Brewery collaborations have been going on for decades—and if the recent team-up of Aslin Brewing and Two Roads on the stellar Under the Wire American IPA is any indication, this is a decidedly good thing, liable to continue as long as the craft beer scene exists. That landscape has also led to a legion of unexpected collaborations that sometimes seem kind of interesting, like Dogfish Head’s musician-inspired brews. Other times, the collaborations can feel like a sloppy PR grab, like when LL Bean partnered with five Maine breweries to make beers in honor of a collection of Fall Batch Bean Boots, that iconic piece of rugged footwear. Chefs have naturally played in this space, but so have hotels, ski resorts, celebrities, and musicians. Here’s a handful of some of the most interesting, both from the recent past and ever-evolving present.
Jose Andres built an empire of restaurants in Washington, DC before expanding across the country. Now, he’s something of a philanthropist, fostering free kitchen/restaurants to feed the population of post-Hurricane Puerto Rico and most recently establishing a free kitchen to feed federal employees impacted by the partial shutdown of 2018-19. Those efforts require lots of collaboration. He speaks the language of teamwork and his Zarabanda Saison offers an apt example. Tapping into his Spanish roots, the chef work with Bend, OR-based Deschutes to create the limited-edition saison, which includes a few distinctly Spanish flavors, like lemon verbena, pink peppercorn, sumac, and dried limes. Andres is truly one of American’s modern heroes, and now you’ve got the perfect beer to raise in his honor—provided the brewery revisits the recipe; the last release in spring of 2016.
Park City, UT-based luxury hotel/resort the Montage manages to pull off a pretty tremendous feat: creating a high-end hotel without a hint of pretext, a place where celebs mingle with mere mortals and no one gives you the side eye for wearing muddy mountain bike clothes or duct-taped ski pants. They teamed up with local brewers Squatters on their exclusive Montage Mountain Ale, on offer at the property’s various restaurants and bars, a drinkable and crisp golden ale with an active sport-friendly 4% ABV.
Not to be outdone, another luxury property in the toney environs of Park City’s Deer Valles Ski Resort has their own custom beer on offer. Waldorf Astoria partnered with Park City Brewing to create Pow Day, a crisp pale ale with hints of rye. Its name evokes the dreamland of deep-powder days on the slopes, but it was first released in May. It naturally compliments the on-site restaurant’s summer dishes, but still makes for a solid après option, provided you can bypass the hotel’s signature Bloody Mary.
The Foo Fighters have already conquered the world. And somewhere along those travels, they struck up an unlikely partnership with Australia-based Young Henry’s, a brewery located in the Newtown neighborhood of Sydney (Newtown…Foo Town…get it?). Made in honor of the band’s ninth studio album, the hazy lager dropped in limited-edition cans at pop-up bars that accompanied the band’s shows throughout Sydney and Melbourne, and still might be able to be found, provided you’re in the land of Oz.
Deer Valley Ski Resort might have a handful of hotel-inspired brews, but Solitude Mountain—a chill and kinda rough-and-tumble resort located near Salt Lake City and a world away from any pretense—went all in, working with Bohemian Brewery for a resort-specific beer. The BrewSki Mountain Lager is a German-style Pilsner made in consort with the resort’s food and bev team to be easy to drink and decidedly different from your typically heavy, spicy winter brews—a beer, in other words, that makes for the perfect way to cap an epic day exploring Solitude’s often-untracked 1,200-acre terrain.
Colorado carries a pretty heavy rep in the craft beer space, so rather than making one beer, the new Denver-metro-area Gaylord Rockies Hotel, worked with Dry Dock Brewing, the first brewery in Aurora where the hotel is located, to make two custom beers. The Grand Lodge Golden Ale is a clean, medium-bodied ale with a 5% ABV tailored ease the to the change in elevation that visitors might feel in the Mile High City, while the Pinyons Pale ups the ABV just a wee bit (0.3%), making it sessionable, with notes of citric zest and light caramel.
When does a two-team collab feel like a team dialing it in? When serendipity strikes and you have a three-way collaboration. Witness the Taster’s Choice, a boisterous dobbelbock lager brewed with coffee that is a work from both DC-based DC Brau (the city’s first craft brewer) and Colorado’s Ska Brewing. Seems when the two brewers met in Washington, DC’s Savor event, DC Brau found out that the former drummer of one of their favorite bands—DC’s ska-spectacular The Pietasters—worked at Ska Brewing. What happened next (the Taster’s Choice) just feels like the natural extension of people doing what they love, coming together to do it some more.