A while back, friends Michael Perozzo of ZZoom Media of Vancouver and Loowit Brewing owner Devon Bray were talking – probably over a beer – when they got back to revisiting a topic they had casually broached months earlier.
“I was telling Devon I was headed to Seattle Beer Week in a few weeks, and I was like, ‘It would be cool if we did our own thing on this side of the river,’” Perozzo recalled last week.
“I thought, wouldn’t a Southwest Washington Beer Week be a cool thing to do?”
That idea was the genesis of North Bank Beer Week (northbankbeerweek.com), a celebration of Southwest Washington beer, with events in and around the area from Sept. 22-30, several of which will serve a special collaboration beer.
Not just any collaboration beer, mind you.
This wasn’t two or three brewers who got together to come up with a beer for the event – it was actually 20 who gathered at Heathen Brewing one morning, coming from Long Beach, Kelso, White Salmon, and, of course, Vancouver to collaborate.
“I think it was a really important part, it really brought the brewers together. The response was amazing. And to pull it off so fast, tells me there was a need for it,” Bray said. “The collaboration brew is a good way to introduce what beer week is, and it’s a great way to start that foundation of community amongst the brewers.”
The result was a dry-hopped imperial oatmeal brown ale that weighs in at about eight percent ABV (alcohol by volume), which will first be available at the North Bank Beer Week kickoff event on Sept. 22 at Kiggins Theatre.
How did the brewers come up with a style of beer in a short period of time?
“It started with a massive email chain among a lot of people,” Bray said. “We first picked a style, with everyone throwing out ideas. With the recipe development … we took input from everyone on what kind of malts and hops we wanted. The base recipe got sent out to the group and it went over great.”
Fans can get their hands on the beer at the kickoff event for Beer Week, as Great Western Malting Co., one of the sponsors of North Bank Beer Week, purchased every seat at Kiggins Theatre for “Vancouver Breweries Unite 4 Give More 24!” on Sept. 22, where 10 breweries have partnered with 10 charities to raise funds.
Bray is excited for North Bank Beer Week, and encouraged by the possibility of what the event can become in the future.
“I want to see this become a big unifying force for the breweries and community, bringing everyone together with lots of interaction between the brewers and the customer,” he said.
“We live in this community. We want people to know who makes their beer. I also see this growing and blossoming into an even bigger event that people anticipate each year,”Bray added.
For a complete list of North Bank Beer Week events, visit www.northbankbeerweek.com/events.