by the D&C
What’s the old saying about too many cooks in the kitchen? Well, revise it with brewers, and transpose it to the Genesee Brew House on Cataract Street in Rochester, and you have the new 585 Brewers Collaborative.
Brewers from 10 Rochester-area breweries didn’t run into this issue. Instead, the late June brew day resulted in their first-ever collaborative beer. The 585 Brewers Collaborative India Pale Lager made its debut at last week’s Flour City Brewers Fest.
Brewers from Genesee Brew House,CB Craft Brewers,Knucklehead,Lost Borough,Naked Dove, Roc, Rohrbach, Stoneyard, Swiftwater and Three Heads teamed up for this beer. It’s meant to highlight the spirit of teamwork and cooperation these breweries hope will build Rochester into a true craft beer hotbed.
“Everybody in this 585 Brewers collab wants to be here,” said Dean Jones, brewmaster at the Genesee Brew House. “We want to make Rochester a beer destination. It’s gonna happen. It already is. Everybody shares, because that’s how everybody learns.”
The brewers made a 20-barrel batch at the Brew House. Soon, the beer will be available at each of the participating breweries. It will also be on draft at each of Genesee’s 20 Tap It Forward accounts in Rochester. (Tap It Forward is a program designed to benefit local charities. A portion of all sales go to a designated charity. Jones and his assistant brewer Ryan Brady craft something different and then the beer is made available to 20 different craft beer destinations in Rochester.)
Using Genny’s resources and technical know-how, the decision was made early on to brew a lager. And then the design of the recipe was left to each of the brewers not named Jones.
“We’re really just in it to make good beer. We’re really just in it to help,” Jones said. “And we want to have fun doing it.”
The IPL comes in at 5.85 percent alcohol and 58.5 IBUs (international bittering units). It features a crisp, clean finish with a nice lingering bitterness. That’s derived from fresh whole cone Nugget hops from Bluebell Hopyard in Farmington, Ontario County. There is also a healthy addition of Huell Melon, Mandarina Bavaria, Hallertau Blanc, and Crystal hops. It’s a fun mix of new and old school.
Monthly 585 brewer meetings formed the bedrock of this partnership. Brewers have been meeting regularly over the past year to share experiences and resources. Roc Brewing co-founder/co-owner Chris Spinelli helped organize this venture.
“This is a validation of everything we’ve been working on to bring this community together,” Spinelli said. “We hope this creates a lot of traction and excitement. I think there’s so much more to come as this grows.
“We all love each other. We’re all great friends. We’re all working hard to make some amazing beers.”
And participation in this collaboration is just the beginning. There are plans for each brewery to craft its own 585-inspired beer. That will most likely be accomplished by using local ingredients. The best one will be determined (though how is still under discussion). Then another 585 Brewers Collaborative beer will be released.
Jones said he would also like to see the production scaled up to a 500-barrel batch at the big Genesee Brewery and then released in six-packs for consumption. By embracing the craft community, Genny is embracing local.
“Really, truly, we love Rochester. We wanted to get back in touch with this community,” Jones said. “We are always willing to help and lend a hand. The community is very small here still. It’s not like Portland (Oregon) where there are almost 286 breweries within the city limits. We have 13 (in Monroe County). But it’s getting better, getting strong every day.”