This is what collaboration beers are all about—two of the best breweries in the country in their respective fields, acknowledging a commonality and coming together to shine a light on what they both do well. So yeah, we’re pretty excited to drink a wild collaboration saison brewed by Athens, GA’s Creature Comforts and Athens, OH’s Jackie O’s.
This newly announced upcoming beer, titled “Athens to Athens Grist to Grist,” is a 6 percent ABV, wild, multi-grain saison made with local spelt that was sourced from Ohio, and local wheat sourced from Georgia. The saison base was split between two types of wine barrels—half inoculated with Creature’s house mixed culture, and half with Jackie O’s. After a year in the barrels, the saisons were blended together. For beer geeks, these are all good reasons to be excited. As the press release from Creature reads, “Jackie O’s signature lemon meringue flavor pairs perfectly with our stone fruit notes.”
“By inoculating the barrels with each of our mixed-cultures separately, we were able to allow our house cultures to develop the flavors they would on their own and then blend the beer to create a unique voice together,” said Wood Cellar and Specialty Brand Manager Blake Tyers. “I have such a huge respect for Brad and the work he’s done at Jackie O’s. I favored the Jackie O’s character in the blend to present something different than what we typically offer, and to present a distinct saison that is truly representative of the collaboration.”
The beer was initially brewed in Athens, GA, the home of Creature Comforts, back in February of 2017, and is the second time the two breweries have produced a beer together. The first was about as different as you can get—a smoked barleywine aged in bourbon barrels, called Adambier. The saison, meanwhile, features a label designed by Creature Comforts resident artist, Melissa Merill.
“This project was conceived two years ago through an innocent conversation about how we both brewed in towns named Athens,” said Jackie O’s Director of Brewing Operations Brad Clark. “A seemingly simple discourse led to a collaborative concept that pulls from a time, and most importantly a place. We brewed with each other at both breweries over the course of seven days! Time spent together in our respective place of being, led to some dynamic beers that transcended both environment and glass.”
Just the performance of these two breweries in Paste’s blind beer style tasting series alone is reason enough to seek out this particular collaboration. Jackie O’s finished at #3 in our last blind tasting of 116 saisons, while Creature Comforts produced our #1 gose out of 64.
What more is there to say? We’re looking forward to this one. Athens to Athens Grist to Grist will be released in 750 ml bottles at the Creature Comforts taproom in Athens, GA on Jan. 11.