Breweries across the country have come together for the greatest union in the history of craft beer. For this year’s American Craft Beer Week (May 16-22), 4490 small and independent breweries from all 50 states collaborated on a single beer.
The one beer to rule them all, named the Biggest Small Beer Ever Made, was then brewed in more than 100 breweries. Paul Ogg, a teacher and co-founder of Declaration Brewing in Golden, CO, created the beer’s original recipe. Ogg, an influential brewer in the area, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lymphoma last year and never commercially brewed this porter recipe he crafted.
Members of the Brewers Association were planning on a campaign to give the middle finger to major beer corporations and the idea was floated to have breweries simultaneously brew a single beer. One of Ogg’s partners at Declaration was already planning to collaborate with several Denver breweries to honor Ogg.
The ideas merged and the national campaign began.
“The unity and collaboration behind the Biggest Small Beer Ever Made shows brewers believe that the success of other independent brewers is their own success,” said Julia Herz, the craft beer program director for the Brewers Association.
Two Jacksonville breweries decided to join in the collaboration, Zeta Brewing Company and Intuition Ale Works. The recipe called for ten different grains and produced a smoky, oatmeal porter said Zeta Brand Representative Taylor Hill. Brewers then made the recipe their own in a subtle manner.
Zeta’s Head Brewer Chris Prevatt added cherries to the recipe for a unique tartness to offset some of the beer’s natural chocolate flavor. The beer was lighter than most porters, more resembling of a brown ale. It wasn’t on a menu, but ask and they’ll know.
In an interview with USA Today, Ogg said he hopes to make it to Declaration Brewing for a taste of his beer. He also wants to visit friends at other breweries in the Denver to sample their unique versions of the beer.
“It’s amazing to think that this is happening,” said Ogg. The national campaign, which can be found at #MakeSmallBeerBig, isn’t being used as a fundraising source but rather to quietly honor a key player in the craft beer movement.
So, get out and try the Biggest Small Beer Ever Made (or any craft beer) and raise a toast – not to just a brewer but an innovator, a teacher, a husband, a father of two, a fighter.