Rocky Mountain Brewing News April/May 2012 : Page 1
/P�f; Collaboration Reflects the Culture of the Craft Brewing Industry By: Jim “Doc” Damon State News Red Rock Brewing ................... 5 Homebrew ............................... 7 Beer Directory ....................... 10 Montana .........................................4 Utah ...............................................6 Wyoming .......................................8 Idaho ..............................................8 Colorado Upper Front Range .....................13 Central Peaks ..............................14 Western Slope ............................15 Denver .........................................16 Lower Front Range ....................18 Four Corners ...............................18
Collaboration Reflects The Culture Of The Craft Brewing Industry
Jim “Doc” Damon
Our story begins when Adam Avery of Avery Brewing and Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing sat down and were chatting (over a beer, of course) and discovered, to their amazement, that they both were making a beer which they had named Salvation Ale. Even crazier was the realization that both of these beers were similar, and that if combined, might go well together.
Avery’s version of this beer began with a Belgian golden strong ale, while the Russian River version was a strong dark golden ale. Overhearing this conversation, Vinnie's wife Natalie suggested they call it Collaboration, Not Litigation Ale. Avery began brewing this beer in early 2006, and has done so annually since then.Each year 33 barrels are brewed and combined, bringing the total to 66 barrels produced. Another unique characteristic of this rare brew is due to the fact that the Russian River version is unfiltered. The resultant beer is 8.69% ABV. Since this unusual brew is released around February 1 of each year, some may be remaining on your dealer’s shelves by the time this is published.
During the past decade, many craft breweries have joined the likes of Avery and Russian River, and partnered up to produce some very unique creations. Most of these, however, are small batch productions only available at or near the breweries that produced them.
The folks at New Belgium Brewing have produced several collaboration beers, reports Bryan Simpson, Director of Marketing. They have been collaborating with the Elysian Brewery since 2008, producing small batches at the facilities in Seattle; the first batch was called Trippel IPA-a combination of New Belgium's Belgian style and a West Coast style aggressively-hopped brew. The Trip Series, as this has been named, is now in its 11th edition. Unfortunately, this brew is no longer available. Future batches are anticipated, but none are planned at this time.
Peter Bouckaert (New Belgium) and Tommy Arthur (Lost Abbey) have teamed up recently and a sour Brettanomyces beer (which may also contain some Lactobacillus) is on the drawing board.This unique beer, a part of the Lips of Faith Series, has a May 2012 release planned, and, thus should be available soon after this is published.
The folks at New Belgium are also planning yet another new collaboration beer in conjunction with the Alpine Beer Company in southern California. Planned release is in the fall of 2012.
Matt Cutter, founder of Upslope Brewing Company in Boulder, is very excited to announce their first beer collaboration with the Denver Beer Company. They began serving this amazing beer in their tap room in late February. It's a Belgianstyle chocolate cherry stout! A couple of months ago the Upslope brewers went down to brew at Denver Beer Company; in turn, their brewers traveled north to brew a batch on the Upslope system. Although 10% ABV, this is a deceptively smooth, complex beer with cherry and chocolate flavors lingering in the finish. It will be available on tap at both breweries, but only for a short time.
Bryan Simpson of New Belgium Brewing proudly displays three of their unique beers in the Lips of Faith series. These are regularly created with other breweries across the country.
Photo by Jim "Doc" Damon
Partnership in the Cowboy State
The breweries in Wyoming are showing some impressive teamwork! The goal is to have all of the state’s 14 breweries converging in Pinedale at Wind River Brewery April 20-21 to create Wyoming Pale Ale, or WY-P-A. Born out of a discussion at last year’s Saratoga Steinley Cup, this idea is the first of its kind for brewers in the Cowboy State. Each brewery will bring ingredients, ideas, knowledge, and enthusiasm to the shindig!
WY-P-A will be released on Monday, May 14 with a simultaneous tapping at all of the participating pub and brewery locations. Timing of the release coincides with Craft Beer Week. The beer will continue to be poured at each respective brewery until residents have quaffed it all!
Brewing Outside the Box
Never to be outdone, Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head) has been collaborating with other brewers to produce unique brews since 2006. During that time, he has been involved in a dozen collaborations with other major brewers in the United States and Europe.
One of Sam's more recent collaborations was with Howard Kane and his brew crew at The Bruery in Orange County, Calif. Faster, Bigger, Better, Bolder (Gradually, Quietly, Steadily) is dedicated to the lifestyle views of Americans contrasted with the more humble and traditional ways of Japan. Brewed with kumquats and The Bruery’s seven spice schichimi-togarashi blend along with sake yeast, this is an excessive beer brewed with tradition in mind. One dollar from each bottle sale was donated to rebuilding Japanese breweries and households that were destroyed during the 2011 Japanese earthquake.
In mid-2011 Sam got together with Todd Mott of Portsmouth Brewing to create a historical beer known as a gruit.These were herb and spiced beers dating back to the 11th century, prior to the use of hops. They did a lot of brainstorming to come up with the strange blend of herbs and fruits used to flavor this unique brew, based on an amber porter. The herbs and fruits include Delaware peaches, stinging nettles, lavender, yarrow and bog myrtle.Additional peaches were added to the fermenter prior to adding the yeast. Named Fru-it Gru-it, this unusual creation was available at the Portsmouth brewery and was served by them at the 2011 GABF.
In 2009 Sam collaborated with the folks at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, Calif. To produce a strong dark beer brewed with maple syrup from Sam's family farm in Massachusetts. The Sierra Nevada estate provided the barley for this brew. Bottle conditioning was provided by using the yeast from both breweries, and natural carbonation was achieved by using birch syrup from Alaska. This brew, Life and Limb, was dedicated to beer pioneers in the craft brewing world. This brewing session also resulted in a small beer made for the second running, which they named Limb and Life.
The following year Sam got together with the folks at Three Floyd's Brewing Company in Indiana and produced Popaskull, a golden ale aged on wood and heavily spiced with cardamom and fermented with Belgian yeast. The complexity was enhanced by aging one third of the beer in oak brandy barrels for six months.The resulting product is a 10% ABV beer spiced by the yeast and combined with caramel and vanilla flavors.
Combining Local Flavors
Many collaborative beers are designed to incorporate ingredients that are native to their local areas. Last year Sam got together with four other breweries, including Allagash, Avery, Lost Abbey, and Sierra Nevada with the idea of reclaiming the idea of terroir from the wine world. They developed Repoterroir, a session lager brewed with ingredients from all the breweries— wild rice, beets, cucumber, mint and carrots (Sierra Nevada), Maine purple potatoes (Allagash), Colorado alfalfa honey (Avery), Atlantic Ocean beach wood (Dogfish), and Pacific Ocean beach wood (Lost Abbey).
This unique, earthy session beer (5.5% ABV) was complex, but very drinkable.
The saga began when Sam visited the Herold Brewery in Prague, Czech Republic. Inspired by their beer known as Golden Shower, they produced an imperial pilsner in conjunction with the Pivovar Herold Bfieznice brewers, and named it Golden Revolution. This unique concoction was created using traditional ancient brewing techniques, local European ingredients, and spring water from the grounds of Herold's Castle. The result of this collaboration was a high alcohol, dry hopped big beer, probably the first of its kind from Eastern Europe. It was available briefly in the United States, but only through Michael Jackson's Rare Beer Club.
Another unique creation occurred when Sam and Tomme Arthur (Lost Abbey), Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River), Rob Todd (Allagash), and Adam Avery (Avery), traveled to Belgium together and decided to create a beer. They all sent a few barrels of beer and their own yeast to Lost Abbey, where Tommy put it all together to form a rare and unique sour ale, which they named Isabelle Proximus.
The guys at Stone Brewing in Escondido, Calif., have also produced about a dozen collaboration beers, but at the present time there’s only one that you’re likely to find. TBA was produced in conjunction with Richard Norgrove Jr.Of Bear Republic Brewing (Healdsburg, Calif.), Matt Cole of Fatheads Brewery (Cleveland, Ohio) and Mitch Steele from Stone Brewing. It stands for Texas Brown Ale, a beer style developed in the 1980s in Northern California - a brown ale supercharged with Cascade hops. It takes some of its roots from Pete's Wicked Ale, (Northern California) but the additions of brown sugar and molasses (by Richard) increase the complexity. It's also the first time that Stone has ever used Cascade hops in over 15 years! It’s now available in 20-ounce bombers.
Collaboration or Competition?
When asked about the benefits of collaboration versus the spirit of competition, Sam Calagione said it best, “I think it's very symbolic that the craft brewing world is altruistic and mutually supportive. And it allows a brewer to develop a following in a new market.”
One Word of Caution
Most of these collaboration beers represent a single event. In other words, only one batch is brewed. As a result, many of the beers presented in this article, unfortunately, are no longer available. Almost all of the others are available on a very limited basis. Collaboration Not Litigation Ale, for instance, is brewed annually. So, if you're lucky enough to find one of these on a shelf somewhere... anywhere, snatch it up immediately, because odds are, you won't see it again.