I went looking for a beer in Leeds the other week. Not a difficult task, you might think, but I wanted one in particular: a Farmhouse IPA, by local boys Magic Rock in collaboration with the Norwegian brewery Lervig.
Alas, it proved difficult to find. Only North Bar, that beer-lovers' mecca on New Briggate, had some. But it was worth the traipsing about: a combination of punchy American hops with plenty of spicy, more-ish yeast character.
Partnerships like this have been part of the US brewing landscape for years, but not so much here. It reflects not only US craft brewing's congeniality, but also its creativity. Can you imagine two Bordeaux winemakers getting together?
There's much more fun to be had with beer, anyway. Take 'Cool as a Cucumber', made with cucumber and mint fermented with Saison yeast for a dry finish. Brewed by Fyne Ales and Wild Beer Co, it's intended to be the perfect summer drink.
A spirit of creativity typifies the best breweries. It pops up unexpectedly: JD Wetherspoon, for example, regularly fly international brewers in to work at British breweries and the results can be superb, like 'Tea Leaf Gunnamatta IPA', made by Kiwi brewers' Yeastie Boys at Adnams in Southwold.
The Suffolk Brewery also paired up with Camden Town, when the latter's Australian head brewer worked with Adnams to produce South Town, an Aussie-hopped red ale.
The only problem with collaborations is they don't hang around for very long.
Three to try
Magic Rock /Lervig: Farmhouse IPA
Powerful grapefruit hop flavours give way to a funky, sourish yeast character; 6%, £2.99 for 330ml, alesbymail.co.uk
Fyne/Wild Beer Cool as a Cucumber
Plenty of cucumber and a touch of sourness make this a perfect summer afternoon drop; 2.9%, £6.72, beerritz.co.uk
Siren/Cigar City Caribbean Chocolate Cake
This is a big, complex beast, with cocoa to the fore; 6.5%, £4.60 for 330ml, beermerchants.comReuse content