DURANGO — Ska Brewing Co. representatives visited Sweden in May to brew a beer with Swedish colleagues and try the North Atlantic surfing.

Ska began distributing in Sweden two years ago after its most popular beer, Modus Hoperandi India Pale Ale, became the first-ever listing for a canned craft beer with the Systembolaget, Sweden's alcoholic beverage monopoly.

Ska is Durango's largest brewer.

Ska's Arlo Grammatica and head brewer Thomas Larsen will also be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Oliver Twist, a Stockholm bar known for its selection of American craft beers and owned by the same partners as Great Brands, Ska's distributor in Sweden. According to the Brewer's Association, Sweden is the second-largest export market for U.S. craft brewers after Canada.

The local brewers are making an imperial pilsner with Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri, a small and growing Swedish craft brewery whose relationship with Ska began at the Stockholm Beer and Whiskey Festival last year.

"We don't believe in collaboration just for its own sake," said Grammatica. "But when they told us that they surf the open ocean in the North Atlantic, it was clear to me that this was going to be a key relationship in the Swedish market. Building relationships is the key, no matter how many adventures I have to go on to do that."

Added Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri's Marcus Wärme: "We're looking forward to mixing our approach and knowledge with Ska's. They started with the same love of beer, and have done the same hard work of building a business and a brewery. We live on the sea and they live in the mountains, but the guys at Ska aren't that different from us. We're putting in great elements from each brewery, and we think the outcome will be just as great."

Ska has previously brewed collaborative beers with Avery Brewing Co. of Boulder, Colo., and Durango's Steamworks Brewing Co., among others.

Chuck Slothower can be reached at cslothower@daily-times.com; 505-564-4638. Follow him on Twitter @DTChuck.