In 1988, Jeff Lebesch was riding his bike through the villages of Belgium, most likely a little wobbly as he visited brewery after brewery in search of inspiration. When he returned to the States, with the help of his marketing-savvy wife, Kim Jordan, Lebesch launched New Belgium Brewing Company in 1991 with a beer whose name you probably already know: the Fat Tire. Five years after opening in Fort Collins, Colorado, former Rodenbach brewer Peter Bouckaert was brought on to launch New Belgium’s sour program. Since then, New Belgium has continued to expand its sour beer production, including the well-loved experimental Lips of Faith series and the new cork and cage Wood Cellar Reserve series. In conjunction with our Lodge Meeting with New Belgium tonight, Peaks and Pints presents the all-day sampler Craft Beer Crosscut 1.18.17: A Flight of New Belgium Brewing Co.
Felix, the base sour used as a base blend for classics such as La Folie, Transatlantique Kriek, Le Terroir and other New Belgium sours, finally receive its due notoriety with its own releases. Felix Aged in Apple Whiskey Barrels is a single-foeder golden sour ale aged in apple-flavored whiskey barrels from Leopold Bros. Distillery 14 months in Foeder No. 33. It tastes like a whiskey apple pie with moderate barrel notes and tartness. Delicious.
8.5% ABV, 43 IBU
What started as a homebrew recipe more than 27 years ago then tweaked two years ago to parallel new developments in hop and malt manufacturing New Belgium’s flagship Trippel opens with a bold blast of spicy Noble hops, courtesy of Saaz and Hallertau Mittlefruh, and gives way to the fruity aromas thanks to traditional Belgian yeast. Brewed with Pilsner and Munich malts, Trippel hits the nose with honey, caramelized white sugar, lemon, floral, orange and barnyard before delivering candied sugar, honey, banana, clove, candied citrus peels and white pepper deliciousness.
5.5% ABV, 35 IBU
As part of New Belgium’s revamping efforts last year — a new line of hoppy beers under the Voodoo Ranger trademark — Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale is the lightest of the lot. Yes, the skeleton ranger on the label is all smiles over the eight hops in this craft beer — Nugget, Centennial, Cascade, Nelson Sauvin, Amarillo, Mosaic, Simcoe aendee Citra ´— but there’s plenty on the malt side to keep things balanced. Although it smells like mango, it hits the tongue with mostly pine, some citrus rind and plenty of hop bitterness on the backend.
7% ABV, 50 IBU
When it comes to releasing new beers, New Belgium Brewing didn’t hold back. The Fort Collins, Colo.-based brewery released seven new beers last year, including Voodoo Ranger IPA brewed with Nugget, Cascade, Simcoe, Chinook, Mosaic and Amarillo hops. This blend of hops hits the nose with crisp citrus peel, and tropical fruit before coating the tongue with orange peel, grapefruit flesh, mango, cantaloupe and toasted malt.
6.2% ABV, 55 IBU
Designed for a light bodied beer for colder weather is New Belgium Accumulation White IPA. It’s a style that offers the hoppy bitterness of an India pale ale and the body, color, spices and citrus qualities of a Belgian witbier, or white beer. The witbier itself is a style that dates back more than 400 years. Witbiers are commonly unfiltered, and because they are made with a high percentage of wheat, are a cloudy pale straw color with a smoother, creamier mouthfeel. Accumulation follows the style with four bold hop varieties giving it a tropical flavor with a nice, bitter balance. Nugget and Centennial hops along with a dry-hopping of Mosaic and Amarillo hops all accumulate for a delicious white IPA.