Craft breweries throughout the U.S. are looking to get a leg up on their competition with original beer flavors. Meanwhile, local bakeries are seeking partnerships to help build brand awareness. It makes sense, then, that breweries and bakeries would be a natural fit for collaboration.
In recent years, collaboration beers have exploded onto the scene at craft breweries. The idea of incorporating one business’s recognizable flavor into another format is simple, but the work behind creating these beers is complex.
A variety of baked goods can make for interesting inclusions in beer. Take, for example, Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Rise Bagel Co. Earlier this year, the bagel shop teamed up with the city’s Modist Brewing to make beer out of its bagels.
The collaboration came about when the Rise team learned about a Northern California distillery making whiskey out of bagels. They approached nearby Modist and brainstormed a concept that would taste great, ultimately deciding on a lager.
“We discussed everything from the Polish origin of the bagel to our most popular bagel flavors,” said Rise co-founder and bagel master Kate Lloyd. “We played with the idea of infusing rosemary, one of our top sellers. We considered a toasted porter, which would play into the natural, toasted flavors of the baked bagel seeds.”
The end-product, “No Bagel Wasted,” featured the essence of every classic Rise bagel flavor: Plain, Salt, Poppy, Sesame, Rosemary, Whole Wheat, Onion, Everything, and Whole Wheat Everything. To make the lager, Modist collected nearly 150 pounds of bagels unsold at the bakery to be ground into a flour, which formed the malt bill for the beer. It was then infused with White Clover honey for a sweet and lightly toasted finish.
Beer collaborations also work well with sweet goods. For instance, Brewery ARS in Philadelphia worked with the city’s iconic donut shop, Federal Donuts, for a breakfast stout to honor Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers’ beloved mascot.
The two released “Gritty Gruel” in November of 2018. Brewed with donuts from Federal Donuts and hopped with cold brew coffee, the beer’s essence was inspired by Gritty’s manic expression.
“[Gritty] looks like he/she is hopped up on something,” said Brewery ARS co-founder Sean Arsenault. “In all honesty, we have so many fans swing by the brewery before and after games that we are really doing it for them.”
Across the state of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh, local institution Prantl’s Bakery recently looked to turn its beloved almond torte dessert into an ale. The bakery partnered with Platform Beer Co. for “Torte.” The blond ale had a relatively high alcohol content, which gave it an almost rum cake-like taste.
“Torte” was made available at Pittsburgh-area craft beer stores, supermarkets, and other retailers in mid-April for a cost of $15.99 for a four-pack of the 16-ounce cans, which sold out quickly in many areas due to high demand.
These team-ups work especially well as limited-time offerings, incentivizing customers to purchase them before they’re gone. With recent successes all over the country, look for these partnerships to increase in the future.