9 Great Collaborative Beers
The growing contingent of small U.S. brewers known as the craft beer community holds a distinct advantage. While ultimately a bunch of individual businesses that have to look out for their own interests, they tend to share similar stories of origin, growing pains, distribution obstacles, legal and legislative pitfalls and struggles for shelf space. There are a whole lot of shared interests and goals between them, but that results in the occasional shared recipe as well.
It's tough to pinpoint the first craft beer collaboration. Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver reached out to Brakspear Brewing back in the early '90s to create Brooklyn Bridge Bitter. The collaboration that gets the most credit is the 2004 team-up between Boulder, Colo.-based Avery Brewing and Santa Rosa, Calif.'s Russian River Brewing, each making Belgian-style beers called Salvation before blending the two into their Collaboration Not Litigation ale.
From there, it becomes one jumbled, interconnected mess of shared products and experimental brews. Some brewers including New Belgium, Dogfish Head, Elysian and Boulevard Brewing have made collaborations a regular occurrence, pairing up with fellow breweries annually or even more frequently to produce special edition, one-off releases that give fans a taste of what brewers are capable of when they combine forces.
The list of collaboratives already released in 2013 or in production is longer than we have room to address. Instead, we've put together a nine-pack of beer collaborations for you to try at your leisure. This is by no means a definitive list, nor a best-of list. It's just a little something to experiment with until you find dream-team collaborations of your own: