This Is What Happens When 100 Brewers Make the Same Beer
America has over 4,000 breweries all brewing distinctly different beers. But in a show of unity among the craft beer community, over 100 of those breweries, including one from all 50 states, have brewed a single recipe – billed as the Biggest Small Beer Ever – in honor of this year’s American Craft Beer Week.
Among the list of participants are names you probably know, like Left Hand and SanTan, and plenty you probably don’t (like most of the rest). But despite the relatively short turnaround time for the concept, which will premiere on draft at the participating breweries when American Craft Beer Week begins nationally on May 16, CraftBeer.com, who sponsored the project, said getting brewers involved in all 50 states wasn’t a problem. “I know that hardly any of the participating brewers had the time or space to brew another beer, but all of them said, ‘sounds like fun’ and ‘count me in’ – no questions asked,” said Andy Sparhawk, Craft Beer Program Coordinator at the Brewers Association.
The beer itself, a loose interpretation of an Imperial Porter, has a story of its own. “The recipe came from Denver’s Declaration Brewing. Dr. Paul D. Ogg, Quality Control Manager at Declaration Brewing, created it in his homebrewing days, and it’s often described, by him, as ‘chocolate toffee yumminess,’” explained Sparhawk. “Paul is fighting peripheral T-cell lymphoma, and has been for over a year now, so the beer also supports a beloved member of the craft brewing community.”
But ironically, what makes the idea of the Biggest Small Beer Ever Made so cool isn’t how similar every iteration is, but how different they can be. Since each version was brewed independently at different facilities across the country, every batch will potentially taste slightly different based on variations in how the beer was brewed. Unfortunately, since the beer is only available on draft, tasting all 100 plus of those variations would be nearly impossible unless you planned one of the most epic beer road trips of all time (which is not a terrible idea).
Still, if you can get your hands on a pour of the Biggest Small Beer Ever Made at a few different locations, it makes for both an interesting taste experiment and worthy support of independent brewers everywhere.