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Beer Bouquets for Discerning Drinkers 

Fat Tire and 10 Barrel release "collabrewtive" 12-packs

Collaborative craft beer variety packs simplify summer drinking decisions. Photo from 10 Barrel Brewing.

Collaborative craft beer variety packs simplify summer drinking decisions. Photo from 10 Barrel Brewing.

Local beer fans looking for extra variety are being spoiled for choice this summer. The 2016 version of Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp Across America 12-pack has been out for a little while now, offering everything from a light table beer to an imperial brown ale in the same package—and in a few days, two more breweries will release similar packages in Central Oregon.

First on the market is the Fat Tire & Friends Collabeeration Pack, released to celebrate the 25th birthday of Colorado's New Belgium Brewing. It's a 12-pack case offering two bottles each of six different beers: the plain old Fat Tire amber ale that turned New Belgium into the regional behemoth it is now, and five variations whose recipes were devised with five partner breweries, including Hopworks in Portland.

Some of the Fat Tire & Friends beers have already popped up on tap walls around bend, including the Fat Pale Ale made in collaboration with Rhinegeist Brewing in Cincinnati, Ohio. The subtle ale, made with Belgian yeast and a fair amount of fruity hops, is good for all the outdoor drinking to come during Bend's busiest season. For a more experimental experience, try the Fat Wild Ale from Avery Brewing, made with Brettanomyces yeast, and Hopworks' own Fat Sour Apple Ale, a tart and fruity take on the original that would have been hard to picture on store shelves back when Fat Tire debuted in 1991.

Not to be upstaged, 10 Barrel is now shipping Battle of the Beers, a 12-pack featuring brews from each of the brewery's three pubs. The idea is that the brewmasters at each pub are at war with each other, and drinkers use social-media hashtags to vote for their favorite out of the box in order to crown a brewing champion. Hashtag users have a chance to win a free party at the pub of their choice.

Bend is represented by Cerveza Negra, a dark lager that has been available in the local taproom for awhile now. Although challenging to brew, it is the lightest of the bunch, offering crisp, malty refreshment. The Portland pub offers Dat Sesh Doh, a session IPA that is equally approachable at 5.2 percent alcohol. If this sounds a little wimpy, fret not: Shawn Kelso from the Boise 10 Barrel contributed Category 57, a 10.4 percent monster of an IPA featuring Galaxy and Calypso hops. Check battleofthebeers.10barrel.com for more info.

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