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  • I got Lost in the Woods...

    As you may already know from my post the other day, we hosted our first, open to the public, at night, type of party. It was in celebration of the 2013 releases of La Folie and Transatlantique Kriek. This was Lost in the Woods, we were all lost in the woods, and boy-howdy it was fun. To see how fun, from someone else's perspective, take a look at Fermentedly Challenged here, or the Denver Post here. Or, maybe, watch this film from Adam Valuckas:

     


    The party was super fun and full of great sour beer. Probably 600 people in the brewery, all enjoying good times, food pairings, sour beer education and music. Really, it was a hoot. 

    But. what does this post mean to all of you that were not able to make to the party? It means that the official release of 2013 La Folie and Transatlantique Kriek has happened and these beers should be trickling into bars and bottle shops as we speak (er, write). Check the Beer Finder for details on finding these beers in your area and get ready to pucker those lips because these sour beers are awesome and sour and wonderful. 


    Until next time my friends,


    Juicebox

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  • Well dang, it's the new year...

    HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

    2013 is going to be a big one for beers and stuff. Some very major New Belgium things are in the pipeline. Let's take a minute and call out a few facts and a few rumors...


    Facts (these are things I know to be true)-

    1. A collaboration beer with Dieu du Ciel! of Montreal is headed our way soon. This is a wonderful thing. It's a heavenly tripel with feijoa and hibiscus. Feijoa is a (probably) tropical fruit that's very strange (and worldly). Peter (our brewmaster) has wanted to make a beer with it for some years. And Dieu du Ciel! is famous for brewing with hibiscus. BOOM! 

    2. Transatlantique Kriek is making a comeback. Brouwerji Boon has sent us a whole mess of his Kriekenlambiek, and we have brewed the accompanying beer, and the two are blended (or, almost blended). These bottles should hit shelves in a month to six weeks. Get very excited because this beer is the tops, like all the way at the top of the tops! 

    3. Springboard is coming back! Springboard was the spring seasonal a few years back (07-08), brewed with schisandra and goji berries. It was a major crowd pleaser, and I am very excited about it's return... Springboard is coming back in the Folly Pack only. No sixers, etc... You are going to have to buy the mix pack to score yourself some, and you should try to score yourself some.


    Rumors (these are things that I have heard to be true)-

    1. The 2013 vintage of La Folie is really good.

    2. More throwback beers may/may not be hitting Folly Packs through the year.

    3. We're switching to Google+ as a platform for our Beer Streams.

    4. An Imperial IPA is in the works...

    5. I am constructing a giant carpet slide to serve as my main commuting option (it will be open to the public, if you want to come over to my house).

    6. We are adding two more U.S. states to our distribution footprint (one is very cold, one is very warm (maybe)).


    So there it is, some tale of coming news. Welcome to the future friends...

    -Juicebox

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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...

    xo,

    Juicebox

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  • GABF

    It's that time of year again, The Great American Beer Festival, and I am very ready. I have been doing regular interval training and mapping out my week and generally gathering information to make the next 6 days pleasurable. I have also been collecting facts and figures to make your week a gem as well.

    First the fest: Starts Thursday night, goes through Saturday. I hope you have tickets, they sold out quick. Assuming you got one, New Belgium is end-capping pod L. It's right at the top of the big middle row. We are bringing lots of great beers: Ranger, Belgo, a brand new Fresh Hop IPA, Tart Lychee, Shift, Peach Porch Lounger, Red Hoptober, La Folie, Abbey, and there's even rumor of some unblended, wood aged Felix, known to most as Love (that will be a real treat)... So get to the booth early and try some of these tasty treats.

    And... If you find yourself in Fort Collins this week, come to the brewery. We are doing all sorts of special stuff all week. Some kegs are coming out of the cellar, meaning that some Lips of Faith of yore will be pouring on a rotating tap all week. If it was a Lips beer in the last two years chances are it will be pouring and ready for the sipping (did someone say Le Terroir?). We are also breaking out some cases for sale. Bombers of some really famous NBB beers will be for sale (again, did someone say Le Terroir?). Tours are pretty well booked for the week, but the stand-by list will be in full swing, so come by, I bet you'll have a good time. Starting Tuesday (tomorrow) all the bottles will be out and the GABF tap will be rotating. This is going to be crazy.

    So there it is, it's all I got. Hopefully you enjoy your GABF...

    -JUICEBOX


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  • Dear Brewery Vivant,

    You're the best, I mean it. I wanted to take a few minutes and write you a letter expressing my adulation. So, here it is... When we first met it was magical. New Belgium was starting the Michigan roll out process and there you were, in an awesome, old funeral home in Grand Rapids. Your beers we great right away. We stopped by to say hello, drink a little, and it turned out that everybody inside the old funeral home (turned brewery) was awesome too. With wonderful and like-minded individuals such as yourselves it didn't take very long for the idea of a collaboration to come to the front. 

    First was the beer brewed at your place, in Grand Rapids: Escoffier. A bretta beer with French chef-er-y roots, and a beer dinner that was 12 courses long. 12 courses! The highlights that I read just barely did it justice. And the few cans you sent me left me craving more (can you send more?). The beer is all over Michigan now, and the Chicagoland area too, but really, it should be world-wide.

    Then, we met Brian and Jacob (brewer, and head brewer, respectively). These guys came to Fort Collins to brew the other version of the collaboration. They were beyond friendly and extremely knowledgable in beer, it was a real treat to talk to them. The beer they made here, with our brewers, is not Escoffier, it's something else, but amazing too. This half of the collaboration is a biere de garde, of the farmhouse family (as with Escoffier). It has bergamot, orange peel, and uses your house biere de garde yeast (oh, so yummy). The collaboration's bottle is a 22oz-er. In homage to you, Brewery Vivant, Jodi put somes roosters on it, it's spectacular. To the right is a very dramatic picture of a mocked up bottle (the real bottle will be silk screened (just like the rest of our Lips of Faith)). 

    I am very excited to taste this next half of our beer relationship, it promises to be a real gem. Oh, and Brewery Vivant, this beer will be available through our distribution network in about a month (or so). Maybe you can come back to Colorado and we can drink both sides of this beer collaboration together, while sitting around a fire, and maybe we can share our feelings and more beers. That would be nice.

    Until we meet again Brewery Vivant, I miss you...

    Yours, 

    -Juicebox

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  • We made a beer with G. Love. Should we have a sip?

    It's called Peach Porch Lounger, it's part of our Lips of Faith Series, and I am happy to say- it's available now. This beer has all the G. Love marks, Southern ingredients, a bluesy charm, and a label to beat the band (very punny, I know)... G. Love came to the brewery a while back and designed the beer of his dreams. He wanted a beer for Front Porch Lounging, and man, did he succeed. Peach Porch Lounger has peaches (duh...), hominy grits, molasses, a French saison yeast for primary fermentation and it's finished with brettanomyces. It carries a nice funk and a peachy sweetness. This beer is delicate enough to grow a daffodil, and yet, it's 9.4% ABV (very punchy). Let's take this next couple minutes to taste and review... 

    Visual: A deep straw color with a rich haze. The head is bright white, and lingers.

    Aroma: Very spicy, saison-y, with herbal and peach overtones. As the brettanomyces ages the over-ripened pineapple aromas will come through a bit more, but for now the it is taking a backseat, and that's perfectly fine.

    Taste: Fruity, sweet and a bit funky. The alcohol fights through in the middle, bringing heat and some pepper flavors. The molasses added sugars to the fermentables, adding some complexity to the alcohols. Very interesting, very good, very strong. 

    Mouthfeel/body: The delicate nature of this beer is most prevalent in the mouthfeel. Peach Porch Lounger starts huge, sweet, chewy and hot. But that fades, and quickly. The finish is dry, like super dry, it leaves you thirsty. Which is good, because there is a whole bottle (or glass) to finish. And, as the brett continues in the bottle, the complexity will only grow and grow. I am looking forward to reviewing this beer again in a couple months when the conditioning yeast has really taken hold. But for now the the beer is awesome and the mouthfeel and body are real highlights.

    Overall: This beer is great (and yes, I'm very biased (but you should expect that by now...)). It's delicate but strong, complex, and fruity, all things I like in beer. The power of the booze in this beer takes it right out of the "sessionable" category, but that does not preclude it from front porch lounging. I like to sit on my steps, sip and watch the world go by. For lawn mowing you should pick a different beer, but for hanging out with friends, listening to tunes and heckling the passers-by, this is the perfect beer.

    We also made a film for the release of this beer, check it out:

     



    And on that note, I'm out. I have the Fort Collins Tour de Fat to attend tomorrow and my costume is only half done...


    Hugs,

    -JUICEBOX

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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.

    -Juicebox

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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.

    Hugs, 

    Juicebox

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  • I had a bottle of Le Terroir, then I drank it.

    I do not have a beer cellar. I have a shelf in my refrigerator dedicated to beer. Over time I have collected some great bottles. In there right now: a couple rare Avery's, some Funkwerks, a few from Crooked Stave's Wild, Wild series, some Russian River, and more. I also have a ton of our Lips of Faith beers: several vintages of La Folie, Eric's Ale, Dunkleweiss, etc... As I have accumulated beers I have run out of space. The shelf is maxed out. I hit the weight restriction months ago, and with the addition of two bottles of the 2011 Abyss I recently acquired the refrigerator's spacial summit has been reached. No more room. In figuring what to do I have drawn up true cellar plans to be executed in my basement. It is going to be nice, lots of dark stained wood, the bottles will be laid down on their sides, small spot lights for a dramatic aura, maybe a small water feature. But, considering the pace in which I accomplish tasks, the cellar is scheduled to be completed by the fall, of 2015.

    What is the interim fix for this cellar problem? Start drinking. And last night I did. I cracked my last bottle of 2011 Le Terroir. This dry-hopped sour took home the goldest of medals at last year's Great American Beer Festival (American Sour Category). It is real gem. The nose is full citrus and the flavor is bitingly tart. The finish is dry and puckering and I really wish I had more. In the picture you will notice two glasses. My wife was home. Usually when I open one of these beers she is either not home, or not interested. But, my bride has a soft spot for sours, and this is one of her favorites. I even classed it up with the glassware. I had big plans for a food pairing for Le Terroir too, but once the bottle got cracked, beer distraction took over, and it was gone before we started cooking.

    So in closing, if you, or any of your friends have Le Terroir, drink it, it is awesome. Or, send it to me.

    With open arms,

    Juicebox

    @NewBelgium

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  • Want to try Cocoa Molé?

    I do too, so let's do it.

    I just went downstairs to the Liquid Center and poured myself a glass of the newest Lips of Faith offering, took a couple pictures and now I am ready to talk you through a tasting of this wonderful and strange beer. Cocoa Molé was a culmination of great brewing, gastronomic history and inspired art work. The recipe concept came from Grady, our assistant brewmaster. He grew up in Colorado and grew up eating molé sauces. It was a favorite of his and as soon as he started drinking beer he figured the flavors of molé would translate into beer very well. Then we flash forward to a couple months ago and Grady acted on his molé beer idea. He brewed the beer with chocolate malt, dark chocolate malt and chocolate rye, spiced it with cocoa powder and cinnamon and then added the chipotle, gaujillo and ancho chili peppers for a nice glowing heat. He hit his mark well. The bottle art is the other fascination for me. Jodi Taylor is the head woman in charge when it comes to the Lips of Faith bottle art, having designed most (if not all) of the silk screened bottles (among a lot of other things), and she slapped Cocoa Molé's art out of the park. Sparked by the sugar skulls and flags found around the Day of the Dead in Mexico this bottle has taken on a life of its own. The color choice is pitch perfect and the design just nailed it. Bottle art is generally used to draw in the drinker, pique interest at the point of purchase, this art does just that, in droves.

    Together, the bottle and the liquid create a happy place for me, and hopefully you. I tasted it and I want to review it for you. This review is probably biased (more like definitely biased), but what review isn't (am I right?). Let's get to it.

     

    Visual:

    Very dark, almost black, with just the slightest red hue. A tan head comes alive on top, but fades pretty quickly and leaves a really nice, intricate lacing.

    Aroma:

    Cinnamon is first, big time. The cinnamon just leaps out, but in the background is the cocoa/chocolate. It smells like Mexican chocolate, sweet and fragrant. The peppers are present as well, maybe in the far-background, like hiding in the cinnamon bushes (does cinnamon grow in bushes?).

    Taste:

    This is my favorite part. The cocoa is more present on the tongue than the nose. The cocoa/cinnamon combo from the aroma is flip-flopped, more chocolate here, with the cinnamon taking the background role. There are some earthy tones in there too. The beer was bittered with target hops, which is a great hop for just that, bittering. Cocoa Molé has no hop profile or real bitterness to speak of, the hops are there to balance the sweetness of the malts. Buit, I think the Targets (in light of what I just said about no hop profile) bring an earthy, almost grassy, undertone. Then the peppers hit, almost as a palate cleanser. These peppers are of the red pigmentation, so not super hot. In Cocoa Molé the chocolate and cinnamon cover up the flavor of the peppers at first, but then the heat of the peppers kicks in and washes the chocolate and cinnamon right off your tongue. And then the gentle glow and spice of the peppers comes to the forefront. On a heat index scale of 1 to 10, I would call this beer a 3.5, just hot enough to remind you that you're alive. And then the sip is over and you immediately want another one.

    Body/Mouthfeel:

    Medium to full bodied with the spicy tingle hanging on in the aftertaste.

    Overall:

    This beer is a strange and wonderful concoction. Is it a chocolate beer? Sort of. Is it a Mexican chocolate beer? Yeah, closer. Is it a chili beer? Kind of. All of these things present a balance though, they play off each other in compliment. Cocoa Molé is wonderful and I will be drinking it often.

    Important Stats:

    9% ABV

    This beer is largely available through our distribution areas, but it's going fast. Draft and 22oz bottles are the packages and I highly encourage you to look for it, here is a link to the Libation Locator to help you out.

    Hope you can find the beer and I hope you enjoy it. And on that note, I'm out.

    Juicebox

     

     

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