Widmer/OBC Collaborator Competition

Welcome to the Collaborator competition. This is your chance to participate in creating a successful commercial beer in collaboration with the Widmer Bros. Brewing Co. It’s a serious event, and a high honor accrues to the winner(s). But it’s not about eliteness, it’s about the beer.

Collaborator Program Continues with Changes

Noel Blake

Can you answer these Oregon Brew Crew trivia questions?

What Portland brewery sponsors the Collaborator program?
Answer: Widmer

In what year was the first Collaborator beer released?
Answer: 1998

What was the first Collaborator beer?
Answer: read on, the answer is below

Pecking numbers into your smartphone, you quickly calculate that the Collaborator program is now old enough to legally order a beer.  For the 21st birthday of this program, we are making changes to bring us back to the origins of the competition:

  • Best of Show format: there will be only one winner selected.
  • One entry limit: each brewer or co-brewer is allowed only one entry.
  • Smaller batch size: Widmer will brew the winner’s beer in one or more 5 barrel batches.

What stays the same? 

  • Open styles: no BJCP judging guidelines used
  • Only current OBC members are eligible to enter
  • Widmer pays for ingredients up to five gallons
  • Must provide the full recipe of the beer entered

What should you enter?  

Widmer has specifically challenged the Oregon Brew Crew to come up with “one memorable beer.”  This takes us back to our roots when Collaborator Milk Stout was released to local pubs as our inaugural beer.  Winner take all, memorable beer.  Check, and check.  If any homebrewers can do as well, you OBC brewers can.

And now, the fine print ...

What do you get if you win?

Widmer will produce your beer recipe.  You will participate in planning and executing the beer, from recipe consultation to attending the brewing session to finishing the brew.  You may also get to participate in repping the brew to local pubs and organizing your release party.  Or, your beer may be placed in a festival, which might include some P.R. work on your part.  You will also receive the coveted Collaborator jacket embroidered with your name (limit: one per winning entry).  For each barrel sold, Widmer will make a donation to the Oregon Brew Crew Bob McCracken scholarship fund at Oregon State University’s fermentation sciences program.

Competition Dates:

The competition is taking place on June 5
th. Entries should be dropped off at Steinbart's by Fri. May 31st.  Late entries will be accepted on Sat. June 1st if they are dropped off at Steinbart’s by 11:00.  Winners will be announced by the following OBC meeting.

Eligibility and Entry Limitations:

All current Oregon Brew Crew members are eligible.  Each member may submit only one entry as brewer or co-brewer.  Entries must be brewed on a home brewing system, including the OBC pilot system.  Entries brewed in a professional brewing facility (brewpub, you-brew) are not allowed.  (If Yoda met Spock, who would own the other?)  OBC members working in a professional brewing facility are welcome to enter as long as the beer is a homebrew.

Widmer will pay for the ingredients for one five-gallon batch of beer per entry under the following conditions.  The ingredients must be purchased at Steinbart's and direct-charged to Widmer's account upon presentation of your current Oregon Brew Crew membership card.  There will be no reimbursement from receipts.

Entry Packaging:

We need a minimum of two 33cl or 12 oz. (or larger) bottles for the competition, one for the preliminary round and one for the best of show round.  You may substitute one 22 oz. or larger bottle, however that is not recommended because you will not have a fresh bottle for the best of show round.  We also need two more bottles for a lab analysis at Widmer that is
mandatory should your beer be selected.  (Jedi powers do not work on Vulcans)  Widmer cannot brew the beer without the lab.  If you submit four bottles at entry time, you will receive a complementary lab analysis from Widmer even if you do not win.  This is an optional, free benefit to Collaborator participants.

All entries must be packaged in competition-ready bottles as required by any other OBC-sponsored competitions.  A paper containing the following entry information should be affixed with rubber bands with the following information: Name of brewer(s) from online entry, mobile number, and complete beer recipe (if not entered on-line).

Entry Information:

Entry registration will be on-line at http://collaborator.oregonbrewcrew.org/  

The following information is required:

  • Recipe information, including both ingredients and techniques.
  • Name of brewer(s) and contact information (mobile phone number preferred).
  • Name of beer.
  • Description.  This is what we will be judging the beer against.  You may reference a known beer style.  Keep it brief.  Examples: “hoppy gin barrel hazy strong lager”, “Imperial Session IPA”, “Apple Pie Saison”

Beers are evaluated without reference to BJCP style guidelines.  The winner will be a memorable beer.  The judging will be held at Widmer and be performed by a diverse group of brewing industry professionals, beer writers, and BJCP judges.

Recent winners of the Widmer Collaborator Competition


Jodi Campbell - Vanilla Pale Ale

Rodney Kibzey - American IPA aged on Spanish Cedar

Max Tieger - Stout (with coffee, chocolate, and vanilla)



Brian White - Session Red Rye

David and Mandy Hayes - Robust Farmhouse Ale

Rodney Kibzey - Rauchbier



Brian Haslip - American Amber Ale w/Honey and Smoked Hops

Chris Hummert - Tropical Stout

Chuck Macaluso - Strawberry Kolsch


Dwight Monohan - Happy Session Saison

Sean Sanders - Raspbeery Lemonade - Summer Wheat with Raspberry and Lemonade

Jeremie Landers (w/ Jenn McPoland) - Czech's Mex International Light Lager - Light Lager with Czech Pilsner Yeast



An article by Laurie Yadon entitled “Portland Collaborator Project” is listed in the table of contents of the March/April 2010 issue of Zymurgy as that issue’s “Online Extra”, which can be read on the AHA website. Thanks for a great article and great exposure for the Collaborator Project, Laurie!

Please email broken links or website suggestions to webmaster@oregonbrewcrew.org
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software