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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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  • Red Hoptober is a new beer for fall, and it is really good...

    Fall is here! At least it is in New Belgium seasonal-beer land... Starting August 1st Red Hoptober is officially on beer-shop shelves and in tap lines all across our distribution area. When you're in line at the bar, trying to decide what you want, look for this handle, and then order it. You will not be disappointed (at least I hope not). 

    Let me give you a quick rundown:

    Red Hoptober is the perfect beer for warm days, or cooling nights. Fall is a strange time of year that can require a backpack full of clothes to make it comfortably through a day. You can spend the afternoons hiking around, soaking your cut-off jean shorts in sweat, and then the evenings chilled in a pullover, standing next to a warming campfire. You don't want summer to disappear quite yet, but when it does you might as well have the right beer for the job. And Red Hoptober will make this transition easier...

    Red Hoptober pours a deep and dark red, almost burnt. The foam comes up a tannish-white and billows high, like decorative pillows on the most comfortable bed in the world. The aroma is bold and hoppy. Red Hoptober is dry hopped with Centennial and Eldorado hops, and those are the first things off the nose, lush floral and citrus tones float right up your smell-holes. A malty sweetness is present as well. Some caramel and coffee aromas are unmistakable, but they are hiding behind the hops for sure. When you get into the flavor the hops back off a touch to make room for some fig and toffee and roasted nuts, but the hop bite shows up in the end (for sure). It brings bitterness to refresh and clean your palate. There is a balance in Red Hoptober, but it's teetering towards the hoppy side. It finishes soundly bitter and clean and leaves you wanting more. This beer scores high in my (very biased) book.

    To finish, here is a very big and dramatic shot of a poured up glass of Red Hoptober.

    Now it's time to start your hunt for Red Hoptober...

    Thanks for reading, 

    -Juicebox

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  • Clock out, it's finally time for a SHIFT BEER!

    16oz cans of Shift Beer are taking over the world! Or, at least, I hope they do, because this beer is awesome. April 2 is the official release of Shift (that's today!!!!!), it's packaged in 16oz cans only, and should be available through our entire distribution area as of right now. This is a pale lager, light bodied, but full flavored, 5% ABV. Shift is a session beer, lightly hopped with Nelson Sauvins from New Zealand, and while being a hop forward lager, this beer is very drinkable, no matter your tastes in beer. 

    I have been talking a little about Shift in recent weeks, here on the blog, and on the ol' Facebook, you know, building a buzz, getting the facts out to you as they become available. And finally, today, I can tell you that Shift is on your shelves and ready for the drinking. But before you head out into this wide, wide world looking for it, let me give you the full run down for Shift. I want to give you all the information you need to successfully find these big cans of beer and enjoy them to their fullest potential.

    First, lets talk about the can, it's 16oz's– a tall boy, pounder, pint can, el gigante, or, as I like to call it –> the perfect sized beer. Fat Tire, in 12oz cans, has been around since the summer of '08, and we have added Sunshine and Ranger IPA since, and craft beer cans (generally) have been around even longer. Our can production has been blowing up since we started offering them, and in just four years we outgrew the capacity of our original line. We started looking for a shiny new line last year. The new one we decided on fills lots of 12oz cans per minute, way more than the old line, but we found out pretty quickly that it also filled 16oz cans. So we did what anyone in this position would do, we decided to put beer into those bigger cans. And then we took it one step further, we decided to brew a beer that would fit so well into that bigger sized package it would be exclusive to it. Hence... Shift Beer in 16oz cans only! Boom! The big cans are great for more than just increasing your drinking efficiency, they also make your hands look dainty and cute, and who doesn't need a little of that in their life?

    And then on to the total package. This is a canned-up, crazy, craft world we live in and there are some folks still having a difficult time deciding which package is best for their beer: cans, kegs, or bottles. Decisions are hard, but the good news is that this decision has no "wrong" answer. All beer packages are good, and none is really better than another. Some folks (like me) prefer their beer in cans, which makes this Shift release all the sweeter, some don't. We created a decision map full of information relavant to your beer package choices. I hope it helps guide your decision: 

    But wait, there's more! In conjunction with Shift's release we have created a new mobile app for your smart phone! This is exciting on several fronts. First, the highlights of the New Belgium/Shift App: You can set your clock-out alarm as a "work is done" reminder and then the post-shift Shift drinking can begin. You can use the New Belgium/Shift app to share photos of you and your cohorts enjoying some cans of Shift. And you can share a Shift with your pals on the social networks.  You can even use the app to locate a can of Shift. This last one is super terrific. The app reads your location (via your phone's GPS), and then reads our Beer Finder data, and then gives you a lead on your closest package stores and bars serving up these tall cans of awesome! Geo-locating... Who would've thought it would help you find beer? Am I right? The other awesome part of this app is that it auto-updates. So when new parts of the app or totally new and awesome things for the app are released in the future, say a new Ranger campaign, the app updates and morphs into the new app without you having to go back into the app store and download a different app. Oh, and it's free! So that's great too. We have made this app for iPhones and for Androids, so head on into your respective app getting places and download the fun.

    And then there's this, which is awesome too.

    That is the ad, featured in magazines on every level of the news stand's shelf. And like all of our advertisements it is, in fact, a 3-D thing. That time clock, and typewriter (and everything else) are screwed directly to the giant green board. It stands 6 feet (at least) with a 4 foot breadth, it's gigantic. I bet the Shift piece is the biggest shadow box, 3-D advertisement we've built to date. The other awesome thing about the ad is the hidden hashtag. I am a Twitter nerd, I love hashtags. If you don't know what a hashtag is ask one of your friends that's into Twitter, they'll tell you. But find the hidden hashtag and then jump in on this #ShiftBeer conversation. It will be a hoot!

    And then finally, Pandora. Who doesn't listen to Pandora? I listen mostly at work. Now there is a Shift Beer station for work, here's the link ––> Shift Work-Time Radio. The Shift Work station is full of tunes to keep you working and accomplishing during your clocked in time.

    But after work you want party music. So we made an after work station for Shift listening too. Here is that link ––> Shift Party-Time Radio. This post work, party time Shift station will keep the fun turned to 11. So tune in and don't forget to turn it up, like real loud...

    And that is everything you should need to Shift it up. Get after it, make good turns and good luck.

    XOXO,

    Juicebox

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  • I found some beers!

    I was walking around the office today, killing time, and I kept noticing beer bottles on everybody's desks. Collector's pieces to a certain degree. Only some of these beers were New Belgium's own. In the beer business you drink some beer, and while our beer is fantastic, and available, one is bound to develop favorites outside of one's own portfolio. So I started snapping pictures of the bottles I found. Here is the photo study. Most are empty, some are full, either way, enjoyment was had...

    Hope you liked the photo study and I hope you enjoyed the beer selection. And lastly, what beer bottles would you want (or already have) on your desk? 

    Hugs,

    JUICEBOX

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  • Cans Versus Bottles Versus Kegs! The battle rages on...

    With the release of Shift happening today, and 2012 being called the year of the craft beer can, it is important to talk about these beer package choices.  Between bottles and cans and kegs there isn't one package that is a clear winner over the others. They all have their ups, and they all have their downs. We want our consumers to be informed when the package choice is presented, so we made this handy-dandy decision map for your looking and considering, check it out.

    Now take this information and make use of it. And remember, be safe out there and make good turns.

    -JUICEBOX

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  • 2012, A CollaBEERative Year

    Around the New Belgium parts of the American Craft Beer landscape collaboration beers are in our blood. The first was Transatlantique Kriek with Brouwerij Boon in 2004 and then again in 2008. The Trip Series beers with Elysian in Seattle started in 2008 as well, and together we have gone on to create 11 of those over the years with no plans on stopping. Then there was Vrienden with Allagash in 2010, a delicious brettanomyces and lactobacillus beer with Belgian endive and hibiscus flowers. 2011 saw Clutch, a dark sour with the Maryland hardrockers of the same name. And 2012 will be another year of collaborative beers, in fact, a year full of collaBEERations.

    Coming this year are delicious beers with Lost Abbey of California, Brewery Vivant of Michigan (that's right Michigan, we're coming for you), another as yet unconfirmed (news coming soon) musical collaboration, and one more with the Alpine Beer Company out of San Diego. Seems like a lot to cover, so I am going to save all the pertinent info for the pertinent times and that leads us to today's post: A Beer with the Alpine Beer Company.

    There are a few things that make collaborative beers awesome: the collective mind that is inherent in the process, the pairings of histories and styles of both breweries, the mixed expertise, the companionship and brewers getting to visit and brew in foreign brewhouses. Last week our very own Peter Bouckaert went out to San Diego county to hang out with Pat and Shawn (and others) of Alpine to make the first installment of this beer. Installment one was brewed at Alpine and will be available in Alpine bottles and in Alpine's distribution areas. Installment two (coming later this year) will be brewed at New Belgium and will be available in New Belgium bottles and in our distribution areas. Pictured right is Peter and Pat hanging out, talking about how great this beer is going to be.

    These guys all got together and performed some beer making magic (probably closer to science) down there in SD. What I could take away from my interview with Peter (his accent is pretty thick) was that the beer brewed at Alpine is going to be a wonderful, very dry beer, spiced with pink peppercorns. The pink peppercorns bring a strange sweet/sour rather than overly peppery flavor, they are subtle and very interesting. Three hops were used in the beer: Motueka, Columbus and according to Peter "a third hop, a forgotten hop, no seriously, I forget what the third hop was." The beer is dry hopped and will carry a some pleasant lemon/lime and tropical fruit tones. Then there is the brettanomyces, added late in the fermentation and then again for bottle conditioning. The most wild and Belgian of all the wild and Belgian brewing yeasts, the brett in this beer should impart the typical brett characteristics, pineapple and funky awesome-ness. It sounds great, doesn't it?

    And again, this version of the collaboration will be available through Alpine only. So if you are lucky enough to be within arm's reach of Alpine beers you should really go out and find some of this in the coming weeks. Otherwise you are going to have to wait until later this summer when New Belgium and Alpine will get together again in Fort Collins (this time) for another gem of a beer. From what I gather the beer brewed at NBB later this year is going to be an IPA of the real San Diego variety: bold, hoppy, delicious. But this summer is a long time from now and things could change, especially in brain's of wonderful and creative (and a little crazy) Brewmasters like these. But either way, stay tuned in and get ready for some great collaborative beers in 2012.

    -Juicebox

    PS. Photos came directly from Aimee Gilchrist's iPhone. Aimee does events and sponsorships for the New Belgium Brewing CO. in the Southern California area and vicinity. Thanks Aimee, you take real pretty pictures.

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  • Surly Bikes Can (and do) Carry New Belgium Beer

    And the proof is in the pudding (or in the photo (as there is no actual pudding))... I woke up this morning to my phone buzzing. It was buzzing because an early-bird friend had sent an email with a link to the Official Intergalactic Surly Regional HQ Facebook page (it's linked right there (take a minute and go like it, then come back and finish reading this)). When I opened the link I found a picture of a new bike from Surly, the corpulent Moonlander, and strapped right to the front rack of this jelly-bellied bicycle was a New Belgium Folly Pack. The picture was captioned "Nighttime beer run on the Moonlander, two great tastes that blah blah blah..."

    So I went ahead and stole the picture right off their Facebook page (screen-shot short-cuts on my keyboard have made violations and the theft of intellectual property sooooo much easier). In that grainy and kind of dark photo is one really nice looking bike and 12 delicious looking beers, together in harmony.

    The caption, however, has left me a bit thirsty (pun present), it states (post comma) "two great tastes that blah blah blah..." These recurring blahs leave the last part of the poster's thought unknown, unfinished. The interpretation of the "blahs" is left to the reader. So I figured I'd take a couple minutes this morning and ask around NBB, see if my coworkers have any thoughts as to the interpretation of the "blah blah blahs" found at the end of Surly's unfinished caption.

    So, here it is, without further adieu (as they say) the first (and maybe only) caption contest (we'll see how it goes) in the history of this blog.

    1: Nighttime beer run on the Moonlander, two great tastes that "are both better than getting your fingers caught in a slamming door." Jordana

    2: Nighttime beer run on the Moonlander, two great tastes that "both remind me of your Mother." My Dad (he happened to call mid-contest)

    3: Nighttime beer run on the Moonlander, two great tastes that "could be used to re-create 'Smoky and the Bandit,' but you know, on bikes and without all the Coors and my mustache really isn't that great. Wait, can we start over?"  Ryan

    4: Nighttime beer run on the Moonlander, two great tastes that "can get you rolling in the mud (wink, wink)." Simpson

    5: Nighttime beer run on the Moonlander, two great tastes that "yackity, yack Bussmann, can you ever just shut your mouth?" a different Ryan

    6: Nighttime beer run on the Moonlander, two great tastes that "get you where you need to go." Drew

    7: Nighttime beer run on the Moonlander, two great tastes that "make me wish the planet Arrikis was real and I lived there and it's environment was more accommodating to people and I had beer and this bike and a lot of free time to drink and ride and think about "Dune" and really just get to know myself better." Me (Bussmann/Juicebox/the Pineapple)

    8: Nighttime beer run on the Moonlander, two great tastes that "make you think of Mag-Chloride induced esophageal reflux." Meghan

    I got a couple more answers, but they weren't that good and I figured I should really just cap it at the best 8 (we don't have all day). Tell me what you think. Who won? Maybe you have a caption for the adding? You can comment on the Facebook post (here at NBB FB HQ) or send me an email, mbussmann@newbelgium.com.

    I will tally the answers and let you know the truth. I will also take those answers back to Surly and see if the winning caption was anywhere close to the actual thought at the end of that nighttime beer run and then maybe ask if they want to come over and drink some beers with us.

    I love you all,

    -Juicebox

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  • Beer, Food... Together

    Lately, dinner around Juicebox Acres has been an exercise in classy dining with winter season vegetables. Squash, beets, chard, etc, and I have also been very into big, hoppy beers since the weather has turned here in Colorado a couple weeks ago, it's cold and dark outside and some very nice food pairings have been blossoming in my kitchen.

    Dinner from Monday night: a red chard, bacon and rice goulash (thank you Rachael Ray (she calls it Red Chard and Rice (and she also calls it a side dish, we went main course and put our own spin on it with beer and brown rice))).

     

    Yep, I know goulash is typically a noodle dish but I had no better way to describe this and I didn't like Red Chard and Rice. We fried up five or six slices of bacon that had been cut up into "bits". A few minutes of browning happened and then we threw in some garlic and let that cook up too.  Then comes the chard, 1 bunch, stemmed, rough chopped, dropped into the pan. As the chard is carrying on, take this time to spice the whole deal with a little nutmeg, salt, pepper and paprika (of the Hungarian variety (another reason to call it goulash)). Let this cook until the chard has a chance to wilt and heat through. Before starting the bacon we steamed up some brown rice and put it to the side. Now that the chard and bacon and everything is cooked, throw the done rice in, add some chicken stock and a little hoppy beer just to wet everything down and let it simmer for a little while.  Once the liquid is all soaked up put it in a bowl that also contains a fork and crack a Fresh Hop IPA. The bursting citrus of the hops in the beer go well with the savory nature of this dish. While not the spiciest dinner (typical IPA pairing is with spicy food), the richness of the bacon and chard use the hop oils to their advantage and the bitterness of the beer compliments the earthy nature of the chard. A major dinner success.

    Then we have last nights dinner: butternut and beet soup with a yogurt and cilantro sauce-like-topper.

    We took this recipe from food blogger extraordinaire Foy in her regularly updated- Foy Update. I would normally take this time to explain how we cooked the dish but Foy does that task so well I better leave it to her, so follow the link above and take in her wonderful descriptions and pictures. I will, however, take this time to talk about the Ranger IPA pairing that we served with it. This soup is a bit sweet and a bit spicy. The yogurt sauce has Siracha in it and the beet and ginger in the base soup make for a wonderful juxtaposition of toothsome and hot. This two part flavor plays right into the hands of Ranger IPA. The bitterness in match with the citrus and maltiness of this beer offer the fun two parter as well. The hops play with the spice and the malt plays with the sweet. The citrus flavors compliment the ginger and the lingering slickness of the soup is cut through by the dryness of the Ranger.  Really, a great pair. You should try it (and you should read the Foy Update more regularly, maybe my favorite food blog).

    These hoppy beers and these late harvest veggies are making for a great dinner-time-hours and eating and drinking (at least close) to seasonally is a wonderful challenge. I never thought I liked chard, turns out I do (especially with bacon).

    -JUICEBOX

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  • Whole Foods, Beer and Twitter!

    Have you ever heard of a Tweet Up?  Me neither, that is until my dear friend The Beer Wench asked me to help out with one.  Turns out a Tweet Up is when a group of folks get together in the Twitter-o-sphere and use a hash-tag to talk about the same thing.  What's that you say?  Never heard of a hash-tag?  A hash-tag looks like this: #awesomegloves and you can attach that pound sign, followed by some words (in this case: awesome and gloves) to the end of your Twitter updates (henceforth: Tweets) and everyone using Twitter can search #awesomegloves (or whatever hash-tag you like) and see every Tweet using that hash-tag and see what the whole world thinks of their awesome gloves.  Using a hash-tag is like a proactive keyword search.  Make sense?  OK, so back to The Beer Wench, she has teamed up with Whole Foods and they have crafted a series of beer tastings to take place, live, in the Twitter-verse.  Head over here for the full and mighty press release. This model is based on the Whole Foods #WFMdish Tweet Up that happens on Thursday nights talking about food and recipes and all the specifics and generalities about those things, crammed into 140 characters.  It is fun and anyone can participate (assuming you have a Twitter account (if you don't you can still follow along, but not post your own thoughts on the matter)).  In this vein Whole Foods and The Beer Wench have slated #WFMbeer as the relevant hash-tag and put together some American Craft Breweries to start firing away with Tweets and the hope of your participation.

    The first in the series of craft beer tastings is scheduled to happen live, one week from today (on 12/20) at 7pm EST (again, using the hash-tag #WFMbeer), and the schedule for the night is as follows:

    7pm EST: New Belgium (@newbelgium) Snow Day
    7:15 EST: Deschutes (@DeschutesBeer) Jubelale
    7:30 EST: Bison Brewing (@bisonbrew) Gingerbread Ale
    7:45 EST: Dogfish Head (@dogfishbeer) Chicory Stout

    8pm EST: After party (free for all!!)

    As you can see from the schedule we here at NBB HQ are participating and we're bringing Snow Day to the (virtual) table and the other breweries look to be bringing some heat as well.  My recommendation is that you head over to your neighborhood bottle shop, procure these beers, get your Tweet-Deck running and get in on the fun.  This Tweet Up is a really good way to hear about new beers, try new beers, hear other people's opinions about said beers and also give your opinion (and I value that).  In other words, (capitol F) Fun...

    I'll see you in the Twitter-scape,

    Juicebox

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  • Frambozen is back (for a while now)!

    Alright, so this post is a little late, but man I have been really busy lately talking about other things, and it's not like it's too late to talk about it... So with out further ado---> FRAMBOZEN IS BACK!  This beer comes out every year in time for service to your best Thanksgiving guests and it stays on the shelves long enough to see the new year.  Which is to say long enough to serve at all of your holiday gatherings and happenings.  Frambozen is a raspberry brown ale that carries the wonderful sweetness and the casual tartness of the raspberry.  Every year some NBB folks find a raspberry crop they like, they have it juiced and then sent over to NBB HQ.  This is first pressing juice, not concentrate, and we store it in a refrigerated vessel in wait until then base brown ale is ready.  Once the base beer is brewed and fermented and ready for the blending they fine folks in NBB's Church of Fermentology blend the two together.  When together the beer and the raspberry juice marry for a few days, celebrating and becoming one (instead of two) and the alcohol preserves the juice and the juice enlivens the beer.  What you get is a wonderful fruit beer with rich, dark malt tones and then smiles on every mouth that takes the time to sip it.  Frambozen is worth coveting and a it's beer worth sharing with your most loved family and friends.  It should be on the shelves in a beer shop near you right now (as we speak), check the Libation Location for more details about Frambozen in your town.

    And speaking of Libation Location the beer finder can now differentiate package from draft!  This is big news if you want to find a bar with Frambozen (or whatever beer you're looking for) rather than a beer shop (or vice-versa).  So take this knowledge and apply it!  Get the good times rolling and remember ol' Juicebox on those gift lists, I like stuff too.

    xoxo,

    Juicebox

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