Beer Man

The Craziest Beers Planned for Collaboration Fest

Alyssa Hoberer and Sean Guerrero have oodles of noodles.
Alyssa Hoberer and Sean Guerrero have oodles of noodles. Courtesy of Living a Stout Life
You might be surprised to hear that the ramen beer going on tap at Collaboration Fest in April isn’t even the first beer in Colorado to be brewed with the popular dried noodles. Then again, you might not be.

The first one was brewed at Chain Reaction Brewing in 2019 for this same festival — the last time Collab Fest took place before the pandemic hit — along with several other small breweries and Danny and Emily Wang, owners of the Fermly beer quality testing lab. The latest ramen beer, however, is being put together by two different breweries (details below).

But ramen isn't the only unusual ingredient you'll find at the festival, taking place Saturday, April 2, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Fillmore Auditorium. There are plenty of other crazy ingredients, processes and serving styles to be discovered when 135 different breweries team up to bring attendees a total of 95 one-of-a-kind elixirs (see the full list here) made specifically for the event. Here are some of the craziest:
click to enlarge Comrade and Cheluna will bring the spice. - CHELUNA BREWING
Comrade and Cheluna will bring the spice.
Cheluna Brewing
Szechuan Chile Tamarind IPA
Comrade Brewing and Cheluna Brewing

Make sure you have your tastebuds screwed on correctly when you try this beer, because it will probably take you for a ride. These two breweries are both minority-owned (Comrade is Taiwanese-American and Cheluna is Mexican-American) and "wanted to brew something incorporating elements of both cultures," according to their description of the beer. So they decided on an American IPA with Szechuan chiles and peppercorns and tamarind pulp "for a combination of sweet/spicy/hoppy to hit all the bases."

Hopfenweizen
Upslope Brewing and MainStage Brewing

This collaboration marks the return of former Upslope head brewer Sam Scruby (who left last year to start MainStage Brewing in Lyons) to the Boulder mainstay where he helped put together what the breweries are calling "a unique take on a hefeweizen. Made with a hefty addition of rolled oats and red wheat, as well as a generous helping of the experimental hop varieties, Contessa and Talus," Hopfenweizen blends the classic banana and clove character of a traditional hefeweizen with the bold citrus and hop aroma of a hazy IPA.

Méthode Traditionnelle Spontaneous Beer on Raspberries (served still)
Wild Provisions Beer Project and Primitive Beer Company

When beer drinkers think about uncarbonated beers, most probably imagine English ales, poured from a cask: "Warm and flat is where it's at," as the old Wynkoop saying went. But there is also a Belgian style of sour and wild ales that come uncarbonated, or "still." It's one of the things that Brandon Boldt specializes in at Primitive Beer Company, which he opened in 2019 with his wife, Lisa. For this collab, the Boldts are teaming up with Boulder's Wild Provisions Beer Project, where Boldt was also the head brewer until late last year. The breweries have blended young spontaneously fermented beer from Wild Provisions with mature beer from Primitive that was aged with organic raspberries. "The resulting blend will be served tranquil (without carbonation) through a beer engine," the breweries say.

click to enlarge PECULIAR ALES
Peculiar Ales
Sour Hazy Double IPA
Peculier Ales and Tres Litros Beer Company

The crew from Salida's Tres Litros Beer Company journeyed to Windsor to hang out at Peculier Ales and to brew a very peculiar beer. It starts as a New England-style IPA made with Centennial, Cascade and Mandarina Bavaria hops. But then the two breweries added pomelos, guava, vanilla and other ingredients to add a sweet-and-sour component, giving the sour hazy IPA a unique flavor profile.

Carrot Cake Blonde Stout
6 and 40 Brewery and Coal Mine Avenue Brewing

It never hurts to get your daily dose of veggies from a beer. Coal Mine Avenue and 6 and 40 will give you that opportunity with their Carrot Cake Blonde Stout (an oxymoronic name if there ever was one). As a nod to their home-brewing roots, the two breweries are using all of the ingredients found in a classic carrot cake: carrot, cinnamon, raisins, vanilla and walnuts. We're feeling healthier already.

Mockery Brewing and Baere Brewing
Hot Pepper Amber Ale

Mockery and Baere have teamed up on something interesting every year for Collaboration Fest — their last concoction having been a beer they boiled while floating in a raft down the South Platte through Denver. This time, the breweries turned up the heat by throwing "a dangerous amount of extremely hot peppers" into "an amber ale that would otherwise have been malty, sweet and fruity," they say. Mockery and Baere also added "loads of smoked pineapple," along with agave, ginger — and more carrots!

Blended Red Koji Rice Sour Ale
Jade Mountain Brewing and Black Project Spontaneous and Wild Ales

These breweries are two of the most experimental beer makers in Colorado, and they worked together on this project together to take things to another level. The beer will be a blend of one of Black Project's barrel-aged spontaneously fermented sour ales and one of Jade Mountain's 100 percent red koji rice ales.
click to enlarge WeldWerks and Odell will make you scream for ice cream. - WELDWERKS BREWING
WeldWerks and Odell will make you scream for ice cream.
WeldWerks Brewing
Ice Cream Stout
Odell Brewing and WeldWerks

Colorado's breweries are no strangers to ice cream. They've used it to make all sorts of beers, and they've supplied it to ice cream makers to make all sorts of ice creams. But this version combines the skills of two of the state's best breweries, Odell and WeldWerks, with Little Man Ice Cream, which is loved far and wide for its sweet treats. The St. Patrick's Day-themed beer, which was made at both breweries, incorporates Little Man's Marsh Madness (a toasted marshmallow ice cream made with marshmallows from a certain "lucky" cereal) with even more of said marshmallows added into the mash.

Fruited American Wheat
Great Divide Brewing, Lone Tree Brewing, Crystal Springs Brewing

These three Colorado breweries swept the American Fruit Beer category at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival, taking home gold (Crystal Springs), silver (Great Divide) and bronze (Lone Tree). So for Collab Fest, they came together to create an American wheat beer that includes a blend of the three fruits (blood orange, raspberry and peach) that helped them clinch their medals.

Ramen Beer
Jade Mountain Brewing and Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery

It's no surprise that Jade Mountain and Jagged Mountain are involved in this beer, as a) they both love to push the boundaries of both fun and ingredients; and b) they are two of the most collaborative breweries in the state. In fact, this will be the second collaboration between the two using ingredients and brewing methods modeled after Japanese brewing. The first was a few months ago, and it involved rice and mochi. But don't worry: There won't be any noodles in your tasting cup...that we know of.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes