At Aslan we have only done a few collaborations in our tenure. Mainly because we have been so wrapped up in what we are doing. Almost equally, however, we have chosen to be very selective in collaborating. The camaraderie within the brewing industry is one of the focal points and without a doubt a cornerstone of craft beer. Brewing with another brewery can, and should be, a very personal thing. I can count the number of collaborations we have done in three years on one hand. In the last month, though, we have worked with two breweries and a close neighbor, all within the span of 10 days. It was quite a whirlwind.
The first collab brew of this three part series happened on Monday the 19th of June, with Adam Robbings from Reuben's Brews (reubensbrews.com). Adam is the co-founder and Head Brewer at Reuben's and is seriously one of the nicest people you will meet (a sentiment echoed throughout the industry). I’ll admit that my personal relationship with Adam was fairly limited, prior to our brewday. My brother, Boe, and him were the ones who struck up the conversation that led to our collab. This particular beer was made specifically for Washington Beer Collaboration Festival. This festival is held in Seattle on August 19th and features pairs of Washington based breweries who brew a beer together. The beer that we made is an IPA that I’m really excited about. I won’t go too far into detail on the recipe, but I can say that it is one of the best IPA’s that we have made, to date. We have respected Reuben's Brews for a long time, so it was a fun opportunity to work with them on a style both breweries enjoy.
Later that same week, on Thursday the 22nd, we hosted Nick Crandall of Redhook Brewery. Nick is the Head/Innovation Brewer for Redhook and has been an industry friend for quite some time. I’ve leaned on him for advice with production brewing as we have increased our production over the years. As I’m sure you can imagine, he has quite a bit of experience in that realm. It doesn’t stop there though, as he is also responsible for coming up with the new recipes that Redhook puts out as seasonals or one-off brews. Redhook is currently opening a 10-barrel brew pub in Capitol Hill, the Redhook Brewlab (redhook.com/breweries-pubs/capitol-hill), that Nick will be running. He has a pretty awesome job if you ask me! But we all do, if you really want to know. Anyway, Nick collabed with a select few breweries in the region to celebrate the opening of this new brewpub. We happened to be one of the few he reached out to, so of course we said yes. Anytime you can brew with an industry friend, you take that opportunity. After a fair bit of deliberation, we landed on brewing a wheat based IPA. While we do use wheat in a fair number of the IPA’s we brew, we had never made one with this much. For this beer we mashed it at a ratio of 35% wheat, making a truly a wheat-centric brew. This beer turned out great and is one of my favorite hop forward beers we have made. It is called Rhinosaur after a Soundgarden song, and is currently on tap at our brewery.
The final collab beer we did was brewed as a gift and thank you to our neighbors at the Schweinhaus Biergarten. Since Schweinhaus has opened, they have worked hard to create a really awesome place to grab a beer and enjoy some sunshine. When they asked if we would brew their second anniversary beer, we felt honored to say yes. We have been working closely with them, giving guided workshops on beer and brewing knowledge. So it was fun to have them in on the brew day and go through the recipe and have them assist in brewing the beer. Of course, we had to make one more IPA. So you can expect to see our draft board loaded with awesome IPA’s over the next two weeks. This recipe was a spin off of a beer we did last year called Illmatic. While Illmatic was primarily wheat, this rendition is oat based, but hopped in the same fashion. We are excited to see how this one turns out, as it’s off to a great start. It will be tapped on Saturday the 22nd at Schweinhaus and Aslan, just in time for their birthday celebration.
Now that the crazy whirlwind of collaborating is behind us, we can sit back and enjoy these awesome beers we just made. We can reflect on the great relationships we have developed with some top notch people. We can’t imagine brewing so many collabs in such a short time again, yet we also cant imagine what this industry would be like if we couldn’t have fun with our “competitors”. As it turns out, we really just consider them our friends. We all have a lot to learn from each other, and that is what collaborating is all about!