Collab Fest 2017 is in the books and proved to be a huge step forward for craft beer. With the plethora of changes and expansion of the festival, there was a lot to take in at the National Western Complex on March 25. More breweries, beers and brewers represented than ever before meant a lot of truly unique beers. Obvious trends in the brewing community were seen in the form of hazy IPAs and a surprising amount of brews that contained rye.
Beers that stood out
Comrade Brewing and Überbrew
- Überpower Triple IPA was hopped with more than 10 pounds per barrel of Mandarina Bavaria, chinook, citra, simcoe and mosaic hops. Malty and hoppy, this triple packed a punch yet went down smooth, as we’ve come to expect from Comrade.
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project and Omnipollo
- With “copious amounts of lactose and whole fresh raspberries,” this collab featuring Denver’s Crooked Stave and Sweden’s Omnipollo was easily one of our favorites, along with many of the attendees. Bianca Raspberry Wild Wild Brett proved to be a smooth and tart raspberry beer, fermented with Crooked Stave’s house mixed culture and a bunch of wild, wild brett.
Epic Brewing Company and Telluride Brewing
- It’s spring in Colorado and most know that brings some of the heaviest snows of the year. Telluride and Epic created a blizzard of their own in a super hazy New England Style IPA. Sitting at 7.2% ABV, this beer was one of our standouts, in a room full of haze.
Spice Trade Brewing and Cheluna Brewing Company
- “Empress Mora Imperial Stout is an imperial stout aged in Infinite Monkey Theorem cabernet sauvignon barrels with blackberries.” according to Jeff Tyler, head brewer at Spice Trade. He also said this brew almost didn’t make it, and are we glad that it did! Jeff reports they were working until 10:30 p.m. the previous night removing blackberry seeds.
Our Mutual Friend Brewing and Wiley Roots Brewing
- This shiny brew (triple IPA) featured edible 24K gold flakes and seven different kinds of hops with a smooth mouth-feel and haze galore.
Black Bottle Brewery and Blue Point Brewing
- Dark Passenger proved to be one of the stranger brews of Collab Fest. This tart-chocolate-salty-brown-wheat ale featured four different types of seaweed from the North Atlantic Ocean. Malts from New York and Colorado and added cocoa husks provided a chocolate malt background, which was then kettle soured, using Noosa Yoghurt.
- Neill Pieper
DRiNk RiNo benefits from collaboration
Black Shirt Brewing Co. kicked off Friday with the Collaboration Fest Tailgate party that featured an altbier from the hands and minds of several local experts.
The beer, dubbed Drink RiNo ALTimate Secret, was 8.14% ABV and 46 IBUs. Other brewers in the collaboration included Great Divide Barrel Bar, Beryl’s Beer Co., Mockery Brewing, Epic Brewing Co., Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Ratio Beerworks, Our Mutual Friend Brewery, Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, and Zephyr Brewing Company.
The fourth annual Collaboration Fest was held Saturday at the National Western Complex and some breweries from around the state held pre-festival parties to tap their collaborations at their breweries.
Black Shirt is located in Denver’s RiNo district at 38th and Walnut Street. Their partners for the project all hailed from RiNo.
The brewers used mostly local ingredients to produce this beer from Troubadour Malting, Colorado Hop Company, and High Wire Hops. Black Shirt tapped their only keg of this secret beer and released it to the public at 11am on Friday. All the proceeds of the beer sold in the taprooms will go directly to DRiNk RiNo. This organization is working to promote independent breweries, wineries, cideries and distilleries in the RiNo District. If you couldn’t make it to Collab Fest, there is a small possibility you can find the beer at one of the participant’s taprooms.
- Jamie Mills