Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ska Brewing Co. to release ... my beer

Ska Brewing Co. President Dave Thibodeau has invited Beer at 6512's own Soggy Coaster and Beer N Bikes' blogger Jeff Hammett to each brew a beer in collaboration with Ska.

We will work with Ska Head Brewer Thomas Larsen to choose a beer style and devise a recipe. When the beers are done, they will be put on tap at Ska Brewing's headquarters in Durango.

Meanwhile, we will blog, write, photograph, drink and be merry. You get to follow the project from start to finish and drink the resulting beers.

First, this is an extraordinarily innovative project. To my knowledge, Jeff and I will be the first beer bloggers in the nation to brew a beer with a commercial craft brewer. It's a logical extension of the collaborations many breweries, including Ska, have done with homebrewers.

This raises some obvious questions. Let's start with the fun one: What to brew?

I want to choose a style that is not brewed by any of Durango's breweries. That instantly cuts the options down dramatically. Among the four of them, Durango's breweries cover an impressive variety of styles.

I considered a Belgian abbey-style ale, but Ska is soon coming out with a Belgian-style pale ale of its own. So I'm leaning toward an imperial red ale. No brewery in Durango brews an imperial red now, and I don't recall any of them doing so in the past.

Essentially, it would be a double-Pinstripe. My inspiration for this is Ninkasi Believer, an Oregon beer that comes in at 6.9 percent ABV and 60 IBUs. Using as a base Pinstripe, Ska's best-selling beer, might give us a head start.

I don't know what style of beer Jeff has in mind.

I look forward to learning more about brewing. I think I've learned quite a bit about beer, but for a beer blogger, my knowledge of the actual brewing process is pathetically limited.

I can't speak for Jeff, but for me, "working with" Larsen will mostly involve watching him brew and learning. Unless I'm distracted by whatever hairstyle he's into lately. Last I saw, he was sporting a pink mohawk.

To be clear, Ska is paying for the beer ingredients, use of their equipment and Larsen's time. I'm not making a dime from this. And although I'm grateful for this opportunity, I don't plan to begin pulling any punches on Ska or ignoring the brewery's competitors, nor would Thibodeau expect me to.

A five-gallon keg of my beer and Jeff's beer will be on tap at Ska at some undetermined date. Many of the details remain to be nailed down, including the timing, and my idea for the style could change.

But, most importantly, this should be fun. I'll let you know when I know more.


  1. WTF! I really think they should have picked a homebrewer though....but maybe I don't give enough free advertising becuase I never go around town and talk up the local brewers to whomever will listen.....OH WAIT, I do that!!!!!
    Ok Soggy and Jeff I am total kidding and my bitter rant is over, this sounds like a cool idea...I hope you guys take lots of pics with your batch making. I really like your idea of trying to come up with something the 4 locals don't/haven't done...difficult task though, as they have tried quite a few different styles. Throw some extra hops in that imperial red of yours like the Green Flash Hop Head Red.
    Also, if both/either of you guys wanted to invite the very small, very beer generous Durango Pour Friends (Durango's newest and only homebrew club) just let me know!

    Jealously yours-


  2. Imperial Red Imperial Red! It's gotta be over 60 IBU's though!

  3. Looking forward to it, Chuckles. Here's to hoping I get to review it in the "Top Shelf" Telegraph column ... although my time there my be limited due to the FLC censors.

  4. Sweet! Congratulations, Chuck. I'll have to plan to be in Durango for the tapping.

  5. How cool is that? Grats on getting a collaboration with Ska! Go nuts with a recipe and have fun with it! Wish I could be there to watch you guys make the beer.