What does “collaboration” mean in the fast-paced, and ever changing craft brewing world? There are plenty of one-and-done collaborative beers out there. They appear fast and disappear even faster.
Boom Island Brewing is no stranger to the collaboration beer scene. Last fall, we released our first collaborative beer, Kollusion, a Russian Imperial Stout, with a small family brewery in Pittem, Belgium, Brouwerij Maenhout.
I always thought real collaboration should have a lasting impact, and it should come from something deeper than a quick flash-in-the-pan event. This is why I am moved by the friendship and creativity of Kevin and Thijs.
The inspiration of Lemon Drop Wit comes from a memorable trip and an evening of fun in the small town of Pittem, Belgium. Last April, we traveled with a group of beer lovers for our Belgian beer tour. Before the trip, Kevin and Thijs was already talking about another collaboration. They both felt that even though the first collaborative beer was great, they would have benefited more from brewing together. Since we were going to Belgium, Kevin decided to skip a day of the tour (he actually skipped Zythos Beer Festival!) and go brew with Thijs. But what beer should they make together? How about Witbier? A beer style almost expired and later resurrected by Pierre Celis who created Hoegaarden.
The interesting story is, Witbier was the first beer we released in Minneapolis and Thijs in Belgium has never made a Witbier! To make it more “American”, Kevin decided to dry hop it with a hop variety that is not available in Belgium, Lemon Drop. Here is where the story gets juicy. Since we ran out of time to ship the hops to Thijs for the brew, the only choice we had was to bring the 11 pounds of hops in our suitcases. Luckily, we had a group of adventurous and willing tour folks, all the hops arrived safely (hopefully, no border control people are reading this).
Skip ahead to their production day, we go to the party later that night. Kevin was invited to a special fundraising rock concert “Pure Rock” in the township, benefiting a local non-profit group for people with disabilities. Interestly enough it was organized by Thijs’ brother, Ward. The entire town was there and Kevin was welcomed by everyone (who said Belgians are boring and shy). We get so much done when we are having fun! By the end of the night, the name of beer, the label concept and taglines were all in place. We have a new collaborative beer!
Next day, when the tour group arrive at Brouwerij Maenhout, we were greeted by two good friends who have shared some amazing experiences together and the result is our second collaborative beer, Lemon Drop Wit – It’s only wit, but we love it!
Come celebrate the release Lemon Drop Wit, Friday, October 26 at 4pm.
The Lemon Drop Wit has a slightly peppery taste from the spelt, along with a velvety and hazy mouthfeel from the yeast. It’s pale and cloudy and enriched with coriander and lemon zest. Lemon Drop Wit weighs in at 5.5% ABV, a modest 16 IBU, and is amazingly delicious.