Ska hosted brewers from Sweden’s Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri at Ska’s World Headquarters in Durango in late January. Lars “Lasse” Ericsson and Marcus Wärme traveled to Colorado to brew a collaborative beer with Ska, a White IPA called Wipa Snapa.
The international collaboration comes less than a year after Ska brewers and representatives traveled to Nynäshamns, a city south of Stockholm, to brew a collaborative beer there called Skatkobben. While Skatkobben was released only in Sweden, the new Wipa Snapa collaboration will be released here in the U.S., after a sneak preview at the Colorado Brewers Guild “Collaboration Fest” on March 22, and an official release party at the Craft Brewer’s Conference (CBC) in Denver April 9th.
The Ska/Nynäshamns relationship flourished after Ska attended the Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival in 2011, and realized that they shared a love of the outdoors and general adventure with their counterparts from Nynäshamns. It is Ericsson and Wärme’s first trip to the U.S., though they both speak English fluently. After a 26-hour travel day, they arrived at Ska energetic and ready to brew. Ska representatives shared a little Colorado mountain culture by taking Ericsson and Wärme skiing at Durango Mountain Resort, after an early-morning duck hunting outing. At the end of the week they traveled to Denver with Ska’s Arlo Grammatica to visit other breweries and take part in a “Pints and Pipes” promotion at Denver’s Cheba Hut. (Only in Colorado.)
With a U.S. craft beer scene that many consider to be setting the standard for innovation and quality worldwide, many European brewers and consumers are looking to the U.S., both for existing beers and for new ideas. This turns the old dynamic–in which Europeans were known for producing quality, flavorful beers, and the U.S. was widely mocked for its dedication to mass-produced light lagers–on its head.
“Craft beer is becoming very popular in Sweden, like here, and Swedes are very curious about new beers,” said Nynäshamns’ Lasse Ericsson. “In the U.S., many brewers started in the 80’s, and in Sweden it wasn’t until the 90’s, so Swedish brewers are looking to the U.S. because you are about ten years ahead of us as far as the craft beer scene.”
The Swedish brewers also collaborated with Dogfish Head–a Delaware-based craft brewing powerhouse–in Sweden last year, producing a beer called Kvasir, part of Dogfish Head’s popular “Ancient Ales” series. The official CBC release party for Wipa Snapa, “The Swedish Invasion,” will feature representatives from Ska and Dogfish Head Founder Sam Calagione, pouring both Wipa Snapa and Kvasir.