The Rainbow Project began in 2013 as the brainchild of Siren Craft Brew's head brewer Ryan Witter, with the aim of bringing together seven of their favourite breweries from the UK, all of which were assigned a colour and were asked to brew a beer loosely based on that colour. The 2015 event has just taken place and was a collaboration between seven UK breweries and seven US breweries. The results were something magical.
In 2013 the theme for the event was IPA. The seven UK brewers; Siren Craft Brew, Partizan, Buxton Brewery, Brodies Fabulous Beers, Magic Rock, The Kernel and Hawkshead were asked to brew an IPA influenced by the colour which they were assigned. That might be an ingredient or technique etc. but the colour must play an influential role.
The 2014 edition was the first edition to include a collaboration element. The collaboration brews were the work of UK brewers and their European counterparts, including Evil Twin. The pairings were: Magic Rock and Evil Twin (Denmark), Beavertown and Naparbier (Spain), Buxton Brewery and Omnipollo (Sweden), Hawkshead and Lervig (Norway), Partizan and Mikeller (Denmark), Wild Beer Co and Toccalmatto (Italy) and Siren Craft Brew and De Molen (Netherlands). Again the colour theme was present, but the brew could be whatever you wanted.
Now in its third outing the collaboration theme remained but it was with brewers from the US instead of Europe. Along with showcasing the seven special beers, the US breweries arranged for some of their own brews to land in the UK to make the events even more special. The collaborations and brews this time round were: Magic Rock and Cigar City (Cigarro Roja Magica - Red IPA), Buxton Brewery and Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co (Deep Rainbow Valley - Soured Orange juice Saison age on Gorse flowers), Partizan and Prairie Artisan Ales (Real Time Saison - Kaffir Lime, Lemongrass and Grapefruit zest Saison), Hawkshead and Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project (Key Lime Tau - Natural yogurt kettle-soured lactose infused Golden Ale), Siren Craft Brew and Surly Brewing Co (Blue Sky Blue Sea - Seaweed and Cloudberry Gose), Beavertown and Dogfish Head (Ajna - Oak Barrel Fermented Wild Ale) and Wild Beer Co with Firestone Walker Brewing Co (Violet Underground - Cross-Atlantic Wild Ale). All the beers were spectacular, very unique and really pushed the boundaries of what we could expect from innovative brewers. My top three beers for the day were the Deep Rainbow Valley with sour Orange and mild coconut flavours, Ajna which was so sour it made my face pucker for a good 5 minutes and Cross-Atlantic Wild Ale that was so tongue curling that I could lick my own tonsils!
This was a wonderful event and I can't wait for what the 2016 edition has in store!