In the past few years, collaboration beers have moved beyond brewers to include musicians, ice cream makers, coffee roasters and other craft industries. What is it about these non-traditional collabs that make great beer? And what do the non-brewers have to gain from taking part in the process?
I had an opportunity to chat with Nathan Lampson and Brad Blaser, marketing gurus at Fort George Brewery in Astoria, Oregon and with Larry Crane, record producer and founder/editor of Tape Op Magazine in Portland, Oregon about their process behind their new collaboration beer, Overdub Ale, and a great line-up of musicians who will be performing at the Overdub Ale launch party later this month.
Click here for more info on the release events!
RB: Fort George has a history of collaborating with non-brewers to make beer. How do you choose your partners? What do partners from outside the brewing industry bring to the process that helps make creative beers like Overdub?
Fort George: Our rotating seasonal can has always been a collaborative project. From Tender Loving Empire, to Coava Coffee Roasters, to Suicide Squeeze Records, Fort George likes to work with independent and creative people doing cool things and having fun doing them. Fort George has always seen the collaborative process as a chance to learn.
RB: The name of the beer, Overdub, has a specific meaning in sound recording. How did you come up with the name? And what is the connection to the beer and it’s flavor profile?
Larry Crane: I think Nathan [Lampson] suggested the name “High Bias” and we thought that was a funny reference to cassettes – it became the working title until my wife, Jenna Zine, suggested it could be seen as a negative thing, as far as the prejudice usage of “bias.” I sent an email to Nathan and Brad Blaser and “Overdub Ale” was the first alternate idea I had. In recording, an overdub is when you add layers of instruments over existing tracks, like recording a vocal over an instrumental track. I guess as a beer it’s meant to be consumed during overdub stages (though I never drink in the studio). I also liked that Overdub makes me think of overboard, and of course Fort George Brewery is in Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia River, and there’s a lot of water around! I also like that the beer is named after part of a creative process. Note that this is a "session IPA” and studios host recording sessions. More fun word play!
Fort George: Definitely Overdub IPA has layers. From the huge tropical hop aromas when you first pop the can, to deep grapefruit and mango flavors and the citrusy finish - it’s a low ABV beer, but it’s loaded with hop intensity.
RB: Larry, you’re a busy guy editing a magazine and running a recording studio, why was it important to you to do this project?
Larry Crane: When I moved to Portland in 1993 I worked at McMenamins for three years and enjoyed being around beers, and I also traveled to breweries like Rogue and Full Sail to check out what they were working on and see the breweries. I still visit breweries when traveling around Oregon, and because I was recognized by Brian Bovenizer during a Fort George tasting visit this beer collab happened!
I was into the Tender Loving Empire and Suicide Squeeze collabs they had done before, and it’s an honor to be invited. I got to pick the rough idea for the flavor, and that was super fun to me. I like bitter, clean hop beers, and I like to put back a few pints, but a lot of the hoppy beers these days are over 6% alcohol. This is a 4.5% beer, so you can have a couple! I think that at the end of every recording session it’s always time for a good beer.
RB: Tell us about the release party for this beer. I hear Larry’s invited some of his friends in bands to play a show. What’s going on?
Larry Crane: There was already a show planned with Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Summer Cannibals, and Sun Angle. I’ve recorded the first two bands and members of the last. I had invited The Minders to be involved so we added them to the bill and called it a beer launch! I produced the new Summer Cannibals album, “Show Us Your Mind” and the upcoming Minders album as well.
Fort George: Fort George and Tape Op will be at Bottles in Portland on Saturday, April 18th for a tap takeover. Overdub IPA will be on tap for the very first time, along with a few other Fort George IPAs.
On April 25th, you can come down and share a pint with Tape Op at Fort George Brewery. Then, it's the big show in downtown Astoria. Thanks to Larry, and with a lot of help from our own Brian Bovenizer, we were able to invite some amazing bands out to the coast for the Overdub IPA Release Party.
Everyone here is so pumped for this show. Astoria is well known for it’s history, scenic landscapes, and now breweries, but it’s great to see the burgeoning art and music scene really coming to life. Collaborations with people like Larry Crane certainly help make that happen.
Saturday, April 18th - Fort George Tap Takeover at
5015 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR
Headliner: Overdub IPA
Featuring: The Optimist, Vortex, Beta IPA 8 Series, OMEGATEX
Saturday, April 25th - Live Music presented by Fort George and Tape Op at
1114 Marine Dr, Astoria, OR
8pm, Doors at 7:30
21+ $8 cash only
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
There you have it, folks. The story behind one of 2015’s great new collaboration beer releases. Get your coolers ready and grab a sixer of Overdub Ale. This session IPA is perfect for t-shirt weather and days hanging out by the river—all while listening to your favorite summer mix.
Rachel Bell is responsible for marketing at Overcup Press, publisher of The Field Guide to Drinking in America. To learn more about Overcup's other titles, visit the Overcup website.