• We support policies that protect clean water, and here's why

    Hey everyone,

    Nic here. This is a special guest post from New Belgium coworker Andrew Lemley, who's been working hard for quite a while now with legislators, authorities and concerned citizens on a proposed rule change to what are considered "Waters of the United States." Clean water is an important issue to us here at New Belgium, and the foundation on which great beer is brewed — but I'll let Andrew explain further:

    What’s a WOTUS? (read woah-tus)

    WOTUS is an acronym for “Waters of the United States.” It’s the definition of which surface water (lakes, rivers, etc.) can be federally protected to make sure our country has a top notch water supply. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Army Corps of Engineers are working to clarify which waters are in this category. At New Belgium we think this is a good idea.

    We care deeply about clean rivers, lakes and streams. We need them to make beer. Everyone needs them to hydrate. Outdoorsy folks need them to kayak, fish or skinny dip. The proposed WOTUS rule would expand which water is able to be regulated by the EPA and would include headwaters, tributaries and other waters connected to larger rivers. This clarification makes common sense: water bodies that are connected to rivers should be safeguarded like those rivers themselves.

    Clean water is a part of our triple bottom line business model. Crafting great beer while caring for the planet and doing what is right is how we operate. Our journey has led us to take steps to reduce our own impact on the water supply. We’ve built an onsite process wastewater treatment plant. We’ve cut water use. We give philanthropic dollars to nonprofits engaged in water conservation. We do what we can to honor the environment in our own process and philanthropy. We also know that good policies that protect water can do more than we could ever do on our own.

    The next time you open a beer while you watch the sun set over a clean lake or hear the river rushing by your campsite, raise your glass (or can or bottle) to the WOTUS.

    If you want to dig deeper and find out how you can help, visit our friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council. They have all kinds of great info and can help you speak out for clean water too. 

    Cheers — Andrew

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  • Outside includes New Belgium on ‘best places to work’ list 2014

    I should preface this post with the following: This is just my third day at New Belgium. But in just three days, I’ve already seen enough to confidently confirm New Belgium’s inclusion in Outside Magazine’s list of the “Best Places to Work” in 2014 (silent fist-pump). Let’s have a quick look at some of the magazine’s reasons:

    “The New Belgium complex boasts an on-site gym.”

    Fact. I saw a guy working out on an elliptical machine yesterday while I was on a safety tour around the brewery. On my way out of the gym, I gave the punching bag a fist bump.

    “When the team feels like giving back, it’s no sweat.”

    Fact. My co-worker bought me lunch today. Seriously, check out how much was raised for charity via Tour de Fat. Plus, check out all of this amazing charitable activity

    “Employees are presented with a New Belgium cruiser bike after one year.”

    Fact. The bike’s redesigned each year, so when you’re cruising around and see someone on your model, you might be prone to shout, “Hey, 2012. Right on!” I have 362 days until I might shout at fellow 2014ers.

    That’s just the tip of the awesomeness iceberg that is New Belgium. Swing by Outside to read the full story.

    Looking forward to day four — Chris

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  • This is a confusing picture of a foeder

    And while it's confusing, I happen to think it's pretty cool. Here's what's going on:
    This foeder is currently being worked on before we begin to hydrate it.
    This picture was taken from the outside of the foeder, looking in.
    You can see the dark cherry staining of the wood on the inside of the foeder. The color comes from the wine that this foeder used to hold.
    Soon this foeder will hold delicious, aging sour beer.

    Cheers — Nic

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  • Let's recap the 2014 Tour de Fat

    Beer, often associated with fun (which it is), is not often associated with fundraising. That's not the case for the Tour de Fat. Every year carnies from New Belgium hit the road, taking interactive sculptures, art bikes, beer, good times and live music with them — all in the name of charity. This year the Tour de Fat raised $625,000 for cycling-related nonprofits across 10 cities. 

    Yup, $625,000.

    That's about $70,000 more than was raised in 2013, and a new record for the Tour de Fat. That money goes toward causes such as building new bike lanes, maintaining and creating mountain bike trails, providing bicycles to youths and other awesome, awesome things. Of course, none of it could happen without volunteers from our partner non-profits who staff the event (you can find out about all of them from the Tour de Fat page) and everyone who comes out to buy a beer or two and have a swell time.

    Now it's time to look toward next year, when we'll (fingers crossed) raise even more money and awareness for better cycling around the country.

    Cheers and much love — Nic

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  • Bike n' Brunch with New Belgium & You Me and Apollo at Doe Bay Fest

    Today we've got a special guest post from Seattle-based New Belgium-er Todd Gillman. Todd teamed up with our friends (and Fort Collins band) You Me and Apollo at this year's Doe Bay Fest to host an intimate show on Washington's beautiful Orcas Island. Watch the video, and peep Todd's words below.

    Via Todd:

    Much has been written about the annual Doe Bay Music Festival, where, each August for the past 7 years a small throng of music lovers makes a pilgrimage of sorts to Washington’s idyllic Orcas Island. Doe Bay Resort’s rocky coves and expansive Puget Sound vistas provide the stunning visual backdrop for 4 days of amazing live music. Past performers include Built To Spill, The Head & The Heart, Blitzen Trapper, Damien Jurado, Pickwick, Bobby Bare Jr., and many more. Many DBF vets will plan their summer vacations around the festival, often building-in extra days on the front and back ends, but it’s not just the bands and performances that keep people coming back year after year. For one thing, the San Juan Island archipelago, with its deep emerald green waters and rugged, cliff studded coastlines will always be a visually arresting and magical escape from the mainland. But the San Juans in August is the epitome of the good life, as reliable warm sunny days give way to cool misty nights, making for perfect camping, which is the preferred mode of accommodation at DBF.  The resort itself is small and dotted with sections of woods and meadows, limiting the available amount of festival space, so the event itself is always an intimate affair, where you may find yourself walking down a narrow footpath with Doug Martsch from Built To Spill, or sitting on a rock outcropping staring at a jaw-dropping view while a cellist serenades the Puget Sound sunset. While there’s always tons of kids and families at the festival, we’ve come to think of DBF as “summer camp for adults,” a place where Seattle’s urban creative class can slow down and kind of get back to nature, collectively, as intimate live performances form the soundtrack. “Intimate” is the key word here. Everything about the festival is intentionally small, which creates a sense of camaraderie and blurs the normal lines between artists and fans. This also creates a challenge for people trying to get festival passes, which sell out notoriously fast. New Belgium has been super fortunate and grateful to be DBF’s craft beer of choice for the last 5 years, because honestly, we’re not sure that our summer would be complete without this annual pilgrimage!

    For the last couple years we’ve organized and hosted “tiny adventures” in the morning hours before the music begins in earnest on the main stage. We usually combine something active to help clean out the cobwebs from the night before, with something educational because we’re curious people and we’re visitors on the island, and we’ll throw in some of our delicious beer for good measure. For the intrepid souls who’ve gone out on a limb and have shown up early in the morning, bleary-eyed and confused, these activities have proven year after year to be an unexpected festival highlight. This year we once again led a hike through the old growth forest to the mountaintop vistas of Moran State Park, and a bike tour out to Buck Bay Shellfish farm for a tour and a seafood ‘n beer brunch. This year, we also wanted to add another element of awesome to our tiny adventures. In keeping with the musical vibe of the festival, we wanted to host a private set for the bike ‘n brunch crew. Naturally, we wanted to work with our beer-loving, Fort Collins-based band pals You Me And Apollo, who blew minds at DBF 2013, and who were invited back to play the Main Stage in 2014. These guys were a pleasure to work with and they put on one of our favorite performances of the entire weekend... as unplugged and as “intimate” as it gets! 

    Cheers — Nic

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  • Press play Wednesday: the science of Shift

    Time again for another captivating and informative video to help spur your Wednesday along. I was looking back through the 'ol New Belgium Youtube channel today when I came across this gem. It features scientists (wearing their scientist coats) singing about everyone's favorite after-work brew, Shift.


    Cheers — Nic 

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  • How will we celebrate our 50,000th batch of beer?

    50,000 — it's a big number, and, like all big numbers, when people reach them they tend to celebrate them. We just brewed our 50,000th batch of beer. It's taken us 23 years to get to this point, and I think I speak for everyone here at New Belgium when I say we are pretty dang proud.

    Rob added hops and salts to the kettle during our 50,000th brew (which just so happened to be Fat Tire).

    Originally, every 10,000th batch of beer was celebrated by brewing Abbey Grand Cru for New Belgium coworkers; it's a bigger, slightly boozier version of Abbey meant to be aged. We broke from tradition when we hit the 40,000 mark and made (what is now the very infamous) Cobra Horse. An imperial lager (aka malt liquor), Cobra Horse weighed in at 9 percent ABV. In the words of brewer Mike Cothran, "Cobra Horse is our production mascot if you will. He is half horse and half king cobra. A mythical creature that Bo Lytle (another brewer) created as his childhood mythical rock band. We adopted the name, and revel in it when hanging out together as a group." 

    I would just like to say (for the record) that Cobra Horse is bad a**.

    Cothran and the rest of the brewing team changed things up yet again to celebrate brew number 50,000. They planned ahead for this one, brewing a blackberry Frambois Grand Cru in the pilot system a few weeks ago. At 15 percent ABV it is the biggest beer we've made (on record) for production. It's also really tasty. 

    The Blackberry Barleywine, which was enjoyed during the 50,000th brew toast at the brewery on Friday.

    Cheers, and here's to the next 50,000 — Nic

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  • The 2014 Tour de Fat is a wrap!

    I'm writing to you from (the very sunny) Tempe, Arizona, where the 2014 Tour de Fat just came to a close. While it was the last show of the season, today's might have been the warmest all year long. 

    I heard rumors it almost hit 100 degrees (and I believe it), but that didn't slow the party down. This morning's massive bike parade turned into a hot-day dance party, and more than $85,000 was raised for our partner nonprofits Tempe Bicycle Action Group, Bike Saviours, Mountain Bike Association of Arizona and Central Arizona Mountain Bike Patrol.

    That means that the Tour de Fat officially raised more than $620,000 for cycling-related nonprofits in 2014! That number is going to go up a bit, so I'll get back to you with specifics when they come in. Now it's time to pack up the show and begin the offseason. Look for follow-up 2014 TdF posts here on the blog in the days to come.

    Cheers and love — Nic

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  • Scenes from the first night of GABF

    Hey everyone!

    I'm going to make this snappy, because right now I'm writing this post while the first night of the Great American Beer Festival rages on, and I'd really like to get back to the fun. So far it's been pretty great. How could it not be? There are thousands of craft beers pouring in the same room, at the same time, side by side. 

    It's like magic, but it's real. So far tonight I've been running around and taking photos, and figured you might like to see some of them. GABF is a three-day event, and typically I'd be here for all of them. Tomorrow, though, I'm setting off for the last Tour de Fat of 2014 in Tempe. It's gonna be a ball. Talk to you soon.

    Christine Perich, our newly appointed President, pouring beers while Justin Patti, our Denver Field Brander, well... I actually don't know what JP's doing. He seems very intrigued by something.

    Cheers — Nic

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  • 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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