Sunday, July 20, 2008

Brooklyner-Schneider oder Schneider-Brooklyner

Collaboration is nothing new to the craft beer community, but the folks at Brooklyn Brewery and Schneider Brauerei came up with a pretty clever twist on the concept.
Brewers Garrett Oliver, of Brooklyn, and Hans-Peter Drexler, of Schneider, worked together to produced a hopfen-weisse ale (a hopped wheat beer). The twist is the brewers used different hops and released the beers under their own labels.
Clever, huh?
Using the same process to produce the wheat beer and then dry hopping with different varietals of hops gives drinkers the chance to better appreciate the various flavors different hops bring to beer. Whether intended or not, the wheat beer -- which traditionally doesn't have a pronounced hop flavor -- serves as foundation to show off the hops' unique characteristics.
Anyone who thinks that all hops are the same needs to do a side-by-side tasting of these beers. In an age when the hottest thing in craft brewing is super-hoppy India pale ales (HopSlam, Hopocalypse, HopDevil), it's helpful to take a step back and taste the subtle differences those little green flower buds bring to beer.
The Schneider version (Schneider-Brooklyner) is dry hopped using Hallertauer Saphir hops grown near the German brewery. Brooklyn's version (Brooklyner-Scheider) uses Amarillo and Palisade hops grown in the United States.
The result is a pair of sister beers that are ever-so-subtly different. The Schneider-Brooklyner is subtle and rich, but very much a wheat beer, which the brewery is famous for. The Brooklyner-Scheider is a shade darker and slightly more robust.
As this collaboration took place last year, this isn't exactly new news, but the idea is still pretty novel. Plenty of breweries work together, but to use a collaboration project to celebrate the hop -- and give both breweries a chance to release a beer -- is down right brilliant.

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