3rd Annual Collaboration Fest Returns March 19th
Representing the most creative minds in the craft beer industry, the third annual Collaboration Fest will bring brewers from around the world together to brew one-time-only beers. Collaboration Fest will take place on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High (1701 Bryant St. Denver CO 80204), and serves as the official kick-off to Colorado Craft Beer Week.
“Each Collaboration beer is created as a fusion of two or more brewery personalities,” said PJ Hoberman of Imbibe Events. “The recipe formulation is then developed through multiple meetings and email chains. All parties then join forces to brew and put the final touches of the project together. The one thing in common between all of the Collaboration beers is that at least one CBG brewery is involved.”
Imbibe Events and the Colorado Brewers Guild (CBG) hosted the first Collaboration Fest in March 2014. Collaboration gives brewers the opportunity to brew with people they respect, create a narrative behind the beer, and make a beer that they normally would not. Each beer is created with a unique background story, often illustrating the relationships between the brewers themselves. Leading up to the festival Imbibe and the CBG will be sharing these stories via multiple platforms.
The 2016 Collaboration Fest will feature 75 collaborative brews. You can find out more about those breweries and where to buy tickets here.
Here are the current collaborations that we know of:
A Recap From Last Year’s Festivities
Up an escalator and onto the club level of the home of the Denver Broncos, Imbibe staff and members of the Brewer’s Guild welcomed festival goers with their first sample of the day in a festival glass that was sponsored by Star Bar and Falling Rock Tap House. Beer lovers then had free reign and an unlimited supply of blissfully beautiful beverages to fancy their thirst.
(Read more: Festival Recap | 2015 Collaboration Fest)
With the entire club level showcasing TV’s emblazoned with brewer collaborations over each booth, we were able to make our way over to where we wanted to go with ease. We walked from jockey box to jockey box congratulating all of our local brethren and welcoming some of the out of state brewers the same. Five minutes into the festival, we knew that the venue provided a much more ample setting than last year’s packed and sometimes difficult-to-navigate Curtis Hotel corridors. The spacious club level provided a great conduit of movement with minimal wait for beer in each line. With an improved layout and better visibility of brewer tables, we sampled through specialty and rare beers first so as to snag them up before they were kicked by the masses. So, here is a quick breakdown of our biggest discoveries, favorite brews from this year’s festival and our takeaways from the expertly planned and well attended event.
A bevy of support and ongoing hosting prowess from the Locals
We are no strangers to a wealth of craft beer goodness here in Colorado. But having breweries pile in on the fun from other states doesn’t hurt either. Collaboration Fest would not be the same if the local guys didn’t totally welcome and host out-of-state brewers to use their equipment and share their space to craft these brews. Good on you, Colorado Craft brewers.
Our favorite beers from Collaboration Fest 2015
The Powder Keg and Avery blended Sour, Baere Brewing and Mockery Brewing Inland Island sour, Station 26 and Call to Arms Schwartz with Caraway, Strange Craft Beer Co and Copper Kettle Basil Cherry Blonde, and Wynkoop/Ska/Reel Big Fish Stout, Ska and TRVE Horns Big Brown in Bourbon Barrels.
Surprised by the folks from:
Wit’s End. They always bring a surprising offering. This time around they unleashed their collaboration with Colorado Cider Co. The “Apple of My IPA” was such a tasty treat. A Graff and IPA hybrid that tastes like a malty, slightly hopped cider mixed with a white, citrus IPA. This may have been Cory’s favorite pour all day. Desi and Chris really enjoyed the Kokopelli and Front Range Brewing Carrot Cake Brown ale as well. It paired really nicely with Desi’s beer truffles!!!
Tried and true continued doing what they do
Tristan, Chris and Cory all agree that Oskar Blues Brewery and DC Brau rolled out a doobie doozy of a delicious quaff with their collaborative nod to the world of dank with “Smells Like Freedom.” This beer smelled just like freedom and tasted like sweet, skunky bliss. Yum. Tristan reiterates that both of the New Belgium collaborations were fantastic for differing reasons. The RockStar which featured a New Belgium, Falling Rock and Star Bar partnership showcased New Belgium’s forte in sour blending, however their take on a Black and Tan with Verboten Brewing in Loveland was also great because it pushed the boundary of beer with it’s creamy, minty characteristics.
If there is a downside to a festival like this
We just needed a bit more info, even just the style that the breweries brewed up together posted up on all of those TV’s have helped us maneuver to the most desired lines quicker and may have helped us steer clear of some of the beers that don’t suit our particular fancy. That being said, the mystery of each line helped breweries gain exposure and we won’t scoff at that.
Why we truly loved every second of this festival
Style options, location, collaboration, layout and facilitation, and of course the close knit community of craft beers from near and far. Oh, and the jerky! Craft Jerky for all! The side room discussions and education component was another brilliant idea and really brought some great speakers to the forefront.
Tickets can be purchased starting Tuesday, November 24 at 10 a.m. MST at CollaborationFest.com.