Most beer geeks are familiar with collaborations; two or more breweries produce something unique, usually in small batches and highlighted by individual touches that define the beers brewed by each party. The folks over at Washington Beer Blog have a post up about an unusual collaboration; avid homebrewing enthusiast Chris Ray is working with Seattle craft brewery Fremont Brewing on Homefront IPA and it will be available at Safeco Field starting July 29th and at beer bars and grocery stores at some point afterward.
The beer will be brewed with bats donated by Louisville Slugger, some whole and some cut into chips. When the finished product is kegged and bottled the whole bats will be autographed by Mariners players and auctioned off with the proceeds going to Operation Homefront, an organization dedicated to supporting military families in times of financial need. Adding wood chips to flavor beer is a fairly standard practice for craft breweries, but the manner in which it's being done by Ray and Fremont Brewing is a nice touch.
I'm a beer nerd myself, and a huge fan of Fremont Brewing. They haven't been around for too terribly long having been founded in 2008 but their brews can be found at watering holes all over town and the Urban Beer Garden located in the front room of the brewery is usually bustling. Not only do they make great beer, they're dedicated to sustainability and using locally produced ingredients, giving the company a very Cascadian feel. It's great to see the Mariners embracing the project, and I can't be alone in being excited to have a chance to give it a try.