Collaborations are vitally important to the success of the modern beer industry. Thousands of new breweries have emerged over the past decade and I believe that the relationships they develop and the skills that they learn from these encounters are fundamentally important to the success of these businesses.
I say that as someone who might be experiencing a little bit of “collab fatigue”, which I’m sure you may have felt too. Keeping up with the constant tide of new releases can, at times, be exhausting.
For many breweries, these collaborations are about more than simply making a beer together and learning from that shared experience. There are other important factors – and I mean really important stuff such as hanging out and partying together – which also need to be considered. Mobile Speaker from Manchester’s Cloudwater and Denmark’s Dry & Bitter is that sense of camaraderie condensed into liquid form.
“Collaborations are a chance to get together with people we like and whose beer we admire,” Dry & Bitter’s Søren Parker Wagner says. “The idea is often to do something that we, as brewers, really want to do and get to learn from each others way of working. This way we both get something professionally out of it while we get to hang with friends that we really like.”
“Our collaborations give us a chance to showcase the closeness we love with friends in the industry,” adds Cloudwater’s Paul Jones. “Most of the time we keep a face of professionalism and focus here at Cloudwater, when behind the scenes we have a great deal of fun and occasionally party pretty hard too.”
Mobile Speaker celebrates a little in-joke between Jones and Wagner. Both enjoy carrying a mobile Bluetooth speaker with them as they cruise from pub to bar on a night out. From personal experience I can tell you that Jones has the ability to effortlessly switch from Kenny G to Run the Jewels without so much as flinching, adding to the already-lively atmosphere as he does so.
And what of the beer itself? Well, Mobile Speaker is the kind of fuzzy yet electrically hoppy New England style DIPA that Cloudwater has built much of its reputation on. Expect intense aromas of mango that metamorphose into spikey, bright flavours of pineapple and pink grapefruit on the palate. Bitterness fans will be pleased to note that there’s plenty of that here too. This DIPA still has the ability to tell you that it’s a beer when you taste it, even though it looks like a glass of fruit juice.
In true Hop Burns & Black style, I also had to ask which of Paul and Søren’s favourite jams are currently getting airtime on their respective mobile speakers.
Søren: “Favourite jam to put on these days would probably be Super Rich Kids by Frank Ocean. Hip Hop for sure!”
Paul: “Totally depends on the crowd. It has to be something most folk within earshot will dig – with a number of the Cloudwater crew that’d often be Disclosure’s Caracal album, or Stormzy’s Shut Up. 80s classics rouse most people into song, Fetty Wap’s My Way and Trap Queen is never far down the recently played list - but neither is Avril Lavigne’s I’m With You either!”
Matthew Curtis is the UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and you can also find him on Twitter @totalcurtis. You can pick up Mobile Speaker DIPA in store or online while stocks last. Look out for our own new third anniversary collaboration with Cloudwater, HOP, which launches at our birthday party at the Brick Brewery taproom on Friday 24 November.