Monday, July 6, 2009

The fruits of collaboration

Ska Brewing Co. and Avery Brewing Co. will release their first mutual collaboration beer on Friday, July 24, in Durango.

The beer, Wheelsucker Wheat Ale, is probably best described as an imperial hefeweizen. It's a bit more heavily hopped than most hefes, and should settle around 7.2 percent ABV, according to Ska President Dave Thibodeau.

Ska will bottle Wheelsucker in 22-oz. bomber bottles for distribution around Durango and the Front Range, Thibodeau says.

Adam Avery, the man behind Avery Brewing, was in Durango last week to actually help brew the beer at Ska HQ.

Avery Brewing, of Boulder, has previously released several collaboration beers, including Collaboration Not Litigation, a Belgian ale brewed with Russian River Brewing of California. Avery also collaborated with Mountain Sun of Boulder to brew Van Diemen, a so-called black saison.

This is the first time I am aware of that Ska has collaborated with a brewery outside of Durango. Of course, Ska frequently collaborates with other Durango breweries as part of the Durango Bootleggers Society.

I'm more than usually excited for this release. Neither Ska nor Avery knows how to brew a bad beer, so the bar is high.

Wheelsucker's release will culminate a major bike ride the brewers are to embark upon. The Tour of Colorado will wind for 426 miles from Avery's HQ in Boulder to Ska in Durango.

Over five days, the tour will stop at microbreweries and brewpubs "in an effort to bring together Colorado craft brewers and encourage the fledgling spirit of collaboration and camaraderie that has taken hold in the craft beer industry," Avery said in a news release.

Each evening after the day’s riding is finished, breweries along the route will host fundraisers with Avery and Ska. Profits from pint sales, raffles and auctions will go to local charities. The ride will commence with a party raising money for Community Cycles, a local bike charity, at the Avery Tap Room in Boulder on Sunday, July 19.

There has been some confusion about Wheelsucker's release date, but Thibodeau says July 24th at Ska HQ. Mark your calendars.

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