Friday, March 21, 2014

Love to the Lovibond Series

Heard about Collaboration Fest yet? Or the Lovibond series in general? If not, it's worth getting up to speed on one of the cooler new innovations to the Colorado beer festival scene this year.

The Colorado Brewers Guild is working together with event creator Imbibe! to produce four new beer gatherings, each focusing on a different aspect of the brewing scene than one typically finds celebrated. And the first one, Collaboration Fest, goes off Saturday at The Curtis Hotel to kick off Colorado Craft Beer Week.

This initial party is a celebration of the cohesiveness and willingness to work together within the craft beer community. Beer makers from both within and outside of Colorado have combined to make 41 beers that have never been released to the public before. And if you don't catch them at Collaboration Fest, you may have a hard time finding them elsewhere.

The idea for Collaboration Fest actually rose out of last year's Colorado Craft Beer week (a springtime celebration that is different than Denver Beer Fest, which occurs in the week surrounding the Great American Beer Festival, for those of you following along at home). A number of out-of-state breweries wanted to be involved, but organizers didn't want to water down the all-Colorado feel of the tappings and tastings, said Steve Kurowski, CBG marketing director.

So, letting them work in conjunction with Centennial State beer makers to do something truly unique not only brings more of a focus to Colorado, but it also shows off the ties between brewers that still bind the industry.

"We consider Colorado to be an epicenter of the craft beer revolution that's going on throughout the country," Kurowski said. "We think this event will have a national feel that people will want to come to the state to explore it."

And what kind of collaborations will be served from 3 to 7 p.m.? To understand their breadth and depth, just look at all that Breckenridge Brewery is doing.

Along with the four other Summit County breweries, it's collaborated on a black saison. And in conjunction with the other "Beermuda Triangle" brewers - those on the south end of downtown Denver - it's made a black IPA aged with rum (not rum barrels, just plain old rum). But it's also got one of its brewers participating in a collaboration brew made by all of the former beer makers from Mountain Sun who have staked out on their own. And, finally, it worked with Sweetwater Brewing of Atlanta to create a red wheat wine ale.

"I just love the whole camaraderie of the whole thing. It speaks to the spirit of craft beer," said Todd Thibault, the eponymous marketing director for the brewery. "I think more people in the industry are excited about this festival than possibly consumers."

But it doesn't stop there for the Lovibond series. There also will be a Brewery 5K this summer in Fort Collins, a Sesh Fest highlighting session beers during the summer in Denver and a fresh hop festival in September.

"These will be unique events in unique places. They will not be the typical beer festival in a square room with breweries around the room," Kurowski said. "We want to create something much different for the Colorado beer drinker."

Sign me up.

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