Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ska Hosts Swedish Brewers For International Beer Collaboration

Ska collaborates on Wipa SnapaCollaboration beers are all the rage these days. Even breweries who aren't yet open collaborate with existing breweries to help try out new recipes. Ska Brewing of Durango, Colorado is no stranger to doing collaborations, and when the opportunity arose to do one with a brewery from Sweden then jumped on it. Here's a press release issued this week explaining what's in store with Wipa Snapa, a new White IPA.

Ska Hosts Swedish Brewers Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri For International Beer Collaboration

DURANGO, COLO., (January 22, 2014) — Ska Brewing is hosting brewers from Sweden’s Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri at Ska’s World Headquarters in Durango this week. Lars “Lasse” Ericsson and Marcus Wärme traveled to Colorado on Monday to brew a collaborative beer with Ska, a White IPA called Wipa Snapa.

The international collaboration comes less than a year after Ska brewers and representatives traveled to Nynäshamns, a city south of Stockholm, to brew a collaborative beer there called Skatkobben. While Skatkobben was released only in Sweden, the new Wipa Snapa collaboration will be released here in the U.S., after a sneak preview at the Colorado Brewers Guild “Collaboration Fest” on March 22, and an official release party at the Craft Brewer’s Conference in Denver April 9th.

The collaboration is another milestone in a larger international commerce and export story, in which Colorado’s exploding craft beer scene has spawned dozens of new small breweries and brewery-related businesses, reinvigorated bars and liquor stores, and helped the Colorado “destination brand” gain increased recognition overseas via craft beer.

The Ska/Nynäshamns relationship flourished after Ska attended the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival in 2011, and realized that they shared a love of the outdoors and general adventure with their counterparts from Nynäshamns. It is Ericsson and Wärme’s first trip to the U.S., though they both speak English fluently. After a 26-hour travel day on Monday, they arrived at Ska Tuesday morning energetic and ready to brew. Ska representatives are sharing a little Colorado mountain culture by taking Ericsson and Wärme skiing at Durango Mountain Resort, after an early-morning duck hunting outing. At the end of the week they will travel to Denver with Ska’s Arlo Grammatica to visit other breweries and take part in a “Pints and Pipes” promotion at Denver’s Cheba Hut.

With a U.S. craft beer scene that many consider to be setting the standard for innovation and quality worldwide, many European brewers and consumers are looking to the U.S., both for existing beers and for new ideas. This turns the old dynamic—in which Europeans were known for producing quality, flavorful beers, and the U.S. was widely mocked for our dedication to mass-produced light lagers—on its head.

“Craft beer is becoming very popular in Sweden, like here, and Swedes are very curious about new beers,” said Nynäshamns’ Head Brewer Lasse Ericsson. “In the U.S., many brewers started in the 80’s, and in Sweden it wasn't until the 90’s, so Swedish brewers are looking to the U.S. because you are about ten years ahead of us as far as the craft beer scene.”

The Swedish brewers also collaborated with Dogfish Head—a Delaware-based craft brewing powerhouse—in their hometown last year, producing a beer called Kvasir, part of Dogfish Head’s popular “Ancient Ales” series. The official release party for Wipa Snapa will feature representatives from Ska, as well as Dogfish Head Founder Sam Calagione, pouring both Wipa Snapa and Kvasir.

The White IPA style is a hybrid of the Belgian witbier and India Pale Ale styles, resulting in an unfiltered and well-carbonated beer brewed with a large proportion of wheat, and featuring spices and a strong hop presence. “Wit” means “white” in English, so-called because of the unfiltered yeast and wheat proteins that give these beers a hazy, white color.

The Wipa Snapa features ingredients from both Colorado and Sweden, including Sea Buckthorn berries—a tart, refreshing berry native to Scandinavia—and Chinook hops from Paonia, Colorado’s High Wire Hop Farms. The beer was also brewed with juniper berries, representing the high desert south and west of Durango, and substituting for the orange peel and coriander spices traditionally used in Belgian wit biers. Wipa Snapa, when completed, is projected to come in at 6% ABV.


Ska Head Brewer Thomas Larsen, right, and Nynashamns Angbryggeri Head Brewer Lasse Ericsson watch as grain is milled for the international collaboration beer Wipa Snapa. (Image courtesy Ska Brewing)

About Ska Brewing

Based in Durango, Colorado, Ska Brewing was founded in 1995 and now produces over a dozen medal-winning beers including the Pinstripe Red Ale, True Blonde Ale and Steel Toe Stout. Ska was the second brewery in the U.S. to can its craft beers, and nine Ska beers are now widely available in cans: Modus Hoperandi IPA, ESB Special Ale, True Blonde Ale, four Seasonal Stouts and the summer and winter seasonals Mexican Logger and Euphoria Pale Ale. For information, music and a good time, visit www.skabrewing.com. Chat us up and get the latest news at facebook.com/skabrew and twitter.com/skabrewing.

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