The challenge of collaboration beers

DBW_16_BottleLabels_R1We began conversations about the Des Moines Beer Week collaboration beer weeks ago.

Potential beer styles and brew dates moved via email among the 14  Des Moines area brewers participating in the special release beer, which will be one of many highlights of the third annual Des Moines Beer Week (June 17-26). Would it be a saison? A Kolsch? A dry-hopped Kolsch? Would it be this day or that? In the end, the brew day was slated for April 27, and the beer would be an Australian Pale Ale (though some rogue Kiwi hops made it in to the mix regardless of the unchangeably-named beer, since the packaging already went to press).

While decisions are difficult and good hop usage ideas came late, the real challenge of it all was making so many schedules align.


The collaboration was hosted this year by Exile Brewing Company, and head brewer Joey Hansen (above) was the day’s hero. He rose early and started a double-brew day at 5:30 am, and the rest of us trickled in when our schedule allowed. With the Craft Brewers Conference less than a week away, most of those involved–myself included–couldn’t be there for the entire day. I know that Joey expected no one to arrive at 5:30 a.m., but the entire day was quite¬†disjointed, and I felt bad about our lack of cohesion.


Though there were several shifts of brewers mingling here and there throughout the day–some bonded over coffee and bagels, some bonded over lunch, some bonded over beers–there were many Des Moines brewers in and out of the brewhouse to celebrate the ripening Des Moines beer scene and work together to create a special libation to mark it come Beer Week in June. It was a fun day, but boy, would it have wonderful if the calendar had been a little nicer to us all.


This year, the beer, High Tide Australian Pale Ale, will be available in six packs and on draught throughout the Des Moines Metro. Keep your eyes peeled for it, join us at the kick off tapping at Exile on June 17, and scroll the schedule to map our your plan for the events you’d like to hit throughout the week.

(Stay tuned here, as brewvana will be announcing a special event that will be fall firmly in the “can’t miss” category. I’m not kidding. Can’t miss. More to come soon…)

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