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Wild Friendship Celebration - What You Missed

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On May 9th, 2015, beer enthusiasts from around the world joined together in Portland, Maine for one of the most highly anticipated beer events in recent memory. Appropriately named The Wild Friendship Celebration, this event marked the culmination of nearly five years of collaborative efforts between three breweries from opposite ends of the earth; Brasserie-Brouwerij Cantillon in Belgium, Russian River Brewing Company in California and Allagash Brewing Company in Maine.
Didn't get a chance to attend? Don't worry! Below you will find the four most important things that you missed from this past weekend's event (hint: none of them were beers!).
What You Missed #1: The Breweries -

The Famous Brasserie-Brouwerij Cantillon
Brasserie-Brouwerij Cantillon, or Cantillon Brewery, is a small traditional Belgian brewery located in Anderlecht, Brussels. Founded in 1900, Cantillon has a long, rich history of brewing Lambic (spontaneously fermented) beers. Half of the brewery's production is released as Guezue (blend of Lambic beers), but Cantillon brews over one dozen other Lambic beers, most notably; Fou' Foune (apricot), Blbr (bilberry), and Lou Pepe Kriek (cherry). Since 2011, Jean Van Roy has served as owner and head brewer.
Russian River Brewing Company was founded in 1997 by Korbel Champagne Cellars. In 2002, Korbel sold the brewery to Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo, who promptly relocated to Santa Rosa, California. Russian River is best known for it's IPAs; Blind Pig (IPA), Pliny The Elder (Double IPA), and Pliny The Younger (Triple IPA), but Cilurzo has been brewing Belgian-style wild ales since 1999. Some of their most popular offerings are Beatification, Temptation, and Supplication.
Allagash Brewing Company was established in 1994 in Portland, Maine. Founder Rob Tod recognized that while there was an abundance of British and German-style American breweries, Belgian-style American breweries were few-and-far between. Allagash's first and most recognized beer is Allagash White, an interpretation of the Belgian Wit. They currently offer six year round beers, seven yearly releases, and countless one-offs.
What You Missed #2: The Collaboration -

Assemblage De L'amitie (French for The Wild Friendship Blend)
Cantillon is regarded as the world's greatest Lambic producer, and both Russian River and Allagash are recognized as producers of some of the best Belgian-style beers in the United States. Over the years, the three breweries have developed a long-standing relationship based on mutual respect and admiration for each other.
And it was this long-standing relationship and passion for spontaneously fermented beer that resulted in the creation of The Wild Friendship Blend, or in French, the Assemblage De L'amitie.

Allagash Assemblage De L'amitie
Assemblage De L'amitie is a blend of spontaneously fermented beers from each of the three breweries in equal proportions: Cantillon (Lambic), Russian River (Sonambic), and Allagash (Coolship). Each component was brewed, fermented, and aged in oak barrels at each respective brewery. All three beers were cooled in some form of a traditional coolship with no added yeast or bacteria - only natural, spontaneous inoculation. All beer was of a circa 2010 vintage.
In late 2014, as the final piece of the blending process, The Wild Friendship Blend was recreated in the United States. This American version was blended at Allagash by Cilurzo and Tod. The breweries agreed: these blends would never be sold individually, only poured at special events.
What You Missed #3: The Celebration -

The Third Wild Friendship Celebration
The first Wild Friendship Celebration was held on May 1st, 2014 during Cantillon's Quintessence. The Quintessence is a bi-annual event celebrating tradition, nature, food, and beer. From 10:00 to 6:00 PM, guests were offered a walking tour of the ancient brewery alongside 25 different beers (including Russian River and Allagash offerings). The Quintessence allows Cantillon to share special beers and to inform guest about collaborations on which the brewery has been working. The most special of beers offered to guest that evening was Assemblage De L'amitie.
Russian River hosted the second Wild Friendship Celebration on May 7th, 2015 at their brewpub in Santa Rosa, California. 120 guests were afforded the opportunity to sample 12 beers from Cantillon, Russian River, and Allagash (including both Assemblage De L'amitie and Wild Friendship Blend). The beer dinner lasted a total of five hours, commencing at 4:00 PM. Later that evening, Russian River reopened its brewpub with a public tap offering of leftover Cantillon, Russian River, and Allagash beers to enable them to "spread the love a little further."
Lastly, Allagash held their Wild Friendship Celebration on May 9th, 2015 in Portland, Maine. Portions of the lottery-ticket sales were donated to "Full Plates Full Potential," an initiative to end childhood hunger in Maine. A total of 700 people won the opportunity to taste 13 beers spread sporadically throughout the tasting room, brewery, wild barrel room, and outside tent. As with each previous event, Van Roy, Cilurzo, and Tod were present and mingling with beer nerds, brewers, and industry folk. I was fortunate enough to win a lottery ticket and can honestly say it was one of the most organized, laid-back, world-class beer events I've ever attended!
What You Missed #4: The Significance -

The Collaborative Minds Behind The Wild Friendship Blend
More important than the history of the breweries, collaboration beers, and celebrations was the significance behind The Wild Friendship; a blend of three spontaneously fermented beers (Lambic, Sonambic, and Coolship) by three highly-regarded breweries (Cantillon, Russian River, and Allagash), from three ends of the earth (Belgium, California, and Maine). This collaboration embodies the best aspects of the beer industry; the synergism of history, tradition, knowledge, and culture.
And the fact that Van Roy, Cilurzo, and Tod vowed to never sell the beer in bottles, only to pour the beer at events where people could enjoy it together is downright romantic, isn't it?
Andrew is an award-winning homebrewer and avid beer enthusiast. For more from this talented brewer and writer find him on his multiple social media accounts, or at his blog ThirdLeapBrew.com!
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Comments

What a great event. I found out about it too late to enter the lottery, but would have loved to attend.
Maybe in the future!
Thanks.
 
@Arrheinous definitely!
The biggest takeway from the event for me was the synergism. I was honestly more blown away at the concept than the beers (although the beers were great!).
I love the idea of organic collaboration among breweries. Hopefully we will see more US collaborations go the way of the Wild Friendship Celebration.
 
@biertourist
Just look for wine baskets, that is what they are in actuality.
If you pay more than 10 bucks you might want to rethink it. We got them all the time in Belgium for 1 or less. I've seen a few on etsy for under the max I think one should pay for them.
 
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