There were at least 85 different beers served Saturday at Collaboration Fest — so sadly, there was no way I could get to them all. But I did try quite a few, and they were almost all good. Really good. In fact, one of the common themes I kept hearing from other people at the fest was how solid all of the beers were. Which is amazing, considering that most were experiments and had never been brewed before. The variety was amazing as well, and ran the gamut from light lagers and delicate saisons to kettle-sours, traditional sours and barrel-aged Belgians.
Tickets to this third annual event — co-hosted by the Colorado Brewers Guild and the Two Parts events company — sold out weeks ago, and a few of my favorites this year might be difficult, or impossible, to find anywhere else: the Barrel-Aged Mocha Imperial Stout from Weldwerks and Snowbank, for instance, or the barrel-aged Belgian Dubbel, which the Bakers' Brewery made with six other Summit County brewers. But those who couldn't get to Mile High Stadium this weekend can still get their hands on quite a few of the others that were served at Collaboration Fest. Here are some of the ones I liked, and where you can find them in metro Denver.
No Man's IPA
Cannonball Creek Brewing
This 6.2 percent ABV IPA was my favorite hoppy offering at this year's fest, which is unusual because it is a wheat beer. Brewed in collaboration with another hoppy beer specialist — Pizza Port, from Carlsbad, California — the beer features tropical American and New Zealand hop varieties.
Berry Dark Tart
Station 26 Brewing
This rich, sweet-yet-tart dark kettle sour, a collaboration with Indeed Brewing in Minneapolis, was made with winterberry tea, and was one of my favorite beers of the festival. Station 26 also brewed a standout IPA, called IPA Is Dead!, with Comrade and Cannonball Creek. These were tapped Friday at the brewery and will hopefully still be available when the brewery opens at 1 p.m. today. (IPA Is Dead should also be available at Cannonball Creek and at Comrade.)
Cerebral worked with Our Mutual Friend Brewing to create Dreamy Thing, a Farmhouse Pale Ale brewed with Citra, Centennial and Sterling hops and then fermented with a house blend of a dozen Brettanomyces strains in stainless steel for more than three months. The result was crisp and light, but full of the classic barnyard flavor that comes from Brett, as well as a delicious hops burst. It goes on tap Tuesday at Cerebral.
To Helles and Back
Great Divide Brewing
Two versions of this lager were made, one at Great Divide Brewing and one at TRVE — the first time the brewery had produced a lager. Although very similar, the two versions of this full-flavored Helles were also slightly different — and since the line was one of the longest at Collaboration Fest, people must have liked both. Great Divide should still have it on tap, though it may be gone from TRVE.
Fourth Estate Chocolate Stout
Lost Highway Brewing
The brainchild of Brewtally Insane bloggers Mark and Patti Robinson, this beer was cooked up by Lost Highway — with help from more than half a dozen beer writers, who were all on hand. A nail or two was certainly chipped that day. Loaded with chocolate, this beer tasted like rich hot chocolate — but cold. It should still be available at the brewery. Here's hoping for a second media collab next year.
Prost to Post Baltic Porter
This 8.5 percent ABV lager was a roasty knockout. The breweries used a blend of their favorite malts — Maris Otter, Special W, Perla Negra — along with roasted barley, flaked maize, pea flour, and Magnum and Willamette hops. It's also available at the Post Brewing in Lafayette, where it was brewed.
Keep reading for more beers.
Factotum hooked up with Towyard Brewing in Indianapolis during the NFL playoffs this year to make a beer dedicated to Peyton Manning, who, of course, played in both cities. Light and easy-drinking, it was brewed with oats, Indiana corn and Colorado sage — but just a touch of the sage, which was nice.
Epic and Ska Brewing got together to make a beer that focused on their combined strengths: Ska's hoppy IPAs and Epic's barrel-aged fruit beers. The result, a peach IPA that was aged in barrels from Peach Tree Distillery on the Western Slope, was served as the Collab Fest welcome beer this year, and offered a well-balanced mixture of peach, hops and oak.
The Beardless Brewer Hoppy Red Ale
Grist Brewing/Living the Dream Brewing
Two solid south Denver breweries got together to produce his big, hoppy red ale, which also had a big, malty backbone to balance it out. The beer should be on tap at both breweries. At Grist, you can also find the collab with Koala San Brew, a fascinating "albino stout" that looks like a Kolsch but tastes like stout.
Neptune's Fickle Grace
Fiction Beer Company
Fiction Beer Company specializes in hazy, New England-style IPAs, while Tivoli is known for its clear lagers — but the head brewers for each got together at Fiction to mess around with all of that. The result was a citrusy, sessionable, 100 percent Brettanomyces-fermented IPA made with 20 percent oats and El Dorado, Mosaic, and Nelson Sauvin hops. It's on tap now.
In addition, Collab Fest organizers sent out this note about beer availability post-fest:
Boulder Beer Co. and Fat Heads: Available at Boulder Beer starting 3/21. Available 4/1 in Ohio at all Winking Lizard Restaurant locations as well as additional tap takeovers in Ohio.
Factotum Brewhouse and Tow Yard Brewing: Available in cans at the end of March/beginning of April and in the Factotum taproom.
Fiction Beer Company and Tivoli Brewing Company: Available in both taprooms.
Great Divide Brewing Co. and TRVE Brewing: Available in both taprooms.
Hall Brewing and Kokopelli Beer Company: Available at both taprooms starting on 3/21.
Holidaily Brewing Company and Yak and Yeti Brewpub: Available in both tasting rooms.
Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery and Brewery Rickoli: Available at Brewery Rickoli tasting room starting on 3/19.
Joyride Brewing Co. and Heretic Brewing Company: Available at Joyride taproom.
Kannah Creek Brewing Company, Roaring Fork Beer Company and Colorado Boy Brewing: Available in all taprooms.
Launch Pad Brewery and 38 State Brewing Company: Available at 38 State starting 3/20 at noon. Available at Launch Pad on 3/26 from noon until 8pm.
The Bakers’ Brewery, Broken Compass, Dillon DAM Brewery, Backcountry Brewery, Pug Ryan's Brewery and Breckenridge Brewery OG: Available in taprooms.
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