12 Must-Try Beers at This Weekend’s Collaboration Fest

BY Steph Wilson

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Raise your glasses, it’s time for a toast. The 8th annual Collaboration Fest rolls into town this weekend on March 25, brewing up a storm of creative concoctions for your sipping pleasure. This original craft beer collaboration festival, hosted at The Westin Westminster, marries the finest talent from Colorado Brewers Guild members with breweries near and far, spawning unique, one-of-a-kind beers for the public’s delight.

In previous years, we’ve witnessed the birth of ramen-infused ales, ice cream-laced brews, and beers that boasted ingredients like snow and bark. This event has even been the springboard for emerging styles like Cold IPA and pastry stouts.

This year, Collaboration Fest is hopping with 175 participating breweries and 125 brews. Tickets are still up for grabs, and if you’re a fan of beer, merriment, and hobnobbing with fellow hop-heads, get grabbing!

Because Collaboration Fest is more than just a beer-soaked bacchanalia; it’s a celebration of the community that makes Denver’s craft beer scene so outstanding. So if you like beer, fun, and mingling with jovial folks who share your passion, you’re gonna want to join the festivities. 

There will be plenty of styles to check out for all taste palates and a lot of kinda-weird-but-really-great concoctions that just may play tricks with your tastebuds. To whet your appetite, we’ve rounded up a few of the unconventional collaborations that lean towards the unexpected—aka, the ones that we can’t wait to try. 

Sorbet Sour
Collaborators: Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery & Vicious Cycle Brewing
What’s the scoop? These brewers partnered with Little Man Ice Cream to add a refreshing sorbet twist to their sour ale.

Wellness Beer 
Collaborators: Old 121 Brewhouse & Banded Oak Brewing
What’s the deal?  AI bot ChatGPT suggested a new trend—wellness beer—and provided the recipe, resulting in “The Bots Made Us Do It.” Get a taste of the future with this holistic brew.

Imperial Hazy IPA
Collaborators: Wynkoop Brewing Co., Mirror Image Brewing Co, & Fermly Craft Beer Laboratory
What’s up with this?  Designed to compete with lingering vape haze aromas, Colfax Hipster is a scientific creation perfect for the Carhartt plaid and North Face fleece-wearing crowd. 

Experimental Soda-Flavored Beers
Collaborators: Baere Brewing Company
& Mockery Brewing
What’s poppin’? A throwback to the soda world, these brewers concocted soda-inspired beers in their eighth collaboration, dubbed “Mocking Baered Ep. 8: A Bunch of Soda Jerks.”

Hazy IPA with 40+ Hops
Collaborators: A Bit Twisted Brewpub & BBQ & The Elizabeth Brewing Company
What’s hopping? A hazy IPA crafted with a whopping 40+ hops variety!

Banana Hazy IPA
Collaborators: Denver Beer Co. & El Rancho Colorado
What’s the story? These brewers love banana flavors and created a modern Hazy IPA using Bananza yeast and hops like Strata and Cryo Hallertau Blanc for a soft, juicy, banana punch.

SponTEAneous Sparkles
Collaborators: Primitive Beer & Novel Strand Brewing Company
What’s brewing? A delightful blend of Primitive’s Colorado Spontaneous beer and Novel Strand’s tea-infused, fruited table beer, Funk Shwei, resulting in a low-alcohol funk, fruit, and fun medley.

Everything Bagel Rye Kvass
Collaborators: Snowbank Brewing & Mythmaker Brewing
What’s baked in? A surprisingly good idea inspired by a bad one: an everything bagel beer that’ll have you toasting to creativity.

Thiolized Grapefruit IPA
Collaborators: Crystal Springs Brewing & MainStage Brewing
What’s the twist? A nostalgic nod to the Grapefruit IPA trend, paired with a new “thiolized” yeast strain called Star Party for a passionfruit and grapefruit juice explosion.

Shiitake Mushroom and Nori Doppelbock
Collaborators: Six Capital Brewing & Two22 Brew
What’s unique? Two Aurora breweries unite East and West, combining Japanese hops (Sorachi Ace), shiitake mushrooms, and nori (seaweed) to create an umami-packed twist on a classic German beer style.

Mochi Sour Ale Brewed with Preserved Chinese Plums
Collaborators: Jade Mountain Brewery & WeldWerks Brewing Co.
What’s the fusion? A true reflection of both breweries’ knack for unique ingredients and processes, this sour ale features steamed glutinous rice and Chinese preserved plums for a dry, sweet, sour, and salty delight.

Sour Patch Kid Sour Ale
Collaborators: WestFax Brewing, 6 & 40 Brewery, Old 121 Brewing, Landlocked Ales, Great Frontier Brewing
What’s the sweet deal? A Lakewood brewery collective reminds us that beer should be fun by adding actual blue sour patch gummies to a classic sour ale base, resulting in a perfect touch of tartness and a full dose of childhood nostalgia.

And there’s a whole lot more where these came from. You can read up on all the styles on Indie Creative’s site here, or let your tastebuds enjoy the surprises these brewers have in store. Either way, you’ll need a ticket, and lucky for you, they’re still available. Get yours here, and we’ll see you there.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steph Wilson

Steph Wilson is a writer, editor, and creative maximalist in Denver. She makes magazines for a living and throws color around the world like confetti for fun.

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