As the 2nd Annual Collaboration Fest approaches, we wanted to share some of the breweries, stories, and people behind the beers that’ll be on display during this years event. Presented by Imbibe! and the Colorado Brewers Guild, and set to take place on Saturday, March 21st at Sports Authority Field in Denver, the festival will feature 50+ unique, one-off brews. Every beer being presented is a collaborative effort between a member of the Colorado Brewers Guild and one or more additional breweries. Read on for the fourth in a series of articles we’re presenting leading up to the event. Hope you enjoy!
Collaboration Fest sets the stage for an unprecedented level of cooperation and interaction between breweries far and wide. The usual model is two (or more) breweries come together to design a beer that plays to their strengths, and then brew it up together for us to enjoy. Powder Keg Brewing and Avery Brewing decided to take another approach and used this opportunity to blend beers from their respective Barrel Programs.
Just days after Avery Brewing served their last customer in the Avery Alley, Chief Barrel Herder Andy Parker played host to brewers from both Avery and Powder Keg to select a blend that accentuated the key elements of each brewery.
Powder Keg’s a young brewery from Niwot, CO, that’s already making a name for themselves, thanks to the variety of well-crafted beers coming from Brewer Philip Joyce. Powder Keg brought their Lettre Rouge, which ended up serving as the base beer in the blend. Lettre Rouge made its debut at January’s Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines event and made it to our “12 Can’t Miss Beers” list. Joyce describes Lettre Rouge as a Farmhouse Ale, brewed with citrus, hibiscus, Lacto, and Powder Keg’s house Brett strain. The delicate beer spent 4 months aging in Cabernet wine barrels, before being blended and released.
Boulder’s Avery Brewing needs no introduction. Barrel-Herder Andy Parker had quite a few different beers to select from, as the Avery barrel collection is now sitting at roughly 800 barrels! For this particular blend, Parker selected 8 beers to sample and experiment with. Some might be familiar Avery offerings, like Eremita VIII and Bad Karma. Others are brand new and could potentially debut in 2015, such as the delicious Raspberry Sour or complex Manhattan Sour.
From there, we sampled our way through the entire lineup of 9 beers, taking notes and discussing the defining characteristics of each. The goal was to create something new that didn’t overpower the subtleties of Powder Keg’s Lettre Rouge. The grapefruit and hibiscus notes could easily have been overpowered by some of Avery’s stronger beers like the Tequila Barrel-Aged Bad Karma or the stone fruit notes of Eremita VIII.
The afternoon turned into a fun game of mixing, sampling, and determining what worked and what didn’t.
Ultimately, two blends were selected to create a larger batch, which was then chilled, carbonated, sampled and voted upon in a blind tasting panel: Read more »