What’s Brewing? Sample these elusive collaboration beers
It wasn’t long ago when local craft breweries started collaborating to bring us special brews. Most of the time, these brews were created for a special event, but it was always exciting to try something new by two of our favorite breweries.
Soon after, we started to see breweries from different states collaborating. More recently, we’re starting to see breweries collaborating with nonbrewing businesses. For example, TV shows like “Game of Thrones” and bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica and Def Leppard all have collaborated with breweries to make their own beer. Finding these beers can be a challenge but they’re out there.
It seems like there’s never quite enough of these special beers to go around either. Intentional? Most definitely. I recall a very famous pumpkin beer first coming to the market. It wasn’t a collaboration but a good footnote to mention. There was plenty of this beer to go around, but if you dragged your feet for too long it always ran out before Halloween.
I couldn’t believe how perfectly dialed in the distribution of that beer was. It truly was special until so much was made that you could find it on the shelf after Christmas.
Making just enough as opposed to making an overabundance seems to be the way to go. That way, the beer isn’t sitting on the shelf getting old, and it remains special for possible annual releases. Craft beer enthusiasts will be able to find the beer with ease, while anyone who missed it can hopefully look forward to another release.
Another collaboration outside of the brewing industry involves the iconic Prantl’s Bakery. The company has teamed up with Platform Beer Co. from Ohio. The collaboration yielded its famous Burnt Almond Torte turned into a beer. The blonde ale is 6.9% ABV and appears hazy yellow. It’s well carbonated with aromas of vanilla sponge cake, almond, amaretto and sweet cigar wrapper. There are prominent flavors of almond, vanilla and caramel. The mouthfeel is frothy and it finishes with a balance of malt, vanilla and lingering almond nuttiness. Safe to say if you love the torte, this is well worth trying. It’s sold out in a lot of places, so you’d better start searching if you’d like to try it.
Auroch’s Brewing Co. (Emsworth) collaborated with Butler Brew Works (Butler) to bring us Mexican Hot Chocolate for the cooler months. More recently, they collaborated with Holidaily Brewing Co. (Golden, Colo.) on a beer called Brewnited, which was released for the annual Craft Beer Conference in Denver just a couple of weeks ago. Both breweries create gluten-free beer that is out of this world. Their biggest battle is simply trying to undo the stigma attached to gluten-free beer.
House of 1000 Beers does an annual collaboration with Strange Roots Experimental Ales called Grand Blu. This is an American wild ale fermented with peaches and an organism used to make blue cheese called roqueforti.
House of 1000 Beers also has a collaboration with Church Brew Works called Game of 1000 Beers, to be released for the finale of “Game of Thrones.” The beer is a Braggot-style, which historically was made by blending spices, herbs, mead, beer and many times was done right at the tavern. The goal was to create a balance between the honey character from the mead, malt and hop bitterness. Church Brew Works’ Blackberry Quadzilla, a Belgian-style quad and honey mead were used to create Game of 1000 Beers — which is coming soon.
If you are interested in any of the craft beers mentioned, please visit House of 1000 Beers in either New Kensington or Warrendale. Perhaps they should consider changing their name to House of 1,000,000 Beers, because if it’s out there, they’ve got it. Cheers!
Mark Brewer is a Tribune-Review contributing writer. He’s the author and illustrator of “Brewology, An Illustrated Dictionary for Beer Lovers.”