In the dog-eat-dog world of alcohol, it would make sense that companies would try to keep out the competition. Yet America's craft brewers are routinely turning toward rivals to collaborate and create limited-run brews that highlight each brewer's strengths.
Collaborations invite camaraderie and companionship to smaller breweries, where the work can be a solitary experience, or in the case of a larger brewery, the opportunity to break free of the corporate routine and just focus on the fun of brewing.
Sun King Brewery of Indianapolis recently teamed up with the established Three Floyds of Munster, Ind., for a pale ale they will present to lawmakers as a way to showcase state-made beer and begin a dialogue about changing archaic state liquor laws. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is working with monks from the Trappist-Cistercian Abbey of New Clairvaux, Calif., to create a trio of authentic abbey-style ales made in the United States.
Upon release, brewery fans will line up early for a taste and still others will hoard as many bottles as possible. Part of the allure is bragging rights, but also the chance to cellar beers to see how they mature over time.
Last week Jim Koch of the Boston Beer Co., which produces Sam Adams, and Sam Calagione, the brewer at Delaware's Dogfish Head Ales, collaborated on a brew that will be served exclusively this summer at Savor, a gourmet beer and food event held annually in Washington, D.C.
The beer, Savor Flowers, is brewed with rose water and uses an especially floral, experimental variety of hops that goes by the number 369. The brewers added a tincture to the beer that was created inside a whiskey barrel first used by Mr. Koch in 1993 to age a triple bock. With only 30 barrels planned, the men compared it to a public art installation: Only a few people will experience it before it becomes a memory.—John HollPrinted in The Wall Street Journal, page D5