A 30th Ride

30 years of craft brewing I saw certainly a wild ride so New Belgium is hopping up “Wild Ride Amber IPA: a hop-forward tribute to our OG Fat Tire.” Since it is Flagship February, would be a good time to have Fat Tire and compare it to Wild Ride.

Post Valentines Day

If you need to make up for last Sunday or if you just want to keep that party going, maybe some truffles are in order..

New Belgium has teamed with Enstrom Toffee and Confections on a line of truffles. Tripel, dark ale and Fat Tire and since it is Flagship February, you should probably get red wrapped treats.

Review – VooDoo Ranger 1985 Hazy IPA

Ahh, 1985. Let’s see if New Belgium can make the past and/or future hazy.

‘85 pours a well hazed yellow color with hints of orange. That aroma is big. Just opened a can of sliced pineapple big. Super juicy. The beer itself is pretty soft and fluffy. There is a streak of solid bitterness that I like as well as some berry notes. Leaning towards strawberry. But it is the pineapple that sticks all the way through.

Of the VooDoo’s, this is my favorite.

Cantwell has Landed


Seems like two lifelines have been extended to Magnolia Brewing of San Francisco. One from Belgium. And one from New Belgium.

Magnolia has been struggling in a crowded San Francisco (for that matter, California market) and will now have both more financial power as a triumvirate of majority owner New Belgium, with Elysian Founder Dick Cantwell and Belgian lambic producer Oud Beersel as minority partners take over the rein.

Cantwell will take over the brewing tanks in his first gig since Elysian was sold despite his objections.

Magnolia has two brewing locations on Haight Street and Dogpatch from which Cantwell will brew. Oud Beersel will add their spontaneously fermented beers from Belgium and plans for an SF coolship are in the works.

I can see how New Belgium and Oud Beersel would play well together but I don’t quite know how Magnolia’s line-up fits into the puzzle.

no. 65

I don’t know what is so special about foeder 65 but apparently it must have some good Oscar in it.

I do wonder what Missouri White Oak imparts into this upcoming New Belgium release.

And to add to the bounty, some single foeder Felix too….

Review – Fat Tire & Friends – Part One

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For round one of the Fat Tire & Friends Riff Pack, I separated out the hoppy + the one and only Fat Tire from the wild and sour group (which will be post two). This will test my reviewing because is the goal for the beer to be connected by a flavor profile or color or ABV to the original? Or do I review simply based on which tastes best?

Let’s get down to it and see….

1. Original Fat Tire
I have not had this beer in a long, long time but I sorta know what to expect. There is a little alcohol on the nose followed by a touch of honey sweetness that is balanced by carbonation. The grain flavor kicks in at the tail end but there is not much else here. Plain, simple and unadorned. Super tasty on a hot day in Los Angeles.

2. Collaboration Fat Pale Ale with Rhinegeist
This is a Belgian XPA according to the label. Pours really close to the same color as the OG. It manages the feat of starting out mimicking the Fat Tire before taking that Belgian turn. Banana and clove notes are prominent. Bitter but that is the lingering and not the main focus here. Fat Tire gets Hefe’d to me.

3. Collaboration Fat Hoppy Ale with Firestone Walker
Fat Hoppy Ale is a serious departure from the amber. Starting with the medium yellow color. Then the big difference hits. This is really hop forward. Grassy and fruity and really juicy with a touch of spice too. This is a wonderful session IPA/ Pale Ale but not really redolent of Fat Tire much. A killer hop combo for sure. I am digging this one.

On the which tastes best scale, with three beers yet to taste, I have to go with the Fat Hoppy but in the category of connection to Fat Tire, the Rhinegeist is the clear winner.

Beer Dinner Review – Lost in the Woods

I did not know that Pedaler’s Fork in Calabasas was not only a restaurant but also a bike shop and coffee spot as well. Plus it was the host of a beer pairing dinner with the challenging foudre based beers of New Belgium Brewing.
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Thanks to the generosity of New Belgium, I was able to learn more on the Art (and Science) of Beer and Food pairing with the challenging and damn tasty, sour beers from the Fort Collins Foeder Forest.

Course # 1 – Shrimp Pasta with Black Pepper Nage and Pea Tendrils paired with Transatlantique Kriek
This was an odd choice. The bright and tart cherry from the Kriek was dulled by the cream and salt of the shrimp and the pasta. The cherry didn’t get a chance to shine and would have been better served with a salad that had some cheese and nuts in it. The ravioli were quite good as was the sauce and the beer was fantastic (my second favorite of the night) but combined they just didn’t add anything.

Course # 2 – Braised Pork Shoulder with Charred Celeriac Puree and Dried Apricot Sauce paired with La Folie Sour Brown
Now this worked! The light touch of apricot with the pork really found a willing partner in the La Folie which added a tart bite and notes of barrel wood to the food.

Course # 3 – Chocoloate Mousse Cake with Chocolate-Blackberry Ice Cream and Blackberry Sauce paired with NBB Love
First off, this beer is beyond excellent. It was so good. Subtle whiskey mixing with tart and a bit of blackberry as well. The chocolate mousse was fine. But in comparison it was the undercard of the dessert course. I had the cake and had sips of the beers and it was fine but it didn’t light a fire. A blackberry sorbet or gelato with chocolate cookies might have been stronger.
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Kudos to New Belgium though for the thoughtful swag though. A really cool wood coaster with the Lost in the Woods logo, a napkin with the logo and a keychain bottle opener with wood and metal too. SO much better than a glass. Well done.

A New Gruit from New Belgium

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Looks like the Lips of Faith series is going strong in 2014 with a hop-LESS ale. Gruit is a seldom seen style but one that beer lovers should seek out to enjoy and round out their beer knowledge. Kudos to New Belgium for bringing this historical beer to a wider audience.

And for a quick history less the German Beer Institute website defines Gruit as, “Gruitbier was in its time, some 500 to 1,000 years ago, clearly the most common beer style in the world. Gruit is old German for herbs. Gruitbier was brewed both on the Continent and on the British Isles. Gruit (or herbs) is what most medieval brewers used to flavor their beers with before hops became a universal beer flavoring agent starting around the 15th century.

Ring in the Year with…

…the right glassware.

Beer afficianados, even the ones not into breweriana and collecting end up with pint glasses and tasting glasses and many other branded glasses but I sometimes wish that I had a complete set of craft beer glassware at the ready for every occasion.

And as much as I love promoting local and favorite breweries via their logo on a shaker pint, I do wish that I could have a set that really shows off the beer in color and aroma.

Something like this…..

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…from the Red Envelope website and made in Bavaria by Spiegalau.

    • stemmed pilsner glass has 15 1/2 oz. capacity and is designed with an open mouth for intense flavor release – ideal for stouts, Belgian style ales and pilsners

FOR MY Belgian Strong Monkish ale, Anomaly

    • grand pilsner glass has 15 oz. capacity and a slim elegant shape to channel dry hop aromas – ideal for light golden color pilsners such as German or Bohemian styles

FOR MY light and big hopped Lagunitas Sucks

    • wheat beer glass with 24 2/3 oz. capacity and a tall wide shape that allows for fluffy head – ideal for German wheat beer, Belgian whites and wheat ales

FOR MY Lomaland Saison from Modern Times

    • lager beer glass with 19 3/4 oz. capacity and classic lager shape – ideal for powerful IPAs, pale lagers and English strong ales

FOR MY  Fresh Hop (and Salmon Safe) IPA from New Belgium

Ranger Station # 1

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Count me as a big fan of New Belgium.  All it took was a tour of their massive brewery and I was hooked.  Now to add to their legacy which includes a coming brewery back east is a bar and eatery in Snowmass Village, near Aspen. If you are a skier, it is located at the base of the mountain.

The New Belgium Ranger Station is in a 750-square-foot space which can barely contain the flavor in their beers. Oh and they have at least three Lips of Faith beers on tap!