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Spring Into: Collaboration Brews

Ayana Wilson Ayana Wilson Spring Into: Collaboration BrewsPhoto via Seventh Son.
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We are living in the great age of craft brewing. Every week, it seems, there’s a new artisanal beer to be savored, and given the number of craft breweries located just in the state, more often than not, that new beer has local roots.

Seventh Son Brewing opened at 1101 North Fourth Street in December 2012, and a short year later, put out their fist collaboration brew. The Ale of Two Cities was created with Brad Clark, Head Brewer at Jackie O’s Brewery from Athens, Ohio.

The Double IPA was brewed at Seventh Son’s facility with an abundance of eldorado, mosaic, citra, and galaxy hops, giving it a slightly fruity, tropical aroma and full-mouth hoppiness. At 8.5% ABV, this beer went against some conventions being released in December, but no one cared because it was downright delicious.

The success of that collaboration fostered other partnerships for Seventh Son’s Brewmaster, Colin Vent. Already this year, he’s teamed up with not one, but two other craft brewmasters to launch ales that showcase the talents of each brewery.

Firstly, Revolution Brewing from Chicago, with whom he produced the Seven Fists of Deth, a 9.45% ABV Belgian-style Double IPA. Vent and Revolution Brewmaster, Josh Deth, designed the beer with Seventh Son’s housemade candi sugar and Revolution’s Belgian yeast strain.

The addition of loads of juicy hops resulted in a beer of rounded, hoppy complexity and slight spice that pleased both IPA devotees, as well as those who appreciate the slight funkiness Belgian-strains can carry.

Released in February, the Seven Fists of Deth is an exciting testament to why collaborative brews work: it offers local drinkers a chance to interact with and experience a brewery they may not have heard of, or have the chance to learn about outside of this venture.

In March, Seventh Son paired up Rockmill Brewery from Lancaster to create the Urban Cowboy, a 7.5% ABV Belgian-style stout. Slightly different from the approach taken with Jackie O’s and Revolution, both Rockmill and Seventh Son produced their own versions of the same basic recipe.

Rockmill’s came first. Brewmaster Matt Barbee used a base pilsner, Rockmill’s yeast, Belgian rock candi sugar, and Lancaster’s water for their rendition. Vent based Seventh Son’s interpretation on their base pale ale malt, a blend of Rockmill and Seventh Son yeast, American-made Belgian candi syrup, and our city water.

The result of both of these was a seductive, dark, luscious beer that almost made the stubborn winter bearable. Simultaneously smoky, roasty, fruity, and chocolaty, the Urban Cowboy emphasizes what’s best about collaborative brews, and indeed, life: two heads are better than one.

“Craft beer has four main ingredients, but thousands of unique variations on techniques and processes to utilize them,” shares Vent. “By collaboratively brewing with others, we have a great freedom to think outside of our box about recipe and technique, and get another brewer’s perspective and vision as well.”

In the future, expect more collaborations from Seventh Son Brewing as they continue to hone their skill and redefine the craft beer experience. Other local breweries are also jumping on the collaboration bandwagon as well (CBC and Fathead released Brewno, a 9.1% American barleywine), a good thing for a thirsty public.

To keep abreast of what Seventh Son is going to do next, visit www.seventhsonbrewing.com.

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