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Ever tried a gose made with Peking duck? How about an IPA crafted from hydroponic Colorado hops and real snow? Or a steinbier inspired by a 20th century brewing technique that employs giant stone slabs heated to 600 degrees? If you answered no to all of the above, it’s okay—you’ll get your chance to try these unique brews and many more at the fifth-annual Collaboration Fest on March 31.
Collaboration Fest has come a long way since its inaugural year, growing from 50 beer submissions in 2013 to 110 this year. The fest also has a sleek new venue: the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center. As in year’s past, the party features unique, small batch brews spawned from collaborations concocted by Colorado Brewers Guild members in an effort to celebrate the craft beer industry’s collaborative spirit. That spirit is more important than ever now, according to Steve Kurowsi, marketing director for the Guild. “We are in a very quickly changing industry in a state that will see big changes next year, with full-strength beer going into grocery stores,” Kurowski says. “There’s going to be a lot to navigate in the near future, especially for the state of Colorado. The better and tighter this industry is, the better we’ll be on the other side.”
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For the past few months, Collaboration Festival brew days have been taking place across the state. Collabs range from hyper-local brewing partners (such as Denver’s Mockery Brewing and Baere Brewing Co.’s Beastie Boy’s-inspired French Toast Stout) to cross-country pairings (like a late spring wild ale from Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewing and acclaimed Tennessee brewery, Blackberry Farm Brewery). While participating breweries are still refining their recipes, one thing is certain: Collaboration Festival is unlike any other brew fest in Colorado. Adventurous suds lovers won’t want to miss it.
If you go: Tickets for Collaboration Festival are on sale now and include unlimited tastings. General Admission tickets are $65; Connoisseur ticket pricing is $85 and includes early entry. Tickets can be purchased here.