Originally conceived by the folk at Siren Craft Brew the Rainbow Project is now into its third year and it has cemented itself as event not to miss. What is it? Why is it so special? Special one off craft beers, amazing atmosphere and lots of new things are some of the answers. Basically it is a celebration of uniqueness, collaboration and good times.
What is the Rainbow Project? It is an event dreamed up by the folks at Siren Craft Brew where they conjured up the idea of seven UK brewers pairing up with seven brewers from another country to then draw a colour of the rainbow out of a hat and then have roughly a year to develop and brew a collaboration beer that is related to the colour that they have drawn. The first year produced the legendary 'Yellow Belly' from Buxton and Omnipollo in the UK and Scandinavia collabs. Last year had the UK team up with the US and from that creative mix out popped Violet Underground a transatlantic wild ale from Firestone Walker and Wild Beer Co. This year it was the turn of the land of the long white cloud (New Zealand) to step up to the plate. The pairings came together to bring up the following offerings:
Red - Beavertown and Parrot Dog - Universal Mind - Adambier
Orange - Burning Sky and Liberty Brewing - Descent into the Maelstrom - Barrel aged NZ pale ale with pink grapefruit and orange zest
Yellow - Magic Rock and Fork Brewing - The Upside Down - Rainbow yellow ale
Green - Hawkeshead and Yeastie Boys - Kai Moana - Gose
Blue - Wild Beer Co and 8 Wired - Black and Blue - Raw and Charred Barrel aged sour
Indigo - Siren Brew Co and Garage Project - Blacklight Banana - Banana and Molasses Stout
Violet - Partizan - Royal Ale - Barley wine with Riesling Juice
Suffices to say that I took advantage of all the beer being included in the ticket and quenched my thirst with some gusto. Not only did I have the collabs I also went after Sourbet Raspberry & Lemon Berliner Weisse from Fork Brewing, Halfway to Whangarei Grissette from 8 Wired, Orange Boom from Siren, Her Majesty 2015 (a beetroot beer) from Yeastie Boys and Sauvignon Bomb from Liberty Brewing. They were all magnificent and I would love to see some more Kiwi beers available here in the UK as they are really punching it up a level with their unique hops.
For me the beer of the event was the Black and Blue a Raw and Charred Barrel aged sour from Wild Beer Co and 8 Wired Brewing, they took the wort straight from the mash and without boiling shoved it into the barrel for fermenting, it was simply amazing and to get the sourness they probably used the classic sour mash technique where a typical mash is conducted and then kept warm for a few days after inoculating with Lactobacillus or by sour kettling which is where you perform a normal mash sparge the grains and then add the souring microbes before boiling, or in this case putting into the fermentation chamber.
I love this event and with the world currently being focused on isolation and separation we need to have things where collaboration are put centre stage to show that together we can make things which are greater than the sum of their parts. For me this is what the Rainbow Project delivers in keg loads and it should be celebrated and applauded much more widely than it currently is.