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  • Beer Mode: a brand (spanking) new mobile app! For your consideration...

    Alright, so it is actually an update, not a new app. But it has been fully redesigned and looks/acts/functions as if it is a truly new app. We put our first one out last year, and it may not have been the best app ever, but it was an app. It did some helpful stuff like locate you a beer and generally tell you the generalities of our beers, maybe not as smoothly as it could have, but man, we're moving on. And hopefully you're coming with us. If you were a previous owner of our app you should already have the update updated. If you have never had a New Belgium app you have come to the app store at just the right time. And if you are one of the folks that deleted that old app because you couldn't figure out how to turn off the Shift Beer alarm, please, head back into the store and give the new one a try, it is very different, I promise. 

    This "new" app is actually a NEW app. We completely redesigned it from the support beams up. It does all the stuff the old app did, tell you about our beers, help you find one, etc...  But it does those things in much more graceful ways that are both functionally and aesthetically smoother to the previous edition. And then it does a few things that the old app didn't do. First is the exclusive content section. This is a peek behind the curtain to see what beers are coming up. This section is also a look into what might be coming down the line. We want to be able to share looks at stuff in the ideation stage, as well as showing you what is the next Lips of Faith beer. It's pretty cool. The second thing that really sets this app apart is Beer Mode. Beer Mode allows you to preselect messages to post to your social sites so you can give your beer the undivided attention it deserves. The idea is that the app posts to Facebook for you so when you're sitting at the bar you can take your nose out of your phone and put it into your beer, or a conversation with the real-life people sitting right next to you. The theory behind Beer Mode is somewhere in the world of the Anti-App, it's a phone app that encourages you to put your phone down. I think you'll really like it. Here is a quick diagram on the flow and function of Beer Mode, just in case I wasn't clear...

    See what I mean, totally awesome. At this time it is built for Andriod and iPhone. Go to your stores and get the app, it's free. Here's the links: Google Play and iPhone.

    Thanks for reading and I'll see you soon...


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  • Rampant IPA is coming! Rampant IPA is coming!

    Today is Friday, and in a couple days it will be Sunday, and then, right after Sunday- Monday. And Monday, March 4th is the official release date for Rampant Imperial IPA. The people have spoken, and what they have spoken for are hoppy beers. We have responded. While keeping a Belgian focus with beers like Abbey, Trippel, Fat Tire, 1554, etc, we have also started to heavily expand our hoppy offerings. First was Ranger IPA, then Shift with a hoppy lager, and now, Rampant Imperial IPA- 85 IBUs, 8.5% ABV. It's a big and bold beer ready for the most receptive of the hops receptors. 

    The hop profile heavily features Mosaic and Calypso, bringing stone fruit flavors to the front seat. We're talking peaches, apricots, things like that. Centennials are in there too, rounding out the aroma with a big citrus blast. Rampant also offers a sturdy malt backbone to balance the flavor in such wonderful way. It is a really great beer, like really great. Rampant leaves a hoppy zing in your mouth for a while after completion, and that's a good thing, because it makes you want to drink another Rampant. 

    Here's the poster art (I think it's awesome):

    And then, in support of this wonderful new iIPA, a few of us have hit the road to make some short video bits. The first one will come out Monday. (I don't want to spoil the surprise, but...) Here are a few pictures to let you in on some of the things that happened:

    That all happened, really, maybe not in that order, but... Please, check back Monday. It will be a perfect time to watch the first film with a glass of Rampant. You will (hopefully) be entertained.

    Until next week!


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  • We are 100% Employee Owned

    It's true, we are. Up to this point (well, December 28, 2012) the employees of New Belgium owned 41% of the total company. The controlling share was owned by our co-founder and CEO, Kim, and her family. Well, we bought it. As of December 29, 2012 the employees own the whole she-bang. New Belgium is now 100% ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan).  And I am a very proud owner of this company. Below is the press release about the deal. I tried to write something myself, but the release was a fair bit more eloquent...

    (Fort Collins, CO) – New Belgium Brewing is excited to announce that the company’s Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) has purchased the balance of company shares, making it 100% employee-owned. New Belgium, brewer of a wide variety of award-winning beers including Fat Tire Amber Ale, has been a partial ESOP since 2000 with a controlling interest held by co-founder Kim Jordan and her family. This transition will put the company on a path to control their destiny into the foreseeable future.
    “There are few times in life where you get to make choices that will have multi-generational impact – this is one of those times. We have an opportunity to write the next chapter of this incredible story and we’re really excited about that,” said New Belgium CEO and co-founder, Kim Jordan. “We have always had a high involvement ownership culture and this allows us to take that to the next logical level. It will provide an elegant succession framework that keeps the executive team intact ensuring our vision stays true going forward.”
    Jordan plans to remain CEO for the long-term and the executive team at New Belgium will continue in its current form. The Fort Collins brewer is currently building a second facility in Asheville, North Carolina that will begin beer production in 2015. More than 150 additional hires are expected by full build out in Asheville.
    New Belgium was advised by Eureka Capital Markets, a middle market investment-banking firm with expertise in both the food & beverage sector and ESOP transactions, which assisted in structuring and completing the second stage ESOP buyout transaction.
    “It was an honor to work with a craft brewing leader like New Belgium and help them transition the ownership of the business to its tight culture of employee owners,” said Michael Harden, Managing Director. “Given all of the consolidation occurring in the craft brew sector, we expect that many other craft brewers will investigate how using an ESOP might help them achieve their transition goals while enabling them to remain independent companies.”
    The Fort Collins brewer is currently building a second facility in Asheville, North Carolina that will begin beer production in 2015. The transition to 100% ownership will enable New Belgium to include their future co-workers in Asheville, NC in the plan and will drive an even deeper commitment to progressive business practices for the company. More than 150 additional hires are expected by full build out in Asheville.
    The deal was completed on the 28th of December with a companywide announcement made during New Belgium’s annual winter retreat on the 14th of January. All 456 employee-owners were present for the celebration. Prior to this deal, New Belgium co-workers held 41% of the company’s shares.

    There it is, the awesome-est of news.

    And until next time,


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  • Today is Stout Day, and I am celebrating already!

    Stout Day is a great way to celebrate such a celebrated style. And that day of celebration is today, today is Stout Day!

    Grab a bottle and some friends (who also grabbed bottles) and crack some great Stouts. Here's a few to recommend:.

    Great Divide's Yeti

    Obsidian Stout from Deschutes

    Schlafly's Oatmeal Stout

    Or maybe, just maybe.... the newest Lips of Faith beer- Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout from New Belgium!

    Ok, I know that's a plug, but this is the New Belgium Blog, so I am going with it. This beer is strong, and rich and dark as (a really dark) night. The coffee and chocolate come punching right off the bell and a complex bitterness follows in at the back. It really is good. Here's a link to the Beer Finder so you can go get yourself some....

    And remember to celebrate Stout Day with your social media friends with #StoutDay, no reason not to spread such beer-cheer on the internet...



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  • The numbers are in...

    The Clips of Faith and the Tour de Fat have both wrapped for the season, and the numbers are in. Clips raised $118,000 this year, and the Tour de Fat pulled in (almost) $500,000. That is (almost) $618,000 total raised (I know, I know, I'm a mathematician) for local non-profits in the communities that these shows happened in. That's a very successful year, to say the least. And we couldn't have done this without you, the fans and party goers, making these events so fun and so philanthropically wonderful. Here's the picture that says it all (well, not all of it, but most):

    So, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, you made this event season fun and beneficial, and we will see you next year...



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  • New Belgium and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    Hey friends. 

    I wanted to take today and mention that we're sponsoring the USA ProCycling Challenge (!), and then explain a few details as to what that means... 

    Are you ready? Alright, here we go. 

    The Pro Cycling Challenge is a huge bicycle race ripping the roads of Colorado from August 20th through the 26th. It starts in Durango and seven days (and 600 miles) later everybody shows up in Denver. Some of the world's top racing teams will be fielding riders and it's looking to be the paramount bicycle event in the US (beside the Tour de Fat, of course). There is going to be hundreds of thousands of thirsty fans throughout the week (some say over a million people are going to be lining the roads of Colorado for this second year event!), and New Belgium is going to be there making sure that everyone (of legal drinking age) has an ice cold beer in their hand to aid in hydration and cheering. We will have beer tents at starts towns, finish towns, along the route, everywhere. Again, it is going to be the ultimate Colorado happening (in regards to bicycles and beer and fun and stuff (outside the Tour de Fat, of course)). We are very excited to be a part of the Pro Challenge and we are excited to showcase Colorado, and Colorado beer, on an international stage.

    We are doing a lot of beer serving and event shenanigans during the USA Pro (I heard some TDF fun might show up too...), and that is all super awesome, but what I am most excited about is the total sports coverage (to barrow a favorite phrase) that we will be offering to all fans of beer and bicycles. We will be on the ground covering the event: videos, blog posts, dedicated Twitter and Instagram feeds, not to mention charming personalities and rugged good looks. We will be talking about the race, but we're also looking to highlight some beautiful Colorado towns, after-race-type-parties, some of the benefitting non-profits, local personalities, and the beer drinking... It is going to be really fun and I hope you can share it with us. 

    Here's the sizzle clip:

    And here are some very important follow-along-type-details: 

    See most things NBB and Pro Challenge at the Internet homebase: www.NewBelgium.com/ProChallenge

    Follow along on Twitter: @NBBProChallenge

    Or, on Instagram: @NBBProChallenge (I would link IG here but it's phone only and I really have nothing to connect from my desktop, sorry...)

    And, To plug yourself into the conversation try some of these hash tags at the aforementioned social networking sites: #Prochallenge #NBBProchallenge #USAPRO #BikesAndBeer #EnjoyTheRide

    There will also be watch parties all over our distribution areas for folks outside of Colorado to enjoy NBB beers and good ol' fashioned bicycle racing with the Pro Challenge. Keep your eyes on that (above mentioned) website to see the details of these happenings in your neighborhood...

    So, on that note, get ready to follow along and have some fun in the high mountains of Colorado! 

    Huzzah! Bicycle Racing!


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  • It's American Craft Beer Week!

    It's time to celebrate American Craft Beer, are you ready? Starting May 14 (yesterday!), and going through the weekend, America is a-buzz with great beer. There are events happening in all 50 states and that means if you are in America you can celebrate. Here is a link to the Brewer's Association's  page that is listing a lot of the goings on country wide. Check it out, then check your own calender, then go some place great and drink an American Craft beer.

    Around these parts (NBB) we have lots of things going on for ACBW. Firstly, the Fort Collins collaboration- Collusion 2012. All nine Fort Collins craft breweries got back together for the third year and brewed up another gem. Filled with Colorado barley, hops, honey, and snow (seriously, snow, right out of Rockey Mountain National Park). The beer defies style. I tried it last night at Equinox and I can describe it as great, kind of light, and totally drinkable. Here is a video of the making ––>


    Pretty sweet huh? And that being watched, you should know that you can get a glass of Collusion at all of the involved Fort Collins breweries, including New Belgium, right now. But act quickly, because the liquid is limited and you'll want to get your tongue on it before it's gone.

    And on top of all the colluding, the Liquid Center here at NBB is blowing up with events all week: trivia today, Loose Lips taste contests tomorrow and Thursday, a brewer's panel is also happening on Thursday, and then some beer poetry on Friday. It's going to be a hoot (I even heard rumors of kereoke...). And, you can (and should) come in and sign the Declaration of Beer Independence at any time during the week, it is hanging right on the wall. Go ahead, sign it, let the world know that you support craft beer.

    So get after it friends, start drinking now, because this is everyone's beer week!


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  • Tart Lychee is Sour (and Wonderful).

    We love making sour beer. Over the years we have tried to make more and more sour beers. But it takes a really long time to age the beer in wood, to let the little buggies do their work and take the beer into the sour-a-sphere (I just made that word up).

    The newest Lips of Faith offering happens to be a wonderful and sour beer, it's called Tart Lychee. The name says it all. But to say some more I will break the beer down for you, a full review.

    Overview: A new sour blended Lips of Faith with lychee fruit and cinnamon. Tart Lychee is 56% wood aged sour ale, and 44% ale brewed with lychee fruit and cinnamon. Lychee fruit is incredibly sweet and it plays nicely off its wood aged, sour companion. This beer is sour and sweet and amazing. 7.5% ABV 

    Appearance: A cloudy golden with a furious white head. The bubbles come quick, and then recede almost as fast.

    Aroma: Total sweet lychee fruit domination (a very good thing), citrusy with a tangy bite. The cinnamon is mostly hidden by the lychee fruit, but the aroma is definitely inviting.

    Taste: The tart punch comes first, but it's backed with sweet strength. The lychee fruit casts a huge shadow here, but the malt is present and standing the beer upright. The cinnamon comes as just a hint, but the hint rounds out the sweetness just right. This gentle spicing brings the beer more depth. The beer has only Target hops for bittering, but the nature of the citrus sweet (lychee)/sour (wood aged beer) brings a big nod to Cascade hops. Grapefruit is a flavor that comes to mind with this beer. Cascade hops are not in there, but you could have fooled me. The sour is explosive, but not overbearing. At first, the sip seems to be the most sour beer I have ever had, but that fades, and I change my mind mid-drink. While Tart Lychee is very sour, it's not a complete tongue ripper, it's balanced and wonderful.

    Body/Mouthfeel: Dry, tart, perfect.

    Overall: This is an awesome take on sour beer, I love it. I admit my bias (everyone should), but this beer is the best. Definitely my favorite sour since Le Terroir. Maybe I like it better than Le Terroir (or maybe I am just saying that because I drank my last Le Terroir?)? Either way, this beer is perfect, and if you like sour beers this should top your list (if you don't like sour beers you should try it too, it may change your opinion). I give Tart Lychee a 10 (out of 10). 

    This beer just released yesterday, so it should be trickling into most of our distribution areas this week. Tart Lychee is a Lips of Faith beer, which means the batch was pretty small and distribution will be limited, but make sure to use the Beer Finder and locate yourself a bottle, or a tap line, to give it a go.

    One last thing on sour beers before I take my leave. As you know the wood cellar is expanding, which means more sour beers. To make our sour beer, we age a non-sour beer in big oak casks (called foeders) until it sours. It takes upward of two years to fully develop. So we are building more now to have more later. Over the past month or so a few coopers (barrel makers) have been here building us some new foeders. I took the opportunity to time lapse the construction on a couple of these big oak barrels. Take a look: 

    Pretty sweet huh? And on that note, I'm out.


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  • Really Big News!!! Asheville we're coming for you!

    New Belgium Brewing is happy to announce that Asheville, North Carolina will be the site for our east coast brewery! This news comes to you directly at 2:15 MST Thursday, April 5, 2012 (ish). This afternoon was the press conference with Governor Bev Perdue, NBB CEO Kim Jordan and the rest of our site selection team. The event was hosted at the Asheville Chamber of Commerce. The future brewery sits on 17.5 acres of a brownfield site and we are looking to break ground in the first quarter of 2013. On that schedule the brewery should be up and operational for the first quarter of 2015. We are looking to open with a 150,000 square-foot facility and a planned annual brewing capacity of 400,000 barrels. Room for growth in the ensuing years has been planned for, and the brewery will be open to the public with a tasting room and tours. The plan is to hire 50 co-workers for the opening, with an expected growth of 20 new co-workers per year for the first 5 years of operation.

    We couldn't be more excited about this. We picked Asheville for our second brewery because it has everything we have been looking for. The city, the natural resources, the beer culture, everything about it seemed to be a perfect fit. We are looking forward to being a part of Asheville and we are excited to see how Asheville shapes our future.

    See you in North Carolina!


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  • Who wants more sour beer?

    Sour beers are the new black in craft beer right now. Which is great, because sour beer is awesome and I love it. 

    We make some sours around NBB, which is also convenient for my love of the style. La Folie is our best known. Then there's Eric's Ale, Clutch, Le Terroir, Tart Lychee, Transatlantique Kriek and others. A host of sours from the lightly tart, to full blown tongue punchers, we try to keep up a variety. The problem is that every

    year we can't make enough because these beers require long aging, it's what gives them their sour.

    For those new to sour beer, or unfamiliar with the process, here is a very quick sour breakdown: We take finished (fully fermented) beer and put it into retired wine casks. We use retired (used) wine casks because they are a lot cheaper than new barrels, and we don't need, nor want, the oaky flavor that the new casks impart to the liquid. The beer and the French white oak of the barrels create a perfect environment for souring beers. The environment is dark, cool, rich in oxygen (the oxygen seeps in through the porous wood) and rich in alcohol (the beer is already fermented, remember). There is not a lot of things that can live in such an environment, but the stuff that can is awesome. A few kinds of wild yeasts and bacteria thrive here, they feast on the oxygen coming in, and as a by-product release sour acids to flavor the beer. Cool huh?  

    The only catch is that it takes a really long time for this natural process to happen. In the case of La Folie, it ages, on average, 3 years before we can package a ready product. So there is only so much per year. About 10 years ago in the mist of 75+ single barrels on racks we bought our first foudre ("foudre" is a Flemish word, it means huge oak barrel, I think). The picture on the right is a foudre. The foudre in the photo is an example of the largest size we currently have, holding 130 HL's of beer (a hectoliter is roughly 0.8 barrels, or 26.5 gallons (for perspective)). Up to 2011 year we had accumulated 16 foudres, ranging in size from the 130 HL, down to 60 HL, equaling a wood aging, sour beer program of 1800 total Hectoliters. That is a lot of sour beer. But remember, only some of this beer is ready on any given year, about a third, or 600 HL. This puts us in a bind for distribution because there is only so much, and the gaining popularity of sour beers has increased the demand beyond our supply. So we have decided to buy more foudres, expand the program, and make more sour beer for you (and me). 

    The wood cellar expansion project has been going since March of last year. Over that time we have been buying a couple foudres here and there, trying to get the needle moving. But in the words of a New Belgium co-worker close to the project "the used barrel market is dynamic." Which translates to "finding good, used barrels is a major pain in the ass." But recently we have hit pay-dirt, and some great, new (to us) barrels are on their way from France. And the new total foudre count has prompted some new construction. The needle is moving. We have transfered the can line, knocked out a wall and started re-doing the floor. Seven new foudres are on a boat (piles of staves and rings) and when they get here, and are assembled, our total foudre count will jump to 28. The range of sizes will also jump, from a little mini at 25 HL, all the way to 219 HL (that's one big barrel). Our total sour beer program will jump from 1800 HL to 3600 HL. But there is a catch here too. Remember how long the souring process takes? With the new foudres that timing doesn't change. Counting from when the expansion project is complete this June it will be at least two years before our sour beer numbers take a big leap. Which means the 2014 vintage La Folie (maybe). But the good news is that this project is happening, and underway, and that's very exciting. Get ready for more sour beers!

    And if you get a chance to come by the brewery for a tour later this summer (like July or August) you should. The foudre area is going to be very cool and it will play an even bigger role in the tour route than it already does. You are going to want to see that. See you this summer!

    And on that note, I'm out.



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