Friday, May 17th, 2019

Craft Beer Crosscut 5.17.19: A Flight of New Belgium Beer

Ron Swarner


Beer flights in TacomaIn 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. New Belgium has built a mini-empire on the success of that amber. Fat Tire set the precedent for the line of delicious and mouth-watering beers New Belgium brewed as they evolved from basement experimentation to internationally acclaimed brewing. 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. In conjunction with our Cruiser Bicycle Giveaway with New Belgium tonight, Peaks and Pints presents the all-day sampler Craft Beer Crosscut 5.17.19: A Flight of New Belgium Beer.

Craft Beer Crosscut 5.17.18: A Flight of New Belgium Beer

New-Belgium-Single-Foeder-Felix-TacomaNew Belgium Single Foeder Felix

8.5% ABV

In 1995, art student and homebrewer Eric Salazar started at New Belgium when its wood program was still in its infancy, and almost nobody knew what the brewery was doing. Although Salazar was originally hired to work in New Belgium’s packaging department, it wasn’t until he sipped the inimitable Boon Kriek, Brasserie Fantome’s 1998 Black Label Saison and Cantillion that he knew sours were his destiny. Within a year he was in the cellar, cold side brewing, when he wasn’t researching sour beers. He went on to eventually running the brewery’s sour and wood program, including brewing New Belgium’s Single Foeder Felix, which is a golden sour acidified in a single French oak foeder with big lemon, lime and starfruit aromas dancing with citric acidity and a slightly sweet finish.

New-Belgium-Passion-Fruit-Kolsch-TacomaNew Belgium Passion Fruit Kölsch

4.3% ABV, 13 IBU

New Belgium Brewing’s Fruit Kölsch is the second release in the Colorado brewery’s Up Next Series. Passion Fruit Kölsch pours a bright, pale yellow with aromas of passion fruit, guava, and tropical punch. This medium-bodied beer is moderately sweet throughout, weaving in a slightly tart middle before finishing with a flash of bitterness. Brewed with passionfruit juice, this is a New Belgium take on an American-style fruit beer.

New-Belgium-Fat-Tire-TacomaNew Belgium Fat Tire

5.2% ABV, 22 IBU

Fat Tire is amber. It’s the definition of amber. Think tree sap oozing from between the bark. A thick, buttermilk head rises to the top, leaving tight lacing along the edges of the glass. The aroma was appropriately nutty, almost bready, like a walnut loaf fresh out of the oven — an aesthetic that matched the rich warmth of the color. To round out the experience, the nuttiness continued on the tongue, with a smooth and light texture that compliments its malty notes.

New-Belgium-Voodoo-Ranger-Juicy-Hazy-IPA-TacomaNew Belgium Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA

7.5% ABV, 42 IBU

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA pours pale orange with an opaque haze and bright white head. Thanks to a blend of Citra hops combined with Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe and Nugget, vibrant lemon, orange, guava and pineapple notes are balanced with a light grassy and caramel-like malt aroma giving the beer a sweet start that transitions into a smooth, bitter flavor. The soft, velvety mouthfeel wraps up with a pleasantly clean finish.

New-Belgium-Juicifer-IPA-TacomaNew Belgium Juicifer IPA

7.7% ABV, 50 IBU

New Belgium Brewing has an Voodoo Ranger Rotating IPA Series releaser, Juicifer IPA — a riff off the hazy IPA style, brewed with Citra INCOGNITO™, Galaxy and Chinook hops. It pours a hazy golden pale, with a sweet, slightly citrus-y start giving way to subtle sourness before finishing with a potent hop punch. Aromas of guava and pineapple dominate this medium-bodied beer.