Updated: Nov 9, 2021
Beer collaborations, they have helped to improve the quality of #craftbeer and to build its community for years. This exchange of knowledge is a unique part of this scene and has also helped a lot of small breweries to put their name on the map. But in this blog we don't want to talk about two or three brewers meeting up to develop a new brew. We want to talk about a pretty new phenomenon. In 2020, as it is harder than ever to meet with fellow brewers because of #covid restrictions, nationwide or even worldwide collaborations have appeared. What they are is actually pretty easy to explain: a brewery develops a #recipe for a beer and publishes it for any other brewer, professional or homebrewer, to recreate. Also they provide templates for the labels, so the cans or bottles of each project symbolize the unity of the breweries which participate in this project. But that's not all. After all that happened this year, and we're not only talking about Covid, a lot of breweries felt the urge to speak up. So they did it in the best way to reach a lot of people, which of course is through beer. And in some cases as much as 100% of the proceeds of the beer are donated for a good cause. We collected four of the most recent of those projects and want to introduce them to you.
All Together - Other Half Brewing
The first of those collaborations we noticed this year was the #AllTogether" IPA's started by Other Half Brewing located in Brooklyn, NY. As the pandemic spread around the world, one of the most affected industries were hospitality companies. Around the world restaurants, bars and even breweries were closed due to restrictions by governments. That left servers, brewers, bartenders, dishwashers and a lot more people without income and some of them even lost their jobs.
Other Half's idea was pretty simple: develop recipes for two IPA's (a West Coast IPA and a NEIPA), using ingredients so basic everyone could get their hands on them, and post it online. A portion of the proceeds of the resulting beers should be used to supporting hospitality workers in the brewer's own community. OH themselves support Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation. The rest of the proceeds should of course help the breweries themselves to stay in business. This project is open-ended and a lot of large and small breweries have already brewed their versions, on the pictures above you can see the collab version of three famous German craft breweries BrewHeart, Sudden Death and Frau Gruber next to Verdant Brewing's (UK) take on this recipe. If you are interested in brewing an "All Together" beer, you can find everything you need, including recipe, brewing instructions and label here.
I Remember My First Check-In - Untappd X Dogfish Head
Photo: Courtesy of Untappd
One of the most recent worldwide collabs is this project by the world famous beer app Untappd. Together with the well-known craft beer pioneers from Dogfish Head, they created the #IRememberMyFirstCheckIn brew to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Untappd app.
The goal of this project is to create a sour beer as a worldwide collaboration. Why a sour you may ask? Well #Untappd did a little research and found that #sours had the highest increase in check-ins year over year (163%), a consistent average rating of 3.9 or above, and an average sentiment score of 72% positive among users who had left a review for beer of that style. The most important part of this project is that to use this recipes, you have to use ingredients from #local farmers and purveyors within 100 miles of your brewery. In this way those beers will support not only those local producers, but also the whole craft beer ecosystem. From artisan brewers, local farmers and growers to local bartenders. Find everything you need to brew your #myfirstcheckin beer here.
Black Is Beautiful - Weathered Souls Brewing Company
This is a project by Weathered Souls Brewing Company from San Antonio, Texas. It is a collaborative effort amongst the brewing community and its customers, in an attempt to bring #awareness to the injustices that many people of color face daily.
After all the events that involved people of color getting mistreated, arrested and even murdered only because of the #color of their skin, it was time for the craft beer scene to speak up and to take a stand. This project's goal was to bridge a gap that has been there for ages and to create a platform to show that the brewing community is an inclusive place for everyone of any color. Brewers participating in this project are asked to (quoted from WS):
'Donate 100% of the beer's proceeds to local foundations that support police #brutality reform and legal defenses for those who have been wronged (Weathered Souls themselves are giving their proceeds to Know Your Rights Camp )
Commit to the long-term work of equality'
Talking about the beer, WS thought that it would be appropriate to brew a stout, as it is in the name of the initiative, #BlackIsBeautiful. The recipe provided is just the base stout but as a brewer you're asked to use your creativity where sky's the limit. On the picture above you can see Cloudwater's version brewed with African cinchona bark, orange peel, cloves, cinnamon sticks, dandelion root, kaffir lime leaves, cardamom pods, tonka beans, birch leaves, star anise and caraway seeds. Find everything you need to now about this project and the beer here.
Photo: Courtesy of Weathered Souls Brewing Company
Breathing Conversations - Finback Brewery
This project from Finback Brewery (Queens, NY) is going in the same direction as the Black is Beautiful initiative. But Finback is focusing on having conversations about racial injustice in the craft beer scene and also in general. On the picture above you can see the original version of Breathing Conversations by Finback.
Finback calls the killing of #GeorgeFloyd 'a pivotal moment in our shared #history, that we now have an opportunity to determine a better future outcome'. They want to create a platform where people communicate, learn from each other and find a common ground. They expect people to raise their voices in the hopes of bringing about real and meaningful social change everywhere and want to invite everyone to join the dialogue and share their experiences with the Hashtag #BreathingConversations.
As a brewery participating in this initiative, the starting point is simple: to have a conversation about race and record the sentiments on a beer label. They also ask all participating breweries to donate all or a portion of proceeds to foundations that further the mission of racial justice and equality for people of color. Finback themselves have made contributions to The Southern Poverty Law Center and Black Lives Matter and will continue to support like-missioned causes. But they also want 'to participate in more direct and lasting ways'. The beer recipe Finback developed for this initiative is a classic, super hoppy double IPA, just as you would expect from them. If you want to join this project, you can find all the information here.
Photo: Courtesy of Finback Brewery
We think all of those projects above are really important and we hope that a lot of breweries and beer drinkers will support the ones they can. Not simply by buying or brewing those beers, but also by speaking up and actively supporting those causes. Because the good thing about those projects is, literally everyone can get on board.
Do you know other worldwide collaborations that are supporting a good cause?
Have you tried some of those beers and which ones were your favorites?
Tell us in the comments below.
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