Some nights at the beer cooler, you just don’t know what you want: Something substantial like a porter? Something bold like an IPA or sour ale? Some nights, you just want a mixed box full of offerings from the best breweries from across the country.
A great idea, right? Well, someone’s been reading our minds. Last year, Red Racer launched the “Across the Nation Collaboration Mixed Pack,” which featured 12 beers they collaborated on, by partnering up with the brewmaster at one brewery from every province in Canada.
They did it all again recently, and the 2018 mixed pack will be available in the spring. Their goal with 2018’s collaborations was to celebrate a number of innovative styles of beer.
This year, Red Racer worked with YellowBelly Brewmaster, Liam McKenna, for their Newfoundland collaboration. The beer is called Me O’ Trout, and it turns out his collaboration with Red Racer built on a previous collaboration.
“It came about as a riff,” he says, “when an old industry colleague showed up at the brewhouse door at Yellowbelly. I had not seen him for decades. He was here for a family wedding.”
The colleague was Greg Cromwell, one of the founders of Toronto’s Steamwhistle Brewery. These days, Cromwell is a farmer-entrepreneur living in Australia, and working with the Aussie brewery, Top Shed. Cromwell pitched the idea of them making a Cream Ale, and McKenna needed his arm twisted.
“I was insistent that we do something different. Cream ale is a style that offers little challenge to the brewer, or the consumer, I find. All beer is good beer, but some beer can just be boring. Others may vehemently disagree. I am used to that.”
But the resulting beer, “East Coast Cream Ale,” was a hit at YellowBelly. So much so, McKenna says it has returned to YellowBelly’s rotation as a seasonal more than once.
When he got the call from Central City about the collaboration project, asking if he’d be interested in being the Newfoundland partner, McKenna said yes, and they wound up tweaking his East Coast Cream Ale.
“They asked me for three recipes. The East Coast Cream Ale was one of them. After some tweaks to the hopping regime, grist load, water chemistry etc, I believe we have brewed a fine example of this style that Cromwell and I invented. In a nutshell, it is a dry hopped Cream Ale.”
Gary Lohin, Brewmaster at Red Racer, says the mixed pack is “Red Racer’s way of sharing the amazing styles of craft beer found in every corner of our nation, and celebrating the Canadian craft beer industry’s collaborative spirit.”
All the beers in the mixpack were inspired by the province and brewery they come from. The stories behind the beers will be printed on the cans.