I am a big fan of collaborations for any number of reasons – the ability to bounce ideas of other people, the exposure to new things and new ways of thinking, the space to experiment and challenge. Diligently plugging away on your own, while stalwart, can lead to stagnation and that is never a good thing especially when we are talking craft beer. So what’s up Canada? Why don’t we have more collaborative brews from our many fine brewers?
Let’s take an example of how amazingly this philosophy of joining forces can apply to the brew world. For this I turn to the king of sharers Stone Brewing Co. who boast no less than thirteen collaborative beers to date. Not only have they communally brewed with other American craft beer heavy weights like Elysian Brewing, Dogfish Head and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales but they have collaborated internationally with Mikkeller Brewing and BrewDog and with Home Brewers (how cool is that?). They even collaborate on the bottle design. I have had the good fortune to sample the Saison du Buff, the Japanese Green Tea IPA and La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado all really unique brews that push the boundaries of traditional styles.
Now let’s get back to the Canadian beer scene. Everything seems to be in place for collaborations; we have lots of well-established breweries, lots of new up-and-comers on the brewing scene and an amazingly dedicated community of home brewers so I ask again why aren’t we getting together for everyone’s benefit? Is it our Canadian humility; perhaps we are too reserved to broach the topic of working together. Is it our Canadian insecurity; we are trying to carve out a place craft beer niche and do not want to want to share trade secrets. Are we just jerks? Well hopefully not the latter. But in all seriousness there is so much potential there let’s get to it!
Driftwood Brewing and Church-Key Brewing Co.
Tree Brewing Co. and Tin Whistle Brewing Co. and Nelson Brewing Co.
Wild Rose Brewery and Two Rivers Brewing Company
Yukon Brewing Co. and Great Lakes Brewery and Cannery Brewery
Kawartha Lakes Brewing Co. and Salt Spring Island Ales