By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 03, 2019 at 10:02 AM

Eight Milwaukee-area breweries responded to a competitor’s call for help, joining about 1,400 breweries across the country in making batches of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Resilience Butte County Proud IPA to raise money to help rebuild Butte County, California, after the devastating Camp wildfire.

On Wednesday, Water Street Brewery became the latest of the bunch to tap its cache of Resilience, brewed along with nearly a quarter of all American breweries as a fundraiser for the Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief Fund.

Other Milwaukee-area breweries making Resilience include Good City, Third Space, Component, Milwaukee Brewing Company, Biloba, Explorium and the Pabst brewpub, and some have also already launched their versions, too.

All proceeds from the sale of the West Coast-style IPA will be donated to the fund.

The fire – the worst in California history – took at least 85 lives and destroyed more than 13,000 homes as it burned more than 153,000 acres. Sierra Nevada is located in Chico, California, in Butte County. It survived the fire.

Taking part in the program is personal for Water Street Brewery, Milwaukee’s oldest brewpub.

The sister and brother-in-law of brewmaster George Jahn Bluvas are U.S. Forest Service firefighters based 40 miles from the Camp Fire.

"Their fear for their home, their concern for fellow firefighters, their want to help, was right there in front of me," said Bluvas.

"When Water Street Brewery got the letter from Sierra Nevada asking for breweries to participate I was determined to help, and ecstatic when Water Street Brewery management decided it was the right thing to do.

"I'm thrilled to be a part of so many breweries coming together to brew great beer for a good cause."

On its website, brewery founder Ken Grossman wrote, "We sent out the ‘bat signal’ calling our friends in the industry, asking our suppliers to donate ingredients, asking other breweries (our competitors) to donate their time and labor costs, and asking our wholesalers and retailers to carry the beer for free. It was a big ask, and we never could have anticipated the response.

"Our suppliers donated ingredients to every brewery nationwide. Wholesalers and retailers agreed to carry the beer and donate every dollar they received. All of them agreed to do this for free to benefit people they had never met. ... Every dollar Sierra Nevada receives will go to those impacted by the Camp Fire."

Sierra Nevada – which has released its 17,000-barrel batch of the IPA in cans – also shared a homebrew version of the recipe online.

Water Street’s Resilience West Coast-style India pale ale – made according to the Sierra Nevada recipe with ingredients donated by Wisconsin’s Briess Malting and Oregon’s Willamette Valley Hops – is on tap at all four of the brewpub’s locations.

A complete list of participating brewers can be found here.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.