Stillwater Artisanal and De Struise are two brewers I've had very little from. In the past year I've seen a lot of Stillwater beers pop up on shelves at different liquor stores everywhere I've traveled. It turns out Stillwater, like Mikkeller, doesn't have a brewery of their own, so their beers are all collaborations that are brewed at a someone else's brewery. De Struise is a Belgian craft brewer that I've heard a lot of great things about but I've only had one of two beers that have carried their label. I'm excited to try this beer, but I'm not entirely sure what to expect... after all, the bottle just says it's a 10% ABV Belgian ale that was brewed with barley, oats, wheat, rye, hops, sugar and yeast. So, a lot of stuff, but nothing crazy.
I was really intrigued by this beer when I first heard of it a few months back. A collaboration between Stone, Pizza Port and Green Flash sounds like it'd be a really great idea. Each of these breweries makes some interesting beers and a collaboration between the three of them, a beer that showcases each of their strengths, would be really cool. Well, then I heard this was going to be a Scotch Ale... Now, I really like Scotch Ales, but mostly when they conform to my idea of what a Wee Heavy should taste like. It's a guilty pleasure of mine. I don't think of a Scotch Ale as a platform for brewers to innovate or really even collaborate
It's finally here, the long awaited collaboration brew from Boulevard and Christopher Elbow arrived in Kansas City this week and it was welcomed with open arms... a LOT of open arms. The larger liquor stores around town received around a dozen cases of Chocolate Ale and nearly every bottle was sold before 5pm on that first day. It seemed this local collaboration really struck a chord with Kansas Citians, it also didn't hurt that this is a chocolate beer and it hit shelves right before Valentine's Day. Whatever the reason, folks are clamoring to try the Chocolate Ale, and I can't blame them.
The Saison du Buff started as an idea kicked around by the heads of Dogfish Head, Victory and Stone Brewing Comanpies. Buff comes from their acronym for Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor, the name they gave their very unofficial gathering. The Saison du Buff was produced in three batches, one at Stone, one at Victory and this one which was brewed at Dogfish in Delaware. The Dogfish beer was released second, after Stone's version, and I'd love to review them all in order but none of these breweries distribute to my area... so I'll take what I can get, when I can get it.
Collaboration Not Litigation is the product of blending two production beers from different breweries, both of which are named Salvation. The name is said to be a tribute to the collaborative nature of craft brewers, because in any other industry there probably would have been cease and desist orders issued by one party or the other. One of the most interesting parts of this beer is the fact that it's a blend of two fairly well established beers. Two beers that already have followers and quite well regarded in their own right. Blending those two beers together sounds risky, but it also sounds like a lot of fun. This beer has a great story behind it, hopefully the actual beer is as much fun to drink.
I first had Boulevard's Imperial Pilsner at the beer's release party in Lawrence, Kansas. In case you hadn't heard, this Imperial Pilsner is a collaboration between Boulevard Brewing Company and Orval's master brewer Jean-Marie Rock. Steven Pauwels, Boulevard's brew master, and Rock met at a conference in Tucson last year. It was there that these two Belgians hit it off and agreed to collaborate and resurrect a beer Rock had brewed some 30 years before. The style that beer most closely resembled is what we now call an American Double or Imperial Pilsner.
I was especially proud of finding this bottle of at the liquor store, not because it was particularly rare but because it was on the clearance rank. I'd seen a few bottle of these on the shelves over the holidays but didn't get around to picking one up. Even though the holidays are a month behind us I couldn't pass up getting a bottle of this collaboration for half price. The timing worked out well because just enough time had passed that I was no longer burnt out on holiday seasonal beers. After picking up this bottle I realized something a little strange...
I've been looking forward to this beer ever since it was announced that Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada would be collaborating. I really like the Dogfish Head beers I've had, but I haven't been real crazy about Sierra Nevada's brews. I was anxious to see how Dogfish Head's extreme beer styles would jive with Sierra Nevada's tendencies to just throw a bunch of hops into a bottle and call it beer. Ok, that's a bit harsh... but that's what my experience with Sierra Nevada has been. I finally got the chance to have a glass of Life & Limb on tap and was quite pleasantly surprised.