Categories for

Collaboration to the Extreme


Collaborative brewing has always been around, but it feels like it’s becoming more and more popular. The concept is great - instead of one brewer trying to come up with an idea for a beer, you combine forces, growing the overall creative power behind what that beer could be. While collaboration between breweries isn’t a new concept, it’s becoming more and more popular for brewery to collaborate with outside entities like record labels, celebrities, and even iconic doughnut shops.

One of the most intriguing collaborations I’ve seen recently was that of Rogue and Voodoo Doughnuts. They came together and creative the iconically bright pink Maple Bacon Porter. While I personally didn’t care for the beer – it smelled distinctly like maple syrup and was extremely sweet – the fact that these two entities were able to combine their creativity and come up with something that hadn’t been seen before should be applauded. Additionally, as mentioned, the iconic pink bottle jumps out at you no matter where it’s sitting on the shelf.

So we’ve established that collaborations are great and creative recipes are great, but at what point does creativity go off the deep end?

In one of it’s latest collaborations, Rogue seems to have pushed the envelope a bit too far. Combining forces with another local Portland icon, Rogue and Powell’s Books are brewing up an anniversary beer in honor of Powell’s 41st. This brew, aptly names White Whale Ale, was inspired by the classic novel Moby Dick. Michael Powell was inspired to become a bookseller when he happened upon a first edition of this Herman Melville classic in a box of books he had purchased. It seemed only fitting that this be the basis for the collaboration.

While this sounds fairly normal, the book being the basis for the beer was taken a bit too literally, with pages from an actually copy of Moby Dick being added to the brew kettle. While this definitely pushes beer where it’s never gone before, one has to take a step back and ask “so, why?”. What good does adding paper and ink to a beer do for the beer itself? As far as I can tell, nothing, but in full disclosure I have not had this beer.

I believe this is an example of trying too hard to be different and innovative. You have to give these two credit for coming up with something that no one has done, but while innovation and creativity are amazing, there’s always a line. This crosses the line from creative to just plain eccentric. How much of this was done for the sake of the beer and how much was done for the sake of getting press? If you think about it, in a collaboration with a book store it kind of, almost, sort of makes sense, but to see it actually happen takes it to that next extreme.

I’d be very curious to know how this beer is as well as any reasoning behind how adding the pages of the book could actually help enhance the beer. Have you had it? Let me know what you thought!

Experimenting With Native Ingredients in Brazil

With breweries like AB InBev controlling nearly 70% of the overall beer market in Brazil, craft brewers have had to get creative with their beer recipes to compete with the same old choices. Experimenting with native ingredients instead of using the more expensive traditional ones has lead to the beginning of a revolution in the Brazilian beer market.

Cervejaria Dado Bier, a brewery from Southern Brazil has begun using erva mate (also known as yerba mate), a traditional tea-like beverage that is consumed primarily in Argentina, Southern Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, to add bitterness to the final beer. Another creative brewery, Cervejaria Colorado, has been adding manioc, a very popular amazonian root used in culinary creations similar to cassava, to their Cauim lager.

As you can imagine, getting these beers approved for distribution in the US has been a difficult process, especially with the usage of native ingredients. Epic Beer from New Zealand has had the same problem with their collaboration beer, Portamarillo, which is made with tamarillos, a sweet New Zealand tomato. Regulations and testing abound for ingredients not indigenous to the US, but Cervejaria Colorado managed to make it through the process and plans expand to a beer shelf near you.

Source: Artisanal Beer in Brazil | Cool Hunting