Brewing, Cideries & Spirits  March 26, 2024

Collaboration Fest to highlight Colorado brewers’ creativity

WESTMINSTER — What happens when your favorite Colorado brewers are encouraged to partner with their friends in the industry and just let their freak-flags fly?

At the Collaboration Festival, an event organized by the Colorado Brewers Guild and set for March 30 in Westminster, you might wind up sipping a cotton candy-flavored Kölsch or a lager brewed from potatoes. 

“It’s a great event because it gives brewers the opportunity to really showcase their creativity with their friends and colleagues in the industry,” Colorado Brewers Guild communications manager Carrie Knose Wilson told BizWest. “Their recipes aren’t constrained” by the kinds of beers that would necessarily appeal to the everyday beer drinker. “This is a chance to really try things that are sometimes pretty off the wall.”

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For example, during last year’s festival several brewers crafted their entry by prompting the artificial-intelligence platform ChatGPT to create a “healthy” beer recipe. “The result was a beer that had turmeric, cumin and all kinds of odd spices that you’d typically never see in a beer,” Knose Wilson said. “To use (ChatGPT) to come up with a recipe I thought was very clever.”

Collab Fest is “one of the brewers favorite events that the public is luckily invited to,” she said. “… It’s a blank canvas for them. They can create whatever they want with their friends.”

Collaborating partners join forces in a way that’s “truly organic,” Knose Wilson said. Often, brewers who don’t already know one another connect at other beer industry events “and become friends and say, ‘Hey, let’s make a beer together.’”

The 2024 Collab Fest, which will be hosted by the the Westin Westminster hotel and will feature a silent disco, food venders and non-alcoholic beverage options, is expected to draw staff from 180 breweries and roughly 1,200 ticketed attendees. 

About 140 new beer concoctions “that were made solely for the festival” will debut at the event, Knose Wilson said.

“These are one-off beers that most likely won’t ever be brewed again,” she said. But if attendees discover something that they really love, many participating breweries “will have these beers on tap after the festival in their taprooms. So we highly encourage people who go to the fest to go out and try the beers afterward if (the brewers) have any left to serve in their taprooms.”

Brewers will show off creativity at the Collaboration Festival.

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
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