Friday, September 12, 2014

Collaboration Brews - Taking it to the Next Level

Collaboration beers are fairly common place these days and with the trend continuing, it's evolving in new and interesting iterations. A friend recently gave me Whatcom Wheat, a collaboration of all nine Whatcom County (WA) breweries for Bellingham Beer Week, which starts today. In addition to some groovy, eye catching artwork on the 16 oz can, the beer itself was pretty good. Wheat beers are tricky waters for me to forge as if find strong banana and clove flavors displeasing. When I cracked this can open there was a distinct banana aroma that triggered my internal caution lights but it was for naught. Contained in the can was a well-balanced wheat beer that if it was available in my home market I'd happily buy more of.

Over the summer, as I'm sure you've heard about was the nationwide tour/campaign/distribution from Sierra Nevada - Beer Camp. Not only did they collaborate with 12 breweries across the country for their 12-pk but they went to the next level by making a national tour out of it. Even with Eugene-based Ninkasi being one of the breweries involved, Oregon missed out on being a tour stop. While I was sad about that, I was fortunate to attend a Beer Camp event at The BeerMongers where they had all 12 beers on tap. I previously blogged about my favorites, one of which came from Asheville Brewers Alliance, the only one of the bunch that was a new brewery to me. Nonetheless, Beer Camp allowed me to have beers from some breweries that aren't generally available in this market. For that alone I applaud the effort.

Recently a third collaboration caught my eye. 20+ brewers in North Carolina brewed a gose containing only ingredients from the state. I'm a big fan of that style but based on this Charlotte Business Journal article, it'll be unlikely I'll have a chance to see what this many "cooks in the kitchen" whipped up. Only eight barrels were made and beyond the World Beer Festival in Durham, NC and the breweries' own tap rooms, the only other place it will be making an appearance at is the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. The GABF pouring is one that the breweries hope will enhance North Carolina's up and coming craft beer scene. Kudos to them.

How about you, have you been noticing more and more collaboration beers? What do you think of the idea or the beers themselves if you've had a chance to try them?

1 comment:

  1. I just missed the keg of Armored Fist,a Boneyard and Three Floids collaboration Imperial CDA, at my favorite Seattle Bottleshop but everybody said it was great. The Three Way IPA with Ft. George and Block 15 was very good as was a third collab brew with a San Deigo brewery that I can't remember the name of.

    Stone's Unapologetic IPA which was a collaboration with Beachwood Brewing and Heretic Brewing Company was really good and there are still bottles of it around.

    There's a good history of collaboration brews for Seattle Beer Week. Last year it was a barleywine, this spring it was 6-Way IPA.

    I'm eagerly awaiting an opportunity to sample a Koyt that Reuban'sy (my favorite Seattle Brewery, no they don't distribute much) is brewing with Wander.

    IMHO collaboration brews are a positive influence on craft brewing. The brewers seem to enjoy it, many seem to be commercial successes, and I am enjoying drinking the results.