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 were recently part of 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 The Collective Brewing Project from Fort Worth, TX.
We met the people of The Collective Brewing Project at Extreme Beer Festival in Boston earlier this year. Their table neighbored ours, and as is the case at a lot of beer festivals you end up drinking a lot of your neighbors' offerings, especially when they include some of your favorite styles. Though we were enamored by their creative mixed culture sours (one brewed with hundreds of pounds of ramen noodles was a standout) and delightful beer slushies, their friendliness and hospitality cemented a friendship for years to come.
In the next few months we kept in touch with Dave Riddile, the marketing guru for Collective Brewing, and met up a few times in Chicago and Nashville to talk shop and drink great beer. After we met again at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), we decided it was time to collaborate. Similar to GABF, the Festival of Barrel Aged Beer, also known as FoBAB, acts as a stage for breweries from all over the country to showcase their brews. The gathering gave us time to create with a few makers who would not normally be in Chicago, our friends from Texas included. Though the two breweries are different in focus, The Collective Brewing project largely brewing mixed culture beer and Forbidden Root brewing clean beer, we embraced the challenge to brew something both head brewers would be excited about.
It is no secret that Nickodemus Williams, Head Brewer at Forbidden Root, is a big fan of farmhouse-style beer. In bouncing ideas around for our collaboration, we learned that Head Brewer Ryan Deyo of Collective Brewing had been researching Norwegian farmhouse brewing tradition and is passionate about the style; his father is Norwegian and every year his family brews a glog spiced dubbel. Cool! Experimentation is one cornerstone of our brewing philosophy at Forbidden Root, so trying out a new-to-us Norweigian farmhouse yeast strain from Omega Yeast (our local yeast lab) called Kveik Voss and making a Sahti-inspired grisette seemed like the perfect way to spend an afternoon.
We had a blast on brew day, swapping stories and brainstorming funky ways to enhance the style. It shows in this little beer. Influences from both brewers led to an earthy, herbaceous Norweigian farmhouse with spruce tips and juniper, a lovely drink-all-day winter saison at just around 4% ABV. But what to name this delicate flower, this petite grisette?
Love and respect for saison aren't the only things Nick and Ryan have in common...they also have a similar sense of humor. The name for our new beer? Thunderlord Jumbotron: a mighty name for a tiny beer. We hope you enjoy it as much as we loved making it.