Ska Brewing hosted brewers from Sweden’s Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri at Ska’s world headquarters in Durango, Colo. 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 United States, 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 in Denver April 9.
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 United States, though they both speak English fluently. After a 26-hour travel day on Monday, they arrived at Ska Tuesday morning energetic and ready to brew. Ska representatives are sharing 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 will travel 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.
“Craft beer is becoming very popular in Sweden, like here, and Swedes are very curious about new beers,” said Ericsson, Nynäshamns’ head brewer. “In the U.S., many brewers started in the ’80s, and in Sweden it wasn’t until the ’90s, so Swedish brewers are looking to the U.S. because you are about 10 years ahead of us as far as the craft beer scene.”
The Swedish brewers also collaborated with Dogfish Head in its hometown last year, producing a beer called Kvasir, part of Dogfish Head’s popular Ancient Ales series. The official release party for Wipa Snapa will feature representatives from Ska, as well as Dogfish Head Founder Sam Calagione, pouring both Wipa Snapa and Kvasir.
The White IPA style is a hybrid of the Belgian witbier and India Pale Ale styles, resulting in an unfiltered and well-carbonated beer brewed with a large proportion of wheat, and featuring spices and a strong hop presence. “Wit” means “white” in English, so-called because of the unfiltered yeast and wheat proteins that give these beers a hazy, white color.
The Wipa Snapa features ingredients from both Colorado and Sweden, including Sea Buckthorn berries — a tart, refreshing berry native to Scandinavia — and Chinook hops from Paonia, Colorado’s High Wire Hop Farms. The beer was also brewed with juniper berries, representing the high desert south and west of Durango, and substituting for the orange peel and coriander spices traditionally used in Belgian wit biers. Wipa Snapa, when completed, is projected to come in at 6 percent ABV.