Brewery collaborations present an opportunity for groups of people to come together and make something special. For us, collaborations go beyond the motions of a typical brew day. Of course the resulting liquid is important, but the fun part is telling the story of ideas and connection, and the journey that ultimately led to the beer in your glass.
We recently took part in four collaborations, and all four will be released at our brewpub in December. Each week this month we'll feature a different collab on this blog. On draft this week: our brew with 1840 Brewing Company from Milwaukee, WI.
A brewer walks into a bar. It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it’s a situation we are presented with more often than not. As an established brewpub in America’s brewery city, Forbidden Root plays host to brewers from all over the country when they are in town. Kyle Vetter from 1840 Brewing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a perfect example of this.
Kyle, a long time fan of Randy Mosher, was intrigued by botanically-inspired brews and hazy IPAs. During a beer vacation to the Windy City back in March, he stopped by for lunch and to check the place out. Upon peeking into the brewery and striking up a conversation with our head brewer Nick, the two hit it off and decided to collaborate in the future.
While 1840 makes some clean beer styles, their focus is on mixed culture bottle-conditioned beer, and the majority of their recipes are aged on oak. The unique use of adjuncts in their recipes matches our own creative style, so we knew at the very least the resulting beer would be...interesting.
In a few exchanges between Nick and Kyle, we learned that 1840 set out on a quest to make a green beer (their lineup presents some incredible hues for a normally yellowish beverage). They had intended to try using kiwi, a bright green lightly tart tropical fruit that would present nicely in a wild or mixed-culture beer. Though ultimately they did not use kiwi to make their green beer, Kyle was still eager to use the fruit in a recipe.
Never content settling with ordinary adjunct combinations, we let our inclination towards weirdness take the wheel. The base would be a lightly tart wheat beer with kiwi...but what else? Herbs, roots, spices?
Black tea and sage were the answer. “In the past I’ve made a lot of beer with tea, it generally adds nice tannic and floral qualities. And sage because...why not?” asked Nick. Experimention is our game and there is no time like a collaboration to create something out of the ordinary.
Kyle brought down tea from Rishi, his favorite Milwaukee tea purveyor on brew day. The Himilayan Spring Black Tea from Rishi's Garden Direct series became the floral element we needed to complete the flavor profile of this quirky beer. We call it Vacation Hat; a nod to the beer vacation that was a catalyst for collaboration and the origin of our ingredients: 3 pounds per barrel of Montueka hops from New Zealand and Black Tea grown in Nepal. We hope you enjoy drinking it as much as we enjoyed making it.