It is very encouraging to see that the same spirit of cooperation and community I have observed amoung the beer geeks also to a large extent applies to the craft brewers. I don’t follow the North American scene enough to give any intelligent observations, but here in Northern Europe there are new projects all the time.
The best example of this is probably Mikkeller. Mikkel does not have a brewery of his own, so he is totally dependent of finding like-minded breweries where he can brew his beers. Hitting the market right now are variations of the Beer Geek beers aged in Islay and Bourbon barrels. These have been brewed at Nøgne Ø in Norway, while I believe BrewDog have helped them find whisky barrels for the purpose.
Mikkel has also brewed quite a few beers at De Molen in the Netherlands. Menno from De Molen, on the other hand, has visited Haandbryggeriet in Norway, and the first collaboration brew is called Menno and Jens. It was pre-released on cask at Håndverkerstuene in Oslo last week.
This is a historical recreation of beers before hops were widespread, using various herbs instead. An interesting experiment, which I encourage you to try when it turns up in bottes – but on the other hand I think I prefer hoppy beers..
Haandbryggeriet has an impressive list of beers being launched this winter and spring including a Smoked beer, a crowberry beer and two beers brewed on lingonberries and currants fermented with lambic and wild yeasts. And they have started importing rare stuff, too – we can look forward to more De Molen beers, for example.