Elysian - Bale Breaker Citra SlickerElysian and Bale Breaker Collaboration

The most successful collaborations, whether by breweries or other entities, are those which combine a known element from one collaborator with that of another, combining bits of identity and mastery in a single twining of creative chromosomes. When we heard that the folks at Bale Breaker Brewing from Moxee, Washington, in conversation with some of our Elysian folks at the MBAA conference in Hood River had cooked up the idea of a collaborative brew, we pretty unanimously thought “Wow.”

Elysian is no stranger to collaboration. We’ve done a bunch of them, and they’ve all been fun. Maybe our experience with working together is the main thing we brought to the party with Bale Breaker. I mean really–do they need any help putting together a beer using wonderfully fresh hops from Loftus Farms, the family business from which Bale Breaker sprang two years ago? Because of course that was the core idea, to confer on a recipe for a pale ale absolutely packed with wet Citra hops. And Bale Breaker had never done a collaboration before. Well, we’d never made a beer with hops whose journey from picking barn to brewery lasted about five minutes before, either. Sometimes the things that seem most obvious are the ones that are best offered to others.

The brew was a blast. Elysian brewers Dick Cantwell and Steve Luke arrived at Bale Breaker at six a.m. in time for mash-in, and almost immediately headed over to pick up the hops. The vines were loaded, the belts turned, and the bins were filled with firm and damp Citra cones. Back at the brewery we all packed mesh game bags full of about seventy pounds each. These were for the kettle. Fast forward to preparations for post-boil knockout and we loaded the hop back with enough Citra nearly to reach the top. By the time the lupulin had settled we’d used something over seven hundred pounds. Brewers Kevin Quinn and Kevin Smith, Meghan Quinn, and the rest of the BB crew, were fabulous and generous hosts.

We eagerly await the arrival of Citra Slicker (the name was chosen to poke fun at the ridiculous notion that the Elysianites brought a dose of sophistication to the project with the rurally entrenched Bale Breakers). Dick was back in Yakima a week or so later with Airport Way brewer Markus Stinson for hop selection, and they stopped by Bale Breaker to visit both the extended Smith family and the beer we’d all made together. Preternaturally pale, with (of course) an arrestingly fresh essence of Citra, it’s just really really good. Look forward to it yourself. It’ll be available at the Bale Breaker tasting room in Moxee, all the Elysian pub/restaurants and wherever else Washington publicans have been lucky enough to procure it.

-Dick Cantwell
Head Brewer