2010 has certainly been a fine year for beer collaborations with some excellent examples springing to mind. Take, for instance, the coming together of Brewdog and Mikkeller which saw the Fraserburgh upstarts blending their Hardcore IPA and Danish craft brewers' I Beat You together to create a quadruple dry hopped, piney toffeepop of a beer, I Hardcore You.
There was also the menage a trois collaboration between U.S. craft brew masters Dogfish Head, Stone Brewing and Victory Brewing Co's to produce a citrus and herbtastic Saison du BUFF. The BUFF stands for Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor and this Saison certainly puts into practice what the BUFF boys preach. I had a bottle of SdB one night with some roasted chicken and thyme fresh from the oven and the pairing was absolutely fantastic. This is a lovely brew full of herby, hoppy flavour and one of my favourite beers this summer.
And in late August, London's 15 Breweries got together to work on a beer that celebrated the resurgent London Brewing community. Brewers from long established companies like Fuller's as well as relative new kids on the block such as Kernel and Meantime joined forces at Tottenham's Redemption Brewery to create a London Porter that not only showcases the brewers innovation and talent but also symbolises their passion and belief that they have in maintaining that London can and does create world class beer.
So happy days indeed, if you are like me someone who likes to see some of their favourites brewers and breweries put their heads together and come up with different, interesting but above all tasty beers. Speaking of different, tasty and interesting beers there is one collaboration that I thought would only happen if I wrote a letter to the man with the big white beard who stays in the North Pole and only shows his face once a year. However, it appears that beer dreams sometimes do indeed come true
Two breweries that I hold in very high regard are Fyne Ales and Thornbridge. Fyne Ales is an Argyll brewery based at the top of Loch Fyne. It consistently produces superb ales such as Avalanche, Piper's Gold and Highlander. This year's summer offering from them, Jarl was one of the nicest beers at the GBBF. As for Thornbridge, well anyone who has tasted some of their offerings such as Jaipur, Kipling or Halcyon will know that they produce beers of the highest quality and taste.
Well, guess what? Fyne Ales and Kelly Ryan formerly of Thornbridge are working on a collaborative effort which according to Kelly is a "big Indian Black Ale full of Centennial, Amarillo, Perle and Citra hops". Given both their pedigrees, this will be one beer that you will want to taste, savour and enjoy. I know I will.