Beer Man

Fifteen Collaboration Fest Beers to Seek Out

The fifth annual Collaboration Fest brings out the suds.
The fifth annual Collaboration Fest brings out the suds. Danielle Lirette
Collaboration Fest, which has become the state's signature beer festival, takes place Saturday, and the choices this year are nearly overwhelming. The fifth annual iteration of the event includes 123 collaborative beers from more than 200 different breweries, most of them in Colorado, but some from out of state and even overseas. Many of the the collaborative beers are one-off experiments created just for the fest (which takes place from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Downtown), although many have already been tapped at the hosting breweries, or will be in coming days.

This year looks heavy on kettle sours, non-traditional saisons and, of course, hazy New England-style IPAs, but there is also a healthy dose of Belgian styles, like tripels and quads, for a little extra variety. And there are plenty of beers made with herbs, spices and some very, very unusual ingredients. You may have heard, for instance, about a stout made from butter (New Image Brewing and Molly’s Spirits), a golden ale brewed with climbing chalk (Wynkoop and White Labs), and another made with a bunch of snow (Little Machine and Joyride Brewing).

Or how about the What the Duck Five-Spice Gose from Caution Brewing and Moonlight Pizza & Brewpub?

Whatever your tastes, there's bound to be something for you — and, yes, there are a few tickets left to collaborationfest.com — but here are few solid bets.

Black Shirt Brewing
Black Project Spontaneous & Wild Ales and Speciation Artisan Ales
TBA

The owner of Michigan's Speciation trained under James Howat at Black Project here in Denver, so this collab is going to be cool — and probably sour.

Black Shirt Brewing and Elevation Beer Company
Quadratic Rational

This Belgian quad was aged in Woody Creek Distillers whiskey barrels. Reports are that it smells like toasted marshmallows and drinks like liquid cacao. These two breweries are experts at barrel-aging quads.

Bruz Beers
Bruz Beers and Briar Common Brewery + Eatery
On All Fours Cherry Tart Kettle-Soured Belgian Quad

Bruz does Belgians, and Briar Common is building its cred with kettle sours, so what better way to try a combination from two underappreciated Denver breweries?

New Belgium Brewing and the Rare Barrel
On the Shoulder of Giants

What do you do when two of the best American producers of sour beers get their brains together? You make a beeline for the resulting beer. This is a golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with peaches and jasmine pearl tea.

Cerebral Brewing and Outer Range used all the ingredients.
Cerebral Brewing
Cerebral Brewing and Outer Range
Megafauna Triple IPA

Do you like hazy IPAs? Yes, you do. So you'll want to head directly to this booth, where two of the state's best have cooperated on a big old triple IPA. The juice is loose.

Cellar West Artisan Ales and Alesong Brewing & Blending
Song of the West Oak Aged Saison

Cellar West has quickly gained credibility for its Brett saisons and other beers. Alesong is also a rising star in the world of sours and wilds, so this "super saison," brewed with rye and wheat, should be delicious.

Lakewood Collaboration: WestFax Brewing, Landlocked Ales, Green Mountain Beer, Caution Brewing, Great Frontier and Ironworks Brewery
Kilting Me Salty Scottish Wee Heavy

I just like the name. Sorry.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes