Post by Mike
Before diving in to today’s post I’d just like to thank Gav for the wonderful introduction. As Gav said, I’ve been around the denim and workwear scene for a few years now and over that time I’ve come to build an appreciation for well made goods from brands with an eye for the small details. I have a passion for craft alcohol in all its forms, be it spirits, mead, cider, or beer, and have been home brewing consistently for about a year now. If you feel so inclined you can find me around the internet as emceeQ on the Iron Heart forums or as @emceeq on instagram. Now on to the beer.
One of the products and events I’ve been most excited for this summer is Beer Camp by Sierra Nevada. Sierra Nevada, based out of Chico, CA and one of the largest craft breweries in the US, decided to collaborate with 12 different breweries from across the country to create twelve different beers across twelve different styles. The beers have been packaged into a mixed twelve pack with one of each, and are also being showcased through a touring beer festival that is stopping at seven cities across the US. The beers themselves range in style from stouts and ales to bocks and lagers, and even a few belgian inspired brews. All of them sound fantastic on paper, and given the brewers involved with this project I’m sure they’ll all be a treat.
The level of collaboration involved in pulling off a project this huge, and the cooperation and openness between breweries required to make this happen is present, albeit not to this scale, throughout the craft beer industry. Between communications back and forth to select ingredients and figure out recipes, and actually getting everything together and brewing the beers, collaborations often have a much higher cost and time associated with them. It’s not at all uncommon to see collaborative brews made both by direct competitors and breweries that are across the country from one another though, as the results can be something greater or at the very least different than any involved brewery could make on their own.
Collabos often promote experimentation and usually produce interesting, if not always good, beers that are unique and fun to try. Take the New Belgium x Three Floyds Grätzer that I’m drinking while writing this. It’s an uncommon Polish style ale that is made using an oak smoked wheat, and is a perfect example of what can be achieved when two breweries work together. It has a light, not overpowering, smokiness with a subtle sourness to it. It’s not an everyday drinker, but a fascinating brew and one I enjoyed thoroughly. Much like the crazy styles present in Beer Camp, this unique ale would likely not find wide distribution if it weren’t for the collaboration between the two breweries. So next time you’re out at your local beer shop take a look around and see if you can find a collab, chances are it could be something awesome.
Stay tuned for pt. 2 of this article in which I slowly work my way through this twelve pack and hopefully taste some of Beer Camp on draft at my local bar.