Beer In Situ: New Belgium

We find ourselves spending a lot of time in brewpubs, brew places, breweries, and tap rooms now that we are doing the visa waiting game for our next move abroad. It’s amazing to have so many places available to us in the Front Range of Colorado. Every time I come back from living abroad, new places have opened and new beer is waiting to be discovered. This time, we went to New Belgium in Fort Collins!

The Pertinents

The Liquid Center
The Liquid Center

Their Self-Description

New Belgium Brewing Purpose Statement

To manifest our love and talent by crafting our customers’ favorite brands and proving business can be a force for good.

newbelgium.com 

Handmade Tables
Handmade Tables

The Space

The Liquid Center is amazing. Exactly what craft beer is supposed to be about, with open windows to the brewery, bursting with ‘cool schwag’ (biking jerseys, keychains, growlers, etc.), and handmade art on the walls.

The only problem is that it’s taken nearly three years for me to be able to bring my husband here. The hours are limited. They are closed on Mondays. I’m almost certain that this is due to New Belgium’s strong commitment to prioritising employee welfare and happiness. That’s my favorite thing about the company, but I’d happily tend bar after 6 PM if I was lucky enough to work for them!

One more interesting thing was the amount of women working for New Belgium. The company began with a married couple, and being in the tasting room was exciting for a beery woman like me. So many women so passionate about beer!

Core Range Beers
Core Range Beers

The Beers

You can check which beers are on tap when you visit by clicking here!

Tasting Notes

We tasted almost everything on tap, but I’m going to do a selection of favorites.

Slow Ride 

  • Style: Session IPA
  • Geekery: 4.5% ABV, 40 IBUs , Color = Light and caramel-y
  • A perfect session IPA. Not any of that ‘session’ nonsense that some places claim a 6% ABV beer to be here in Colorado. Grassy, lemony, and balanced. Characteristic clean yeast of New Belgium. Despite the low ABV, there is a whole hell of a lot of hop character (eight different varieties!).
  • Overall Rating: 4.5 pints (out of five pints)

Shift  

  • Style: Pale Lager
  • Geekery: 5.0% ABV, 29 IBUs , Color = Pale Golden
  • Light, leafy, and a slightly bitter aftertaste. More complex than an average lager, but so balanced and tasty that it brought memories of German Reinheitsgebot lagers. This is not some average, watery light lager. This has (great) taste.
  • Overall Rating: 4.0 pints

1554

  • Style: Black Lager
  • Geekery: 5.6% ABV, 21 IBUs , Color = Dark Brown
  • This beer’s aroma is complex and had a tiny hint of woodsmoke or peat, almost like a Scotch whisky. It’s a single-hop black lager, fermented at a slightly higher temperature than normal. This makes for a complex taste, with caramel and fruit flavors mixed into tea and rich tobacco. A tiny hint of anise on the finish.
  • Overall Rating: 4.0 pints

LIPS OF FAITH 

Cocoa Mole   

  • Style: Spiced Chocolate Porter
  • Geekery: 9% ABV, 20 IBUs , Color = Dark Brown with creamy head
  • A consumate example of the Colorado Belgian ale scene. In part because of New Belgium, these styles are hugely popular and have tended to dominate Colorado craft beer. Cocoa Mole smells like Horchata and tastes like rum raisin cinnamon bread. At the smooth finish, a tiny bit of heat from chilis or black pepper comes through. Amazing blend of Belgian style with the Latino heritage of Colorado.
  • Overall Rating: 5.0 pints

Oscar Worthy Coffee  

  • Style: ‘Dry-Beaned’ American Wild Ale
  • Geekery: 6.3% ABV, negligible IBUs , Color = Light Brown
  • Take a sour beer. An actual sour beer, none of this ‘tart’ crap that some breweries without souring experience are trying to pass off as sour lately. Lactobacillus ageing all up in there. Now dry-hop it with coffee beans. The result is this surprisingly flowery, funky beer. The bitterness of the coffee balances the sourness. Put it on nitro, and this is my favorite offering from New Belgium. Of course, it might make some people cringe because of the sourness.
  • Overall Rating: 5.0 pints
    Not expecting a coffee beer to be sour!
    Not expecting a coffee beer to be sour!

Wild2 Dubbel  

  • Style:  Wild Dubbel ale, spiced with schisandra
  • Geekery: 8% ABV, 30 IBUs , Color = Dark Toffee
  • At first sniff, this could easily be Westmalle’s Dubbel. Very characteristic of the style, which goes back centuries in Trappist monasteries. On first sip, this is a MEGA-Belgian. It’s funky, with flavors of dark fruit and tartness from the wildness of the fermentation (definitely some happy Brett in there). All I wrote in my notes at first was, “Wow.”
  • Overall Rating: 5.0 pints
Happy Tasting!
Happy Tasting!

The Munchies

There was a food tent outside the Liquid Center on the day we went, and the poor guy was sitting in the cold of Colorado ‘Springtime.’ Fortunately, it looked like New Belgium were paying him partially in beer.

Russ attempting to pair LOF beers with one another.
Russ attempting to pair LOF beers with one another.

Russell’s One-Line Review

“But where’s the kebab?”

Next Time: My hometown Brewery. But for reals. Maybe even a weekend post. See all the Beer In Situ posts in one place!

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