This might be the most extreme collaboration beer that has been made in recent memory.

On the Brewer to Brewer podcast Lee Cleghorn the founder and CEO of Outer Range Brewing recounts his recent visit to Ukraine, complete with beer and hops in tow, to brew a collaboration with TK brewery in Lviv.

He was interviewed by Eric Larkin of Cohesion Brewing in Denver.

Crossing the Border

Lee Cleghorn: It really started back this past summer, I did a collaboration with the Polish brewery called Pinta, which is the father of the new craft beer wave in in Poland.

And they were talking about the Ukrainian refugees that they had received. And I talked to a couple of Ukrainian refugees there. And off of that I started talking to a couple Ukrainian breweries. I asked, just on Instagram how we could support [them] and really what I was asking was that we would a collaboration, as so many breweries have done, a beer in support of Ukraine, and donate the proceeds to some sort of cause.

I was asking what cause they wanted us to donate to and instead, one of them wrote back ‘where you could support us come here’.

I was like, Oh, all right. Yeah. And I thought about it.

I’m an American brewer in Europe right now. I’m very close. I have a military background. So, I’m familiar with how to read those situations, at least a little bit.

So I decided, you know, if not me, then who the hell is gonna go? So I said yes. And I carved out a couple of days in my calendar.”

Getting to the Brewery

Lee Cleghorn, front, brewing with PZDK brewery in Lviv, Ukraine.

Lee Cleghorn: You cannot fly into Ukraine on commercial airlines. So, I flew back into Poland, rented a car to go over and do a collaboration with PZDK brewery. And I tried to drive the car across and didn’t happen. They would let me drive the car in from Poland.

Then I had to go to a different border crossing and walk over.

I bought a bunch of Outer Range beer, and Yakima Chief sent a 44 pound box of Mosaic to my house in France. I took that with me to do a good IPA with with those hops. So, I ended up lugging all that shit over the border and walking, sweating my ass off after midnight.

Eric Larkin: Did you just ditch the rental car?

Lee Cleghorn: Yeah, I just parked the car. I pulled everything out. And I walked across.

It was a surreal experience Because on the Polish side, there’s a bunch of tents set up from humanitarian organizations like UNICEF were out there receiving refugees. The only people crossing the border are women for the most part, you know, because all the men are not allowed to leave.

So I walked over the border with hops and the beer and then I found this who gave me a ride, and [got to the city] and found a hotel.”

The next day he brewed at PZDK Brew.

Hear the full story on the Brewer to Brewer Podcast.

Listen to the show where you download podcasts including Apple PodcastsSpotifyAmazon, and Overcast.

This episode is sponsored by:

Firsd Tea is a proud sponsor of the Brewer to Brewer podcast. They have been working with brewers on a wide range of ingredients in delicious beers. Firsd Tea combines the flexibility of order sizes with the experience you need to create innovative and successful tea beers. They get you the most direct-from-farm tea selection so you are working with flavorful and consistent products. You can find out more about Firsd Tea’s collaborations with brewers and tea ingredients by visiting blog.firsdtea.com.

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John Holl is the editor of All About Beer Magazine.