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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ten Years of Collaborator

John Foyston has a very nice post about the Collaborator project, which turns ten this year (the first beer was released in January, 1998):
The partnership, known as the "Collaborator Project," began in the spring of 1997 when members of the Oregon Brew Crew lamented the fact that there were many outstanding beer styles that were not being brewed by their local breweries. As a result, Kurt and Rob Widmer, members of the Oregon Brew Crew themselves, invited members of the home brewing club to work with the Widmer Brothers Brewing team in identifying and creating the unique beers they felt were missing. 2007 marks the Collaborator Project's 10th anniversary.
He also includes a list of the beers produced in the Collaborator project, along with the names of the brewers. You'll see some familiar ones--Noel Blake (writer, brewer, man about town), Ken Johnson (whose Scotch Ale is now made in his microbrewery), Preston Weesner (maestro of the recently-concluded Holiday Ale Fest), Brian Butenschoen (Director, Oregon Brewers Guild), and more.
01/22/98: Milk Stout - Jeff Brinlee, Jeff Langley, Ken Bietschek
02/12/98: English Brown - Scott Sanders
00/00/98: Belgian Dubbel - NA
05/05/99: Belgian Wit - Noel Blake, Martin Wilde
10/28/99: Hallucinator - Gary Corbin, Mike Rasmussen
12/20/99: La Vie - Martin Wilde
02/28/00: Bermuda Schwartz - Eric Dana
05/16/00: Pre Prohibition Lager - Curt Hausam
12/22/00: Steel Bridge Porter - Noel Blake
08/30/01: HB 25 - Mitch Scheele
12/14/01: Hop Nation - Matt Hollingsworth
03/07/02: Fearless Scotch Ale - Ken Johnson
10/09/02: Sled Crasher - Noel Blake
01/24/03: Moore Fearless Maibock - Ken Johnson, Preston Weesner
11/13/03: Saul's Stout - Ingmar Saul
04/08/04: Saison Christophe - Bill Schneller, Chris Johnson
12/06/04: Alpenhorn Vienna Lager - Mitch Scheele
03/25/05: Hopnosis - Brian Butenschoen
00/00/05: Zephyr - Dan Schultz
10/06/05: Lagerhead Pilsner - Bill Schneller, Chris Johnson
01/06/06: Big C Stout - Craig Edwards
00/08/06: Ember Ale - Jamie Dull
00/03/07: Continuum Brown - Scott Sanders
00/07/07: Rawkin Bock - Noel Blake
00/09/07: Cascadian Dark Ale - Patrick Miller
I was just starting my stint as Willamette Week beer writer when this project began, and I remember what an innovation it seemed like--not to mention a slightly dangerous thing for a commercial brewery to undertake (what if the Collaborator beers were better; what if they sold more; what if ... ?--these are the kinds of questions marketing asks, usually dooming ventures such as these). One of the main movers and shakers of that era was Bob McCracken, a lively, healthy advocate for homebrew who took me out for more than one beer. Gary Corbin, writing in an email, tells what happened next:
Then-OBC President Bob McCracken and Rob and Kurt Widmer originated this program back in the late 90's. The scholarship was named for Bob after his untimely death at the young age of, I believe, 38, in the last scheduled month of his OBC stewardship.
As a result, the proceeds from the project that go to a scholarship fund at OSU are now named in his honor--the Bob McCracken Scholarship Fund.

It's been a wonderful experiment, and I hope this is just the first of many decades of good beer to come.


  1. "I was just starting my stint as Willamette Week beer writer...."

    Somebody PAID for YOUR opinions and expertise on beer and beer culture!!

    WOW, WW must have been desperate!


    Gotcha ya!