You know, I really do like New Belgium as a brewery. Although they’re picked on a bit by snobbier beer geeks, I think they make a lot of solid, basic offerings that are often good values for where they’re priced. I’m not talking about Lips of Faith series beers. I’m talking about year-rounders and their constantly rotating seasonals, which seem to be replaced by new ones on a yearly basis. It’s a little confusing.
Because they seem to be a good value, I find myself buying New Belgium beer on a fairly regular basis in Central Illinois. I’m just a sucker for getting a good deal–when I go to my local brew store, the NB offerings are there on the shelf for $7.99 per six pack, even for things like the Abbey Ale or Tripel. Compare that to $11.99 for everything from Bells for example, and the choice is easy. I may find their beers to be of “pretty comparable” quality, but there’s very little that could make me buy a similar six-pack for 12 bucks when I could get it for eight.
And so, my willingness to drop money on New Belgium means that I end up trying most of the seasonal releases. The most recent is the Red Hoptober, which i assumed (fairly, I think) to be a hoppy American red ale when I caught it on the shelves. I’m not sure that descriptor is all that accurate, however. Tasting note follows:
North Carolina Brewers Guild Director and honorary Alehead Win Bassett checks in to discuss the announcement that New Belgium is building a new production facility in Asheville. We talk about differences from the Sierra Nevada expansion plans, proposed LEED certification, and reactions from NC brewers and drinkers as their state becomes a focal point for craft beer in the eastern United States. At the end, Slouch’s Alehounds make a surprise appearance, only adding to the professional nature of this episode.
Use the audio player to stream this episode in your browser:
The boys are back on a historic day in the craft beer revolution as New Belgium finally commits to North Carolina. Then they get drunk and talk about a bunch of really interesting stuff. If you like beer, that is. Stuff like:
I don’t usually go out of my way to try new beers from New Belgium, but in my central Illinois city there is very little beer variety in the local liquor stores (I go out-of-town to stock up). On Super Bowl Sunday I found myself browsing through the usual suspects at the local store, and decided to go with novelty instead of reliability in picking up a six pack of New Belgium’s new “Belgo” Belgian IPA. After sampling it, I’m happy to say that I don’t regret the decision.
New Belgium Belgo, Belgian India Pale Ale:
NOTES: 12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.
APPEARANCE: Somewhere between straw and gold, very clear and pretty, with a finger and a half of pillowy foam that mostly faded in about five minutes.
NOSE: Very funky and “Belgian-y,” with aromas of straw and banana in particular, and maybe some black pepper. The hops do not come through strongly at all for something with IPA in the name. Read the rest of this entry »
“Plays Well With Others” -Beerford’s Pre-School Teacher
I was merrily shopping away at my local bottle shop when I ran across a new collaboration brew that excited me to an embarrassing level. Turns out that Stone Brewing, Elysian Brewing and The Bruery have collectively created a beer together called La Citrueille Céleste de Citracado. I actually haven’t consumed it yet (I’m saving it for something special), but this beer reminded me that collaboration really seems to be all the rage these days. Though I’m pretty psyched to see these breweries working together, I think we can do better. So, fellow Aleheads, let’s see if we can improve on this near-perfection: Tell us what two breweries would you like to see create a collaboration together? Further, please describe (and, of course, name) the beer you would like to see them create.