In many industries, the idea of companies working together to create a new product is laughable. Imagine Toyota and Chevy collaborating on a new electric car. Not going to happen.
But the brewing world is an industry of a different color. Though Maine breweries naturally compete for draft lines and shelf space, they often come together to collaborate on new beers. These “collabs,” as they’re known, are some of the most innovative beers on the market and highlight the communal vibe that exists in Maine’s brewing culture.
On Thursday at Bull Feeney’s in Portland, Rising Tide Brewing and Foundation Brewing release two collaboration beers, Crosstown Peel, an IPA brewed with blood oranges, and Crosstown Peach, an ale brewed with peaches.
I reached out to Rising Tide’s Nathan Sanborn and Foundation’s Joel Mahaffey to ask about how this recent collaboration came to fruition.
“I love the way Joel digs into the science and craft of brewing and uses those tools to create beers with a beautiful clarity of flavor. I also really appreciate the way he never rests on his laurels but is always pushing himself to make his beer ever better,” Sanborn explained.
“It’s fun to work with someone you respect, and you learn a lot by brewing with another brewer. There’s lots to learn about different processes, and it’s inspiring on many levels,” Mahaffey said.
It’s clear that a mutual respect exists between these two Portland brewers, but instead of driving them to become crosstown rivals, that respect brought them together and, most importantly, resulted in two inventive beers for us, the drinking public.
To create Crosstown Peel and Crosstown Peach, Sanborn and Mahaffey sat around, drinking beers of course, and asked the question: How can we try something new that neither of us has done before?
When two of Maine’s best brewers ask that kind of question, sparks fly.
They realized that neither of them had used fruit in ales before, since fruit in fermentation is typically reserved for sour beers. They brainstormed what fruits and hops would pair well together, and when they had a plan, they set off brewing, making Crosstown Peel at Rising Tide’s brewery on Fox Street and Crosstown Peach at Foundation’s brewery on Industrial Way.
To shed some light on the nature of collab beers, I contacted Tim Adams, owner and head brewer at Oxbow Brewing Co..
“Innovative, genuine collaborations happen when two breweries don’t necessarily brew the same type of beers, but are friends and are drawn towards each others’ vibes, branding and company culture,” Adams explained.
And he would know. His farmhouse brewery has collaborated with brewers in Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Japan, along with creating numerous beers with U.S. brewers, most recently Half Acre Brewing in Chicago.
“Two things that should always hold true [in collaborating] are a belief that an exciting, unique beer will be borne of the project and that the brewers will learn from one another,” Adams mused.
At Thursday’s release party at Bull Feeney’s, dig into the beauty of Maine collab culture with two beers from Rising Tide Brewing and Foundation Brewing. And look for Crosstown Peel at Rising Tide’s tasting room and Crosstown Peach at Foundation’s tasting room on draft and in cans while supplies last.
WHO: Rising Tide Brewing and Foundation Brewing
ON DRAFT: Crosstown Peel, an IPA brewed with blood oranges, and Crosstown Peach, an American ale brewed with peaches
WHERE: Bull Feeney’s, 375 Fore St., Portland
WHEN: 6 to 9 p.m., Thursday
MORE INFO: On Facebook
OTHER BEER HAPPENINGS
6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, 49 Washington Ave., Portland. On Facebook
Inspired to drink some beer from Oxbow after reading the article above? If you’re into fly-fishing, this is the perfect event. Sebago Trout Unlimited hosts a night of talking fly-fishing and drinking farmhouse ales. Activities include fly-tying stations, casting instructions and fishing videos. This is a great way to get excited for the oncoming fishing season and meet other fishing enthusiasts while drinking artfully crafted beer.
Open 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. northhavenbrewing.com
Just when you thought Maine’s brewing scene couldn’t get any cooler, North Haven Brewing opens a brewery on North Haven Island. A 70-minute ferry ride from Rockland, North Haven Brewing makes the perfect destination for a weekend day trip. Head up before the summer tourists swarm Maine’s coast and islands and see what’s brewing on North Haven Island.