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February 11, 2022

Maine beer makers team up for a good cause — their own

man in front of shelves of wine and  beer File photo Sean Sullivan is executive director of the Maine Brewers' Guild.

In a competitive market where Maine breweries are always working to differentiate themselves, 52 of them have teamed up to release the same beer under the same name.

The collaboration is an effort to raise funds for the Maine Brewers’ Guild.

In 2020, 44 breweries participated, raising $27,000 to directly support the guild. This year, 52 breweries are participating and the initiative is expected to raise nearly $34,000. 

The Maine Brewers’ Guild Collaboration IPA v2 will be available on draft, in cans, and bottles throughout February and March. 

The guild, a nonprofit that serves the craft beer industry in Maine, will use the funds to support its operations, Executive Director Sean Sullivan told Mainebiz.

Normally the guild raises funds through festivals and dues. But with the pandemic the festivals have been impossible to host.

“This beer is a celebration of the collaborative spirit that has kept Maine brewers strong throughout the pandemic,” Sullivan said. “So many people have discovered craft beer in the past five years, and what they love about it is the way we all work together. When we all brew the same recipe, it keeps that spirit alive and supports our industry.”

While the recipe is the same, each Collaboration IPA v2 will have its own unique taste, as many brewers add their own twist to the recipe. 

For example, Foundation Brewing Co. used the basic recipe but fermented the beer using lager yeast. Woodland Farms Brewery is brewing a non-alcoholic version. Bateau Brewing in Gardiner split the batch, fermenting one with a traditional IPA yeast, and the other with a yeast that produces lactic acid to make a sour IPA.

“The beauty of this whole thing is that some will be really juicy and hazy and taste like tropical fruit. The others will add their own twist,” Sullivan said.

“We chose to brew the beer to support the Maine Brewers Guild and the entire Maine brewing community,” said Jamie Blood, founder of Corner Point Brewing in Kittery. “Without all the guidance, support, and insight from the other brewers, as well as the support of the best guild around, I wouldn’t be able to do what I love for a living.”

The industry’s collaborative spirit spreads beyond taprooms and to the entire supply chain, with hop growers and maltsters donating ingredients to make Collaboration IPA v2 a reality.

Crosby Hop Farms of Oregon and Yakima Chief Hops of Washington, along with two Maine-based maltsters, Blue Ox Malthouse in Lisbon and Maine Malt House in Mapleton, donated the hops and malt needed to brew the IPA.

A New Hampshire based label company, Amherst Label, stepped in to help brewers reduce costs for printing their labels.

“We love doing the MBG Collab for a couple reasons,” said Gale White, founder of Lubec Brewing. “While we brew a lot of different styles of beer, the MBG Collab is way outside our comfort zone in terms of hops variety and quantity. Our regular customers love being introduced to the ‘radical’ beer styles of southern Maine and our visiting customers find comfort in a really hoppy IPA.” 

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