When you walk into Collaboration Fest, a number of eager and friendly faces will greet you with a welcome beer in hand. That beer, called The Rice & Crispy Treat, is a Dry-Hopped Rice Lager created by members of the Colorado Brewers Guild Board of Directors. This welcome beer was made by board members from Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Broken Compass Brewing, Elevation Beer Company, Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery, Joyride Brewing Company, Primitive Beer, Prost Brewing Company, Station 26 Brewing Company, and our sponsors Hopsteiner, Propagate Lab, and Root Shoot Malting.
We spoke with Dave Bergen, Co-Founder & Director of Brewing and Marketing at Joyride, and current Board Chair about the inspiration for this year’s welcome beer and what the festival means to him. Enjoy!
How did you come up with the recipe for the Welcome Beer?
“It’s no secret that many brewers like to brew and drink lighter, more refreshing styles. Not only is it a technical challenge to brew, but provides a more quaffable option when sitting down after a brew shift. With their large additions of rice, Japanese lagers have been popular lately, in part because of how dry and crisp they are. It should also be no secret that brewers love playing with new toys, especially new hop varieties. Working with our partners at Hopsteiner, we really liked their experimental hop HS17701, which gave off really cool candied peach and stone fruit flavors, and thought that those flavors would work really well with a Japanese style lager, and it wouldn’t overpower the delicate nature of the beer. As a “Welcome Beer” to a festival with over 130 very unique options, we didn’t want to stage a full-on assault on everyone’s taste buds as soon as they walk through the door, and thought this style would give a good opening glimpse to what else is in store without contributing to palate fatigue.”
What does Collab Fest mean to you?
“To me, Collab Fest represents some of the best attributes of our industry. We get to be creative and make something that has not existed before, and may never exist again. And we get to do it with a respected fellow brewer as a partner, where we share ideas and techniques, as well as a few laughs. Collab days are always big days that you circle on the calendar and look forward to, and I think I’ve always walked away from every collab as a better brewer. To be able to wrangle in each project’s passion and showcase each one in a singular festival is magical. The energy is so positive, it feels like a reunion of sorts, and everyone is so excited to show off the pet project they’ve been working on. At Collab Fest, we prove that our industry’s camaraderie is second to none.”
Why do you find value in being a member of the Colorado Brewers Guild?
“I believe in the positive impact the CBG makes on the Colorado craft beer industry. Every day the Guild fights for us at the statehouse, preventing burdensome restrictions and keeping intact the framework that has helped to create The State of Craft Beer. The CBG helps promote its members, drives business to our taprooms, and encourages member purchases at 3rd party retail establishments. And they foster a real sense of community where varying types of breweries can come together, share ideas, and help each other.”