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Russian River Brewing Co. to produce special beer for Ukraine relief aid effort

Russian River Brewing Co. of Windsor is lending its support to Ukrainians by brewing a limited beer whose sales will go to help citizens of the war-torn country.

Russian River on Thursday will brew a hoppy strong golden ale based on a recipe from the Pravda Brewery in Lviv, Ukraine, which started the campaign last week to raise funds to aid its fellow citizens after Russia launched its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24.

The beer will be available for sale at a price of $10 per can and timed to around the release of Pliny the Younger on March 25. Thousands of beer fans will wait in hourslong lines during the two-week event to taste Pliny, the triple India pale ale considered one of the best beers in the world.

Co-owner Natalie Cilurzo said she has been heartbroken seeing the images coming out of Ukrainians fleeing the country that now total 1.5 million refugees. She and her husband, brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo, wanted to help after seeing the call put out by Pravda Brewery on social media for other breweries across the world to brew one selection from four of its different recipes for the fundraising campaign.

“Vinnie and I wanted to do something even though we were thousands of miles away as this humanitarian crisis unfolds,” Natalie Cilurzo said.

The local brewery will model the recipe along the lines that Pravda listed on its website though she added that it will modify it because Russian River doesn’t have all the ingredients called for in the brew. It also will include some dry-hopping for its finish.

“We are going to brew it with our own twist,” Cilurzo said.

She had emailed the Ukrainian brewery before launching the project and received a response back from Cory McGuinness, the former head brewer at Pravda who grew up in Portland and worked at various breweries in the U.S. before heading to Europe. McGuinness replied that Pravda staff were big fans of the local brewery, she said.

“As peaceful craft brewers, we want to return to the normal life ASAP and enjoy brewing and drinking. But first we must kick the cockroaches out of our land. No more Gulags, Holodomors (the Ukrainian famine of 1932) and oppression. It’s a decisive moment for Ukraine, Europe and democracies of the world,” Pravda Brewery wrote on its website.

The name of the beer will be called Putin Huylo, which is a Ukrainian and Russian slogan that translates roughly to “Putin is an (expletive).”

Bill Swindell

Business, Beer and Wine, The Press Democrat  

In the North Coast, we are surrounded by hundreds of wineries along with some of the best breweries, cidermakers and distillers. These industries produce an abundance of drinks as well as good stories – and those are what I’m interested in writing. I also keep my eye on our growing cannabis industry and other agricultural crops, which have provided the backbone for our food-and-wine culture for generations.

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