Two breweries -- one locally owned and the other managed by a big corporation -- will test the definition of "craft beer" next week when they collaborate on a new brew.
Tom Hail, who has worked at Blue Moon Brewing Company @ the Sandlot since it opened in 1995, and Bill Eye, who left Dry Dock in 2011 to take the reins at Prost Brewing, will spend a day creating a maibock, a stronger version of a typical Bavarian-style lager that is traditionally served in May, between the hot and cold seasons.
See also: - Third Shift, a new MillerCoors beer, got its medal-winning start at Denver's Sandlot - Is Colorado the center of the "crafty" beer universe? - Dry Dock's award-winning brewer, Bill Eye, will make all German beers at Prost
"We're looking at a delicious pale beer that you can drink out on the patio," says Hail, adding that he and Eye have been friends for a long time and both specialize in making easy-drinking German-style lagers. "I pretty much taught Bill everything he knows."
Although the recipe hasn't been finalized yet, Eye says they will brew the beer on Prost's traditional 1960s-era, seventy-barrel copper system -- the one he bought from a brewery in Germany's Bamberg region, disassembled, shipped and then reassembled in Denver.
"This collaboration is big news for us," says Eye. It's also the first time that either brewery has worked with another company on a beer -- and an interesting partnership, since the Sandlot is wholely owned and operated by MillerCoors.
Last December, the Boulder-based Brewers Association, which represents craft breweries nationwide, criticized large corporations like MillerCoors and AB InBev for not including their names on the labels of the "crafty" beers that they make. The statement outlined the organization's definition of what makes a craft brewer and inspired a conversation in the beer world that has become known as the "craft vs. crafty" debate.
But none of those definitions matter to either Hail or Eye.
"They are the most-awarded Colorado brewery, period," Eye says of the Sandlot, which has won forty medals at the Great American Beer Festival. "They make amazing beer, and they really know what they're doing over there. That is what I am interested in, much more so than what the Brewers Association defines as craft beer."
The collaboration maibock is scheduled to be brewed next Tuesday and will go on tap on May 1 at Prost; it will also be distributed to other locations around Denver, though neither Eye nor Hail knows yet if it will be served at the Sandlot in Coors Field.
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