Collaborations are common in California's friendly craft beer world, where like-minded brewers often team up to meld brains over the kettle for a day. Sometimes, brewers journey cross-town or even cross-state for such projects with the results eventually being tapped at both brewers' home pubs.
With a growing roster of local breweries, Los Angeles is finally getting into this traveling collaboration mix, though most of the other brewers have been the ones doing the traveling.
Earlier this year, for example, Jonathan Porter from Smog City hosted David “Zambo” Zamborski from San Francisco's 21st Amendment Brewery to brew an imperial red ale, and last week, Eagle Rock Brewery made a milk stout with brewers from Alesmith on what used to be the San Diego brewery's original brewing system.
But the award for the longest distance trekked by a Los Angeles brewer for a collaboration beer goes to Golden Road Brewing's Jesse Houck and Alexandra Nowell of soon-to-be-opened Three Weavers who spent the first week of 2014 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom making a session IPA at Bank's Beer.
Besides being the brewers of L.A.'s first international collaboration beer, Houck and Nowell are a talented twosome in their own right: both are alums of Bay Area powerhouse Drake's Brewing and Nowell, who used to be Brewmaster at Kinetic Brewing in Lancaster, walked away from her first Great American Beer Festival with two bronze medals.
Together, they teamed up with Bank's on a low-ABV session IPA that was to be a part of the pub chain JD Wetherspoon's American Brewers Showcase. A total of 400-barrels of the beer – which features all English grains and all American hops – were made over the course of two days and casks made their way to 850 Wetherspoons earlier this month.
To sweeten the deal and bring a slice of their international adventure home, Houck and Nowell returned to L.A. and brewed a small, 15-barrel batch of the same beer at Golden Road.
The American-made version, called Cross the Pond, was tapped yesterday at the Golden Road Pub and should remain on through the weekend.
Though it's a draft-only specialty release, it's not one to miss as it represents both the talents of Nowell and Houck (one of Nowell's GABF medals was for a session IPA) as well as L.A.'s newfound global brewing reach.