De Proef has brewed four Brewmaster's Collaboration Series beers in the past, one each with Tomme Arthur (Port), Jason Perkins (Allagash), John Mallett (Bell's), and Brian "Spike" Buckowski (Terrapin). For the 2011 version, Philly Beer Week Executive Director Don Russell took an idea to Alan Shapiro of SBS-Imports (the annual liaison between the brewery and the American brewers) and the planning of a PBW collaboration beer took off.
According to Russell, it only took a few beers worth of discussion with Alan and then pulling Tom Peters into the conversation to get the ball rolling on this very exciting idea for publicity and fundraising.
It's hard to tell if Mr. Curtin likes this idea or not, but I for one think it one of PBW's more ingenious ideas.
The idea seems to be a win for everyone. ~ De Proef is associated with the original and, arguably, most successful Beer Week ~ a local brewer gets his name attached to the beer and nationwide attention ~ a local beer drinker gets a free vacation and the chance to rub mash paddles with brewing celebrities (or do a lot of grunt work) ~ PBW raises money for its coffers ~ a good reason for a pre-PBW party in November at McGillin's.
Okay, so everything above was written prior to the PBW bash last night at McGillin's. We now know that the winning brewer was Brian O'Reilly from Sly Fox and he'll be accompanied to Belgium in February by Jason Kramer to brew their concept of a porter with Dirk Naudts of the famed De Proef Brouwerij near the town of Gent.
The crowd was almost wall-to-wall in the upstairs room of McGillin's last night and they came from near and far to party and for a chance to win the trip to Belgium.
Brewers were there. Owners, too. Reps, distributors, homebrewers, fans, and other hoperati were as well. "Regulars" from Hulmeville to Grey Lodge to Teresa's Next Door descended upon the historic McGillin's. An early estimate shows close to 1,000 ballots in the ballot box. Final counts and total dollars raised will be available by the end of the week.
Everyone was there, well, except for not only the winning brewer but the winning entrant too, which made for a bit of an anticlimatic ending to the event. Apparently Kramer submitted his absentee ballot via the mail and the system certainly worked out for him.
If you'd like to see a 4 minute clip of the drawing and announcement, check out the video and just picture the joy on Kramer's and O'Reilly's faces.