Each year during the Craft Brewers Conference® & Brew Expo America®, the Brewers Association asks local brewers from the presenting state to collaborate on a beer to serve as the official symposium beer. For this year’s conference, under the leadership of the Colorado Brewers Guild Conference Beer Committee, Colorado craft breweries and partners created 2019 Symposium Ale, a red brut IPA brewed at Sleeping Giant Brewing Company in Denver.
“Brut IPA is a new and exciting style, and our Conference Beer Committee thought it would be a great fit and a chance to experiment, ”said Steve Kurowski of the Colorado Brewers Guild. “We brewed six test batches before settling on the recipe that will be available to the 14,000 people attending the conference from April 8-11.”
The grain bill was developed from a combination of malts including pilsner malts from Proximity Malting and Root Shoot Malting, two-row barley from Brewers Supply Group, flaked rice from Briess, and double-roasted crystal malts from Country Malt Group.
Focusing on this emerging style, the collaborators wanted to offer a more hop forward presentation, making the hops the superstar of this beer. A total of four pounds of hops per barrel were used, blending Hopsteiner varieties X09326, X07270, and X06277.
To compliment the flavors of the hops, this red brut IPA was fermented with WLP820 Champagne Yeast from White Labs. The balanced ester profile, combined with the massive fruit and citrus character of the hops, provides a dynamic finished product.
The 2019 Symposium Ale (7% ABV) is a bright filtered rusted reddish-orange with a dark copper hue, a porcelain head and the appearance of a robust IPA. The finished product delivers a delightful amount of red berries, tangerine and fermented pineapple. It’s dry with a light alcohol heat balanced by light residual bitterness.
To package this beer, the Colorado Brewers Guild reached out to community partners at Ball Canning, Cultivator Advertising, ILS and illustrator Shaw Nielsen.
The 2019 Symposium Ale will be canned in 16-ounce cans at Sleeping Giant, the largest contract brewery in the western United States, and wrapped in a new tearaway plastic sleeve that will allow the can to enter the recycling stream without the worry of degrading the aluminum and create a keepsake to remember the drinking experience. Inspiration to use this new tearaway plastic sleeve came from multiple sources, including the Colorado Brewers Guild’s Technical and Education Committee.
Continuing the theme from the 2019 Colorado Craft Beer Week, Nielsen’s imagery of ”Craft Beer – It’s in Our Nature” was used by Cultivator and CanSource to create the perfect can artwork.
“In Colorado, craft beer is in our nature. Brewers take care of their neighbors, communities and the environment. We are hoping that this form of labeling with a removal sleeve will push forward the conversation on how brewers can continue to be better stewards of the environment,” said Kurowski.
All Craft Brewers Conference® & Brew Expo America® will receive a can of Symposium Ale in their welcome bag.
The following is a list of suppliers who donated 100% of the ingredients, packaging materials and artwork to make all of this possible: Ball Canning, BSG and Rahr, CanSource, Country Malt, Cultivator Advertising, Hopsteiner, ILS, Proximity Malt, Root Shoot Malting, White Labs and Shaw Nielsen Illustration.
14,000 cans of this beer was donated to the Brewers Association.
“The Brewers Association is very grateful for the support, hard work and generous contributions from the Colorado Brewers Guild and its members,” said Nancy Johnson, senior vice president of meeting and events at the Brewers Association. “Attendees anticipate and appreciate the Symposium Ale every year.”