer known as Russian River Brewing Company. Russian River is pretty hard to get over here on the east coast. Evidently, according to their site, they only really retail it in the Philadelphia area. I guess I know what I’ll be looking for when I head up there again. As the story goes, these two breweries are both putting out two Belgian style ales by the name of Salvation. When they realized this there was some talk over who would get to keep the name; however, instead of having just one brewer producing the Belgian ale by the name of Salvation, they actually both kept these on their roster and decided to combine the recipes into one bottle as well. Hence Collaboration not Litigation.
The biggest surprise to me when pouring this beer out was the complete lack of head that developed on the pour. Even on my second glass, I changed the angle of the bottle and did manage to get a slight, less than an inch, amount of white lacy head on the top. This actually made me a little nervous due to the somewhat long period of time I have been holding onto this bottle. Really, I’ve only had it since Easter, so I wasn’t sure if that could be a bad sign at all, but I felt it still had to be pretty good. The color of the beer is a slightly reddish-brown hue. It has an almost bronze color to it. Considering this is a blend of two Belgian Ales, I was kind of surprised by the heavy amount citrus I received on the initial smell. I suppose I just don’t always associate heavy citrus qualities with Belgian beers. Once the citrus dissipates there is a slightly boozy and bready smell to it. Additionally, there is a slight little hint of hops towards the end, but you can tell that there won’t be much of any hops to the taste of this beer.
The taste starts with a very citrus feel but manages to blend away to a mild taste of clove somewhere in the middle of the developing flavor. The clove flavor then gives way to a little bit more of a boozy and brown sugar feel towards the end. Glancing at the recipe on the bottle reveals that there is Belgian candied sugar in the recipe. This really comes through on the back half of the flavor profile. It has a fairly heavy feel, but the medium level of carbonation seems to hide the fact that this is a fairly heavy beer. The right amount of carbonation gives way to some boozy feeling at the end, but it allows you to remember that you’re actually drinking a Belgian beer. Finally, it seems to finish off with a very sugary sweet taste that almost comes out of nowhere. A slight warming effect greets you at the very end of the taste; however, not enough to make you think you need a single glass and then a nice little nap.
Overall, I really enjoyed this bottle for its ability to blend two recipes into what I feel is perfect harmony. I have become a huge fan of the big flavors that Avery is able to produce in almost every bottle on their quite large roster. This bottle, however, leaves me wondering what the Russian River brewing company is producing. I am really happy that Avery made this brew available to us on the east coast; however, I would love to be able to find their very popular Pliny the Elder in my area. I’ll keep my eyes open in the future, but, if you’re looking for great take on a Belgian Ale, check out this bottle. It’s the fifth batch they have produced, and I am looking forward to the sixth. You really won’t want to pass this on up.
Teacher Grade: A