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All Together Collaboration Beer and Sigma Brewing Benefit Service Industry Workers


We’re all pretty dang talented, and that talent deserves a quick pat on the back, but nobody deserves a pat on the back more than our friends over at Sigma Brewing.

One, two, three, four
Can I have a little more?
Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten
I love you

If you’re wondering why we’re starting an article with some offbeat version of mal-aligned British Haiku it’s because you’ve got some listenin’ and learnin’ to do when it comes to The Beatles, but we’re not here to lecture you on your music taste.

We are here, however, to lecture you on your beer taste and your philanthropic taste. And we have absolutely Z E R O shame about it.

Let’s just be real, y’all. This shit is weird.

We’re all washing our hands enough to bleed at the knuckles, praying enough to hurt at the knees, and spending enough time on our phones to hurt our thumbs. Let’s not forget how impressive it is that some of us have added homeschooling, job-searching, interior design and renovation, landscaping, and being a full-time personal chef to our already full 40-hour workweeks, and somehow we still have time to eat three times more snacks than we did 2 months ago.

We’re all pretty dang talented, and that talent deserves a quick pat on the back, but nobody deserves a pat on the back more than our friends over at Sigma Brewing.

When they were propositioned with an opportunity to give back to the service industry that’s suffering so badly right now, not only did they jump at the chance, they actually adjusted schedules and re-allocated funds to do so with Other Half Brewing of NYC via the All Together collaboration beer.

What started out as an invitation to a few select breweries like Trillium, Monkish, Side Project, Alvarado, The Veil, and none other than Houston’s own Sigma, has spread like wildfire among some of America’s most influential and experimental breweries. Anybody who’s ever had anything ill to say about Sigma is now eating crow. These are bucket list breweries on this list, and Sigma was one of the first to be reached out to.

But we digress.

The call to action is simple. Breweries will brew an all together collaboration beer and donate the money from the sales to service industry professionals that are in desperate need of help.

Sigma was like, “Yup, we’re in.” What ensued was a wave of compassionate breweries committing to making killer beer to support the service industry in a way that has never been done before in the history of ever.

Another of our favorite breweries, Baa Baa Brewhouse was like, “Bet. Us too. Let’s do this.” Other friends in Houston followed including SpindleTap and Urban South HTX, and still others in Texas like Celestial, True Vine, Panther Island, False Idol, and Turning Point from the DFW area, Bear King (no relation to Tiger King of course), Double Horn, Jester King, and Infamous from the Austin area, and Black Laboratory, Roadmap, and Kunstler from the San Antonio area.

Not only do we get to benefit from the glorious beer that’ll come of it, we get the opportunity to put our money where our mouth is when we say we love our city, and so does everybody else around the world.

When we first started writing this article, Sigma was one of a dozen or so breweries in the country to metaphorically link arms, and now there are over 450 worldwide on the All Together collaboration beer roll call with more being added almost daily.

We had to take a moment to shine a spotlight on them for being the first in Houston, so we sat down with them (way more than 6 ft apart of course) to ask them a few questions about how their approach and role in the all together collaboration beer.

Lots of Houston breweries are already getting in on this collab. Whose are you most excited to try?

It’s really awesome to see so many people embracing this. We want to try them all. What’s neat about collaborations like these is that everyone puts their own spin on it. They use their process and technique to create beer the way they do.

How about nationally?

Again, all of them. But realistically, I think we would want to try the original recipe from Other Half the most. There are so many great breweries involved that we would like to get our hands on as many as we can.

Talk about the recipe. What’s it look like? How will yours be different than others?

We’ve changed the malt a bit by adding some oat malt to replace some of the flaked oats because of its protein content and flavor contribution.

Our water is built similar to our other hazy beers, and from a hop standpoint, it was already really solid and used some of our favorites. We had some HBC 586 hops that we had allocated for another project, but decided to add those to the mix as well.

Those experimental hops are described as mango, guava, lychee, and citrus, and so far, the beer is tasting that way.

What’s the story behind the artwork?

Other Half provided the basic label design and asked each brewery to put their own spin on it, just like the recipe.

We decided to use a portion of the background of our crowler design because we feel like that’s something that embodies our design taste.

We are also just lamenting how difficult it is to get a hold of crowler cans right now, and maybe seeing that design on a can will help us feel “normal” again.

The beer industry is already so so so collaborative by nature. Why do you think it takes a global pandemic or a historic wildfire to get a big collab like this going? How could this be a seasonal thing just cuz, God willing, there’s no huge disaster motivating it?

I think it’s because these types of things reiterate what is important. Not that we don’t inherently know that already, but so many of us get caught up in our day-to-day.

For us, it’s the next release, or the equipment upgrade, or bills and payrolls, etc. But when these horrible events happen, I think the world reminds us that so much of what we do and get caught up in every day are not the things that actually matter.

We are all hurting and need to support each other, and we feel the empathetic need to help. It is what makes us human.

For brewers, we pretty much [only] know how to make beer, so if we can use that skill to help others, then it’s a no-brainer.

As Sigma has grown, we’ve tried to work to help charities, specifically in our neighborhood, the Second Ward. Baker Ripley is an organization that we love to support because they focus a lot of their efforts on the neighborhood just around the brewery.

It’s always important for us to ask ourselves how we can better help others, and I think that when things like this happen, it reminds us that we could always be doing more.

But I agree, I think it would be awesome for us to do some collaborations that also have a philanthropic agenda. When we band together as an industry, we have a really strong voice that can be used to affect change and that’s something we should acknowledge more.

(I believe) y’all were the first in Houston to hop on this collab, right? Is it because you’re using the same agency as Other Half? If not, why do you think y’all were the first?

A couple of weeks before the collab launched, we were approached by Stout Collective on behalf of Other Half. They pitched the idea to us and asked if we would be willing to help them launch the collab alongside Other Half, Side Project, Monkish, and a lot of other breweries that we have come to admire.

They were hoping to have someone represent Texas and the Houston area. Stout has a pretty close relationship with Other Half, and though we’ve never met the guys from Other Half in person, the connection and philosophy seem to match up well.

What made you decide to participate?

I think we all feel a certain camaraderie being in this industry together, so for a lot of us, it is a no brainer to want to contribute back.

These times are sad and stressful and uncertain for everyone, and we’ve never seen the hospitality industry so gravely affected. We know so many people that are struggling, and we felt like we could either just hunker down and watch out for ourselves, or take a great opportunity to do something to contribute to relief.

We reached out to the Southern Smoke Foundation and asked them to list them as our beneficiary for this release and to contribute 50% of every 4-pack to them to use to support hospitality professionals.

Everything else goes to raw materials and getting our employees paid.

Are you looking to make a beer that stands out? Or just be involved? Both?

We just want to be able to contribute a substantial amount of money to Southern Smoke and have people walk away with a beer they are happy to have [while] knowing that their money is going to a good cause.

What all goes into a collab of this nature?

Lots of logistics. Lots of communication.

For those of us participating, we were working on sourcing ingredients for a while before everything was announced. There were shortages and shipping hurdles that needed to be navigated as the country started to realize how to deal with COVID-19.

Luckily, we have some great suppliers that really helped us get the things we needed. Country Malt and White Labs – thank you.

(The answer is already yes but) Do you see yourself collaborating with Other Half again?

We would love the opportunity.

Who isn’t doing it yet, but you wish they would?

I hope that everyone can do it. Things are hard out there right now, and something like this might not fit into the emergency plans for everyone.

I don’t think any brewery owner out there imagined a situation in which they couldn’t operate their taproom for months at a time, so everyone is going to be doing what they need to do to ensure their future.

That being said, this collab is designed to support anybody in the industry that needs help. The beer-drinking community in Houston is so caring, and we always see such a powerful response when it’s time to support a good cause.

I’m proud to live in a city that is so giving, so I would urge anybody on the fence to do it, because you know that Houston has your back. And we do also.

When will your pilot batch be ready?

Hahaha, we already drank it, but the full-size batch will be ready for pickup on May 1, with a presale going live on our online store.

In conclusion, this is a part of beer history that you’ll want to be a part of, and it’s bigger than just the beer.

You’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t. See if you can catch ‘em all like a true Pokemon master. While you’re out at Sigma collecting your haul, stop by 8th Wonder for a mini keg. They’re right around the corner!

Thanks, and beers to you, Houston.

Beer Chronicle Team
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