• Let's talk GABF, the Pro-Am Division and Colorado Hoppy Red

    Friends it is, once again, time for the biggest beer party of them all. The Great American Beer Festival is back, meaning that thousands of the best (and many of the rarest) beers in the country are, right now, at this very minute, in Denver. New Belgium is no exception; we've got a whole host of crazy beers we're taking to the Festival. We're also tapping some very rare beers at the brewery throughout the week. You can find a list of them here.

    Today I want to talk about a little GABF competitive division called Pro-Am. Professional brewers from around the country pair with talented home brewers and scale-up their award-winning home brews for a commercial brewing system. This new, previously-home-brewed-but-now-pro-brewed beer is then entered into the GABF Pro-Am Division, at which point it is eligible to win more awards (you can never have too many awards, right?). 

    In 2012 we partnered with home brewer Jay Shambo to brew his More Fun Blonde, and it took gold at GABF. Last year we partnered with Mike Formisano on his Charlie's Brown, and it took silver.

    This year — I am excited to announce — we partnered with Bryan Keas, whose hoppy red won a gold medal at the Liquid Poetry Slam. The beer impressed New Belgium brewer Andy Mitchell, who selected Bryan as our 2014 Pro-Am collaborator. 

    Bryan teamed up with Cody Reif, our pilot brewhouse coordinator, and together they brewed the 7.9 percent ABV Colorado Hoppy Red. It's got a rich malty backbone and seven (yup, seven) brewhouse hop additions (it was also dry hopped). As Cody put it, "It's full bodied with a nice strong bitterness." I'm going to add in a few adjectives myself to paint an even better picture of this beer: delicious, piney, malty, red.

    We're real excited for this year's competition, and (fingers crossed) think we've got another winner on our hands. It's on tap at the brewery all week long, so swing on by (if you're in the area) and try Colorado Hoppy Red for yourself.

    Cheers and love — Nic

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  • Have you visited the Le Tigre tent?

    I've written quite a bit about the Tour de Fat on this blog over the last few months. This post, however, is different (kind of). It's about the Le Tigre Tent, one of my favorite aspects of TdF and one that everyone should experience at least once in their life. The Le Tigre Tent is exactly what it sounds like: a tent. Lots of talented people do very entertaining things inside it at every single Tour de Fat. It only holds about 50 people (plus a few spots for standing-room only), which means that — even if you've been to a TdF — there's a good chance you haven't seen the amazing things that go on inside its air-conditioned (hallelujah!), cloth-composed walls. 

    It's home to amazing, amazing things, such as the Missy Elliot ventriloquism puppet-show-esque performance from the always-funny Vanessa, or the in-your-face Ssssnake show. There's also the Astronaut in Space bit from John and Rebecca (which melts my face every time I see it). Oh, and Leah and Anthony's shows, which involve a drunk elephant (it's not real don't worry) and a vaguely unicorn costume. There are others, too, but I'm not going to spoil everything in this post.

    What I'm getting at here is — because there's only one show left in the Tour de Fat season — the Le Tigre Tent should be on your list of "must sees" in 2015. I mean that; take out your "to-do list" note pad (because everyone has one (including me)) and write down, in big bold letters, LE TIGRE. To take this one step further go ahead and place that list next to your bed, and position it so that every morning when you rise from the sheets the first thing you see is LE TIGRE. Leave it there until you finally visit the Le Tigre Tent.

    Then thank me.

    Cheers — Nic

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  • Check out the San Diego Tour de Fat!

    Hello from sunny San Diego, where today more than $40,000 was raised for local cycling nonprofits at the Tour de Fat. I am currently writing this blog post from a pretty great coffee shop, eating a cookie and thinking about how fantastic today's festivities were. Things kicked off (as always) with the bike parade, which featured our friends the Chopaderos (from this summer's New Belgium commercials) and a few new friends who won a trip to today's Tour de Fat through the Fat Tire Experience.

    Meandering through the Golden Hill neighborhood, San Diego's parade is one of my favorites. Today's was smooth, laid back and packed. It was a blast. The rest of the day was spent hanging with our partner nonprofits (San Diego County Bicycle Coalition and San Diego Mountain Biking Association), drinking beers, catching shows on the Stage Stage and in the Le Tigre tent, and watching Beats Antique close out the afternoon.

    It was one heck of an afternoon. 

    Now it's on to our last show of the season, Tempe. It promises to be a doozy.

    Cheers — Nic

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  • Press Play Wednesday!

    Press Play Wednesday, which happens every Wednesday, hasn't taken place the last few Wednesdays. What can I say, things have been busy 'round the brewery. But I'm back at it today, posting the best Internet videos this side of the late 90s dot com bubble.

    That said, today's video isn't really about the video (sorry). I mean, the video is fine and all, but what's really special here is the music. It's the Strange Boys's "Be Brave," one of my favorite songs. Ever. Give it a listen, take its lyrics to heart and conquer your mid-week "I-need-more-coffee" emotions.

    Cheers — Nic

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  • New Belgium CEO Kim Jordan named one of the most innovative women in food and drink

    That's right, our very own Kim Jordan was recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the most innovative women in food and drink. We think that's pretty cool.

    You know what else is pretty cool? Kim Jordan. She co-founded New Belgium Brewing in 1991, and is responsible for a whole lot of things associated with our company. 100 percent employee ownership? It wouldn't be possible without her. An emphasis on sustainable practices? Yup, that goes to Kim as well. Socially responsible business dealings? Again, Kim.

    She's pretty much fantastic, and I think all of us here at the brewery owe her a lot of thanks. So cheers to Kim, cheers to beer, and cheers to another 20 years of innovation.

    Cheers (again) — Nic 

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  • We like beer. But do you know what we love more?

    You.

    *blush* 

     

    Yes, brewing and bottling a perfect beer is one of our favorite things in the whole world. But it isn’t actually the ultimate reason for our existence (though it is darn fun and ain’t nobody here complainin’). New Belgium is on this big blue planet because we care about life (check your pulse - that includes you!) and we want to do our part to make living on Earth crazy awesome. If Michael Jackson just started singing “Heal the world, make it a better place” inside your head… just know you’re not the only one, okay?

    NBB’s Company Purpose: To manifest our love and talent by crafting our customers' favorite brands and proving business can be a force for good.

    All the fine folks at New Belgium work hard to make sure that everything that goes into your beer helps to create a world that you want to live in. We strive to bring benefit to the communities where our beer is sold, to the rivers and soil that deliver our ingredients, and to the loving hands that craft your beer. Because, goodness only knows, they certainly benefit us. But business owners please note: this isn’t just a charity case. This is good for business. New Belgium knows that we are profitable, not in spite of our social and environmental efforts, but because of them. By gifting ownership in the company and investing in the happiness of our coworkers, the best of the best join our team and they give their hearts. A 93% retention rate is good for the bottom line. By reducing our water use and donating money to the research and repair of the Colorado River, we are increasing the likelihood that we’ll have clean and abundant water for many generations. Preserving our #1 ingredient is also good for business.

    A reality that still gets me a little teary-eyed is this: we aren’t alone. What we’ve been doing since Day 1 at New Belgium is now a movement. And that movement is B Corp. Certified B Corps are over 1,000 strong and counting, including companies like Rally Software, Ben & Jerry’s, Etsy, Plum Organics, and Patagonia. We are all businesses who have opted out of sacrificing health and well-being for the sake of profits and profits alone. We are all businesses who know that we do well by doing good. Each of us passes through a most rigorous certification that measures our beneficial practices, so when you see that “B” inside a circle, you know it’s legit. (Check out our score, and if you’d like to see if your business makes the cut, you can take the free assessment online.)

    By banding together with these like-minded businesses, we make it clear we are not accidental and isolated successes, but rather we are the new wave of business, stating loud and clear that a whole-system perspective is essential in the corporate world and love and kindness drive a healthy bottom line.

    Thanks for being a part of this crazy journey with us. You belong here. You are our tribe, along with the barley farmers, the microbes in the soil, the fish in the rivers, the bartenders, and the recyclers. We are all in this together, so let’s continue to “B the Change” and make the world a better place (…for you and for me and the entire human race!).

    Big hugs.

    Bring it in.

    Always and foreverrrr,

    -        The Walrus

    Can’t get enough? Check out these B Corp reads from The New Yorker and The New York Times.


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  • Tour de Fat San Francisco was francastical

    What better way is there to spend a Saturday than in San Francisco raising more than $30,000 for local cycling nonprofits? 

    We had a great time today in Golden Gate Park working with San Francisco Bike Coalition and the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council, serving beers, riding bikes and making new friends. 

    The TdF season is now down to its last two shows (San Diego and Tempe), and, I must say, 2014 has been a good year for the Tour de Fat. Check out some pics from today's TdF, and share yours on our Facebook page.

    Cheers — Nic 

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  • Check out the Denver Tour de Fat

    UPDATE: The Denver Tour de Fat raised over $100,000 for local cycling nonprofits, bringing the total raised at the Colorado Tours to over $200,000!

    A human sunflower, a "Saturday Nigh Fever" version of Man in the Iron Mask, and a very convincing Pikachu.

    Those were three of my favorite costumes from today's Tour de Fat in Denver. Judging from the size of the crowd, though, I likely missed a few. I tell ya, it was quite the bonanza. Beer and bikes were in perfect harmony at Denver's City Park today, not to mention the weather was perfect. All told we likely raised more than $75,000 for our partner nonprofits (BikeDenver and Denver Cruisers).

    Now it's on to next week's stop in San Francisco, a city I will likely leave my heart (and U lock) in.

     Cheers — Nic

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  • Fort Collins Tour de Fat, how I love thee

    Every Tour de Fat is special, but there's no denying that the Fort Collins show is a bit more special. Is it because Fort Collins is New Belgium Brewing's home town? Maybe. Is it because Fort Collins is a through-and-through craft beer town? Could be. Or what about the fact that Fort Collins is a notoriously bike-friendly area? 

    Whatever it is, the Fort Collins Tour de Fat takes the cake in craziness. About 25,000 people came out to ride in the parade and join in the post-ride fun. They did their fair share of drinking, too; more than $80,000 $100,000 was raised for our partner nonprofits (Overland Mountain Bike Club, Bike Fort Collins and the Fort Collins Bike Co-Op).

    I'll post a bunch of TdF Fort Collins pictures later this week. If you want to see more of them now, though, check out @TourdeFat on Instagram and surf the #TourdeFat hashtag. 


    Cheers — Nic

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  • The 2014 Beer Bloggers Conference is a wrap!

    Are you familiar with the phrase, “the things dreams are made of?” This weekend I discovered the origin of that idiom, and it’s called the Beer Bloggers Conference.

    I spent the weekend in Sunny San Diego drinking and talking beer with 150 of the most dedicated beer drinkers and thinkers in the country. In fact, there were even a couple bloggers from outside the country (which is how you know it was a p-r-e-t-t-y big deal.)

    I must say they were very friendly people, and we enjoyed some unique (not to mention high ABV) beers in each other’s company. Here are pictures of just a few of them:

    In addition to bloggers there were plenty of craft beer industry folks there, hanging out and being generally merry. We kicked back and talked shop (mostly about beer and how we were excited to be drinking it.) Here’s a picture of Ben; he does cool stuff at The Bruery, and sports some excellent overalls:

    Ken Grossman (co-founder of Sierra Nevada) stopped by, rode on a bus with us and gave a great speech that spanned everything from Sierra Nevada’s origins to the recently completed Beer Camp. He’s a really nice guy, and even posed for a photo with me. Here it is:

    Next year’s conference is in Asheville, NC (which is where we just happen to be building our second brewery.) It’ll undoubtedly be a helluva time — right now it’s hard for me to think about that much beer in one place, though.  It’s a good thing there aren’t any events coming up. You know, events where I might be persuaded to try dozens of different beers in a single night. Yup, nothing remotely like that is coming to Colorado any time soon...

    Cheers — Nic 

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