As so often happens in beer, what begins as an in-joke or dare can quickly escalate into something so much more. For Petition Beer Corner’s Gavin McGrane and team, an offhand remark about brewing fifteen collaborations for WA Beer Week turned into an epic, collaborative journey now known as the week long Collabosaurus: fifteen collaborations with fifteen WA breweries, one for each of Petitions taps.
“It celebrates all things WA and the amazing work that all the brewers do and how giving they are,” Gavin says. “I didn’t actually think that we’d have close to fifteen breweries that would find the time and actually have us over to the brewery.
“It shows just how great a community it is, how helpful and how willing to teach everyone is.”
The response from breweries was overwhelmingly positive – although there was some concern.
As Gavin explains with a chuckle: “I remember Tyson from Boston saying it sounds 100 percent batshit crazy... 'But I’m 100 percent in!'.”
Then there were those others who were immediately on board but expressed a desire to do something rather specific.
“I sat down with Brendan [Day] from Cheeky Monkey and I said I wanted to do a barleywine and he said it had to be English style, so we played around with the whole pastry beer idea and straight away both of us were like, ‘blueberry pancake’!
“The guys had just taken Silverback Imperial Stout out of the Illegal Tender spiced rum barrels, so half this batch was put into those barrels.”
Likewise, in keeping with the spirit of creativity, the Nowhereman collaboration comes complete with a little performance art.
“Lil Sebastian is named after a miniature horse from the show Parks and Rec,” Gavin says. “One of our team, Laura [Thomas] said that, if we do a mid-strength, it has to be called Lil Sebastian.
“Now we’ve been roped into singing the song from Parks and Rec when the last keg blows, which is 5000 Candles in the Wind – that Chris Pratt sang. It came up with Pia [Poynton] from Nowhereman and Jackson [Purser] from Indian Ocean. He said he’s going to learn the chords and is going to come down and play it on guitar with us singing, so I’m going to hold him to that!“
While this all sounds lighthearted, there was serious thought put into the collaborations.
“We were involved from the beginning, writing recipes and right down to the brewing stage,” Gavin says. “Ninety percent of the ideas were us throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what stuck.
“We split everyone from Petition into groups and asked them to develop four beer styles, recipes, what adjuncts were needed, but they also had to show consistency and they all had to work on the beer board together. They weren’t allowed to give four or five IPAs because that just wasn’t going to work. You’ve gotta have a lager, a pale ale, a dark and an IPA.”
And what a diverse list they created. From Nail Brewing’s first ever NEIPA to a Tangelo IPA to a devastatingly classic Doppelbock and more. Being mindful of varying batch sizes at the different breweries, the Petition team committed to taking most of the beer volume from each collaboration, which also ensures WA punters have a reasonable chance to sample this creativity throughout WA Beer Week without too much in the way of FOMO anxiety.
With so many to choose from, here’s a snapshot of some of what Collabosaurus has to offer.
Artisan Brewing – Citrus Dawn
Sour Saison – 4.2 percent ABV
This collab saw Gavin fly to Denmark and back in order to be involved; that commitment alone suggests it’s worth trying Citrus Dawn. Perfumed aromas segue into lemon and lime then lemon myrtle with a firm, late acidity. It’s another wonderful release from Belgian beer specialists Artisan.
Boston Brewing – Julius Squeezer
Sour NEIPA – 6 percent ABV
Sweet orange juice aromas are spiked with an impending sense of sour. Azacca, Galaxy and Citra hops ramp up the citrus fruit on a suitably full mouthfeel that’s helped along with some blitzed orange juice powder. The lactobacillus addition then renders Julius Squeezer akin to drinking freshly squeezed OJ.
Indian Ocean – Wolf Kriek
Kriek – 5.4 percent ABV
The impressive cherry colour in the glass is something to behold, especially considering this was originally designed as a black Kriek. Obvious cherry flavours are complimented by an almond / marzipan flavour from the fruit pits, while the mild tartness and a slight acidity keep things highly drinkable.
Mash Brewing – Melon Felon
Watermelon and Mint Wheat – 4.5 percent ABV
Perhaps the most pronounced aroma of all the collaborations, the perfumed honey dew / watermelon redolence is joined by a muted mint that evokes thoughts of an icy granita. This moves a little lolly-like in the glass before the clean finish.
Nowhereman – Lil Sebastian
New World Session Lager – 3.5 percent ABV
A fruit bowl of aromas also yields Earl Grey tea and melon on the palate in what’s a big beer for its stature.
WA Beer Week continues until November 25, 2018. You can view the full program here.