The first annual Columbus Craft Beer Week (CCBW) is just around the corner. Among the 18,000 events planned for the nine days of CCBW the collaboration beers are arguably the most interesting aspect of the event. Things kickoff this Friday, May 1 at Market District Grandview Yard where all of the collaboration beers will be pouring. They culminate on Saturday, May 9 at the Six One Pour: Ohio Craft Beer Festival where they will once again all be available in one place. Sandwiched between these two events each collaboration beer will have the spotlight all to itself on its release day, except of course for those collaborations where the brewers couldn’t agree upon a single beer.
Although I’ve yet to taste most of these beers I thought it would be fun to give out some awards based solely on the concept behind each beer, and preview the field at the same time.
Most curiously named beer
This award has to go to Ghidora Peach Saison, the collaborative effort of Land Grant, Four String and Sideswipe. When I heard that this trio of kick ass Columbus breweries were invoking the spirit of King Ghidora, the three headed monster from the classic Godzilla movies, I was expecting something like a Triple IPA dry hopped with monstrous quantities of Sorachi Ace and Galaxy hops, or maybe a Belgian Trippel aged in sake barrels inside a Komodo dragon cave. Let’s just say I was surprised to find out it was a peach saison. I have a hard time believing that giant, extraterrestrial, flying monsters kick back to fruit infused farmhouse ales. I can’t wait for next years offering, The Blair Wit(bier) Project.
Release Date and Location – Saturday, May 2 at Land Grant Brewing, Four String Brewing, The Pint Room, and The Ohio Taproom
Easiest name to remember
I know that Gordon Biersch doesn’t get too crazy with their beer names, preferring stick to no frills monikers like Schwartzbier and Czech Pilsner, but their collaboration with Weasel Boy simply named “The Lager” takes that approach to the next level. I feel they wasted a golden opportunity to brew a batch of Striped Polecat Pilsner or Mink Marzen.
Release Date and Location – Friday, May 8 at Gordon Biersch (5:30 pm to close), Market District Kingsdale, and Savor Pint.
Loudest release event
Many of the breweries have a special event tied in with the release of their collaboration beer, and my favorite is being put on by Actual Brewing and Barley’s to celebrate the release of Simplicity Golden Strong. On Sunday, May 3 four bands will take the stage at Brother’s Drake Meadery culminating with local alt rockers, The Receivers. This beer also heralds Barley’s brewmaster Angelo Signorino’s triumphant return to the brewkit he used at All American Brewing in the 1990’s, which after taking a sabbatical in a barn, resurfaced at Actual. As usual Actual’s Mira Lee has hit it out of the park with the label. Not only did Angelo’s bike make the label, who know his favorite animal was an otter? (Editor’s Note: This is the only one of the collaboration beers I’ve been fortunate enough to sneak preview and its delicious.)
Release Date and Location – Sunday, May 3 at Brother’s Drake (6-10 pm) and Studio 35.
Quirkiest release event
If you are the kind of person that gets annoyed when your craft beer bar is invaded by a live rock band maybe the Actual/Barley’s release is not your cup of tea. In that case you might be interested in the release of Maibock to the Future II, a collaboration between Buckeye Lake, North High and Zauber, on Wednesday, May 6 at the Daily Growler in Upper Arlington. They will be screening Back to the Future II in their back room starting at 7:30 pm, and pouring beers from all three participating breweries. So if you get a recall notice from the library, make sure you return their VHS copy of Back to the Future II promptly to keep this event on track.
Release Date and Location – Wednesday, May 6 at The Daily Growler in Upper Arlington (7-10 pm), Bob’s Bar, and Weiland’s Market
Release event most likely to trigger a cataclysmic disaster
Sticking with beers thematically linked to 1980’s comedy films we come next to the collaboration between Homestead and Seventh Son. Not content to brew just one beer, Homestead has created a beer called Gatekeeper and Seventh Son its companion, Keymaster. I have no clue what these beers are, but both will be pouring at World of Beer in the Brewery District on Tuesday. For God’s sake don’t drink both beers simultaneously lest you summon a demonic spirit intent on mass destruction.
Release Date and Location – Tuesday, May 5 at Seventh Son (Keymaster), Pies and Pints (Gatekeeper), World of Beer Brewery District, and The Daily Growler in Powell
Part of the fun of a city beer week is the chance to visit different breweries, but trying the collaboration beer separately at each of the participating breweries is not such an easy feat when the breweries are located in different counties. There are no excuses though when it comes to Spring 4th a hoppy Kolsch brewed by 4th Street neighbors Elevator and Wolf’s Ridge. On Thursday of CCBW you can sample it at the Elevator’s 13th Floor Taproom then walk across Spring Street and drink the same beer at the Wolf’s Ridge Taproom. If you’ve not yet visited these two taprooms this is a great opportunity. Complete your earth friendly reveling by taking the COTA bus home. It’s not only environmentally forward thinking, but the smart thing to do if there is any Barrel Aged Belgian Quad left from Sunday’s tapping at Wolf’s Ridge.
Release Date and Location – Thursday, May 7 at Elevator’s 13th Floor Taproom, Wolf’s Ridge Taproom, Bar 145, and Barley Hopsters
The Yoko Ono collaboration award
When recording the White Album John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote and recorded many songs separately, and Ringo even left the band for a period because the recording sessions were so contentious. I’m not privy to any salacious details of a similar nature for the inaugural Columbus Beer Week, but it’s hard not to notice that collaboration between Smokehouse, Zaftig and Pigskin led to two different beers, Oak Skyhopper Herbed Pale Ale, that will go on tap at Smokehouse on Monday May 4, and Galactic Pale Ale that will hit the taps at Pigskin on the same day. Maybe there wasn’t enough room on the Millennium Falcon for everyone.
Release Date and Location – Monday, May 4 at Smokehouse (Oak Skyhopper), Pigskin (Galactic Pale Ale), Short North Pint House, and the Daily Growler in Upper Arlington