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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!

    -JUICEBOX

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  • IPA Day is August 2nd...

    Did you know there is an IPA Day? Well there is. And it's all thanks to Ashley Rouston (The Beer Wench) and Ryan Ross (of the San Diego based, heavy hitting, Karl Strauss). These two beer drinkers felt the IPA needed its very own day, so last year they decided to give it one. And I, for one, couldn't be happier. Coming Thursday, the 2nd of August, 2012 is the 2nd annual International IPA Day! There are lots of things happening for this special day, for the most up to the minute details you should follow #IPADay on Twitter.

    And, if you want to celebrate this most-wonderful of days with New Belgium there are three glorious ways:

    Firstly, come to the brewery! We are going gaga over IPA Day and things are going to get awesome. There are 4.5 IPAs on tap for the day and we want you to sip them all. We got Ranger, Belgo, Matt's Cascadian Dubbel (a dark, hoppy, Belgian yeast-y bit of wonder), The Alpine Beer Co. Collaboration: Super IPA, and we are tapping some Red Hoptober (the .5 of the count, a hoppy seasonal for fall (though, not quite an IPA)). We will have hops spread about the room and when you find a variety that you like (smells nice) we will serve you up the beer that contains the hop of your choosing. Then pair it with chocolate! And then, your first sample pairing is free! The match the hops to the beer game will  continue through the day and things should be really fun.

    And then we're doing a Beer Stream! A Beer Stream is a live streaming event hosted on our Facebook page where anyone (with a FB account) can come join some easy New Belgium personalities talking about our beers. This will be our 4th (or maybe 5th) stream to date and we have covered everything from Shift to Tart Lychee, and (frankly) it's about time we hit the IPA's. On IPA Day the Beer Stream we will be covering Ranger, Belgo and Super IPA. Those easy personalities I was talking about are myself (the Juicebox) and Matty Smooth. Matty is a brewer/know it all around these parts and he is chocked full of beer making knowledge. So, the important details- click on the Beer Stream link on our Facebook wall on Thursday, August 2nd (IPA Day) at 5:00pm MST... 

    And then there is a third way to celebrate IPA Day with NBB, and this one is for those folks that can't make it to Fort Collins, nor do they have a Facebook account. The third way is to go out and buy an IPA (maybe a Ranger?) and drink it on Thursday in celebration.

    Happy IPA Day

    Alright! Break...

    -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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  • Fresh Hop IPA, Part 2

    Following up Kenny's, Fresh Hop IPA, part one post from Tuesday is going to be a challenge, but I think this is Juicebox's time to shine.  So let's get right after it.

    Let me introduce Fresh Hop IPA, Part 2-

    It was a Sunday Morning, I was sleepy and hungry but alas, duty called.  I had been calling over to the Brewhouse all morning trying to get an ETA for the hops arrival and I was finally told (after much pestering) that the first brew had been mashed in at 10am and the hop truck was south of Laramie, Wy (which, by all mapping standards, is pretty close).  I grabbed the camera and cruised over to the brewery.  The plan was that a few of us would be needed and needing to show up at the designated hour to unload the reefer truck and hand carry the bags and boxes of fresh hops up to the hatch on the lauter tun, which would be used for hopbacking purposes.  When I looked at that truck full of hops my back started hurting and my hands got really chapped (I am, some how, allergic to actual labor) but with the help of some trusty co-workers we started carrying stuff and I felt instantly better, as a box of fresh hops looks heavy, but in reality, it's not that bad.

    The fresh hop bill went like this, a whole bunch of wet Amarillo, then a mess of wet Centennials, and finally a large helping of wet Cascades.  As we carried we had to make sure that the boxes that were being pulled off the truck were, in fact, the right boxes.  We had enough fresh hops for four brews, but we wanted to leave the hops for the later brews in the cooling air of the reefer truck, so planning as we were lifting was required.  But no big deal, Alex (the maiden of fresh hop logistics) was on hand, she directed and we carried.  Upon getting all the boxes up to the top of the lauter it was only a few minutes before the dumping had to commence.  The 6 of us lending a hand started to goof off (as expected) and we decided to fresh hop a few Blue Paddles to sip on as we were waiting.  Now Blue Paddle is one of my favorites.  It's a pilsener with the nice refreshing bite of hops, not to much, just a subtle bitterness.  Someone thought it a grand idea (it may have been me) to unload a couple wet hops from the boxes and toss them into a globe glass of Paddle.  Now I understand that no heat was going to be applied for alpha-acid extraction and the time frame of stuffing a couple hop cones into a beer and then drinking said beer would not be enough time impart much hoppiness in a cold environment either, but I figured it would at least make a good picture and then we could drink the beer (a win-win in my book).  And look, the picture came out pretty cool and almost everyone finished their hop-floating Blue Paddle during our goof off time. 

    As we were tipping back the final sips of our first beer break we got the charge. Someone yelled "pour them hops into that hatch" and everyone jumped into action.  Bag after bag, box after box of fresh, 18 hour old Yakima-born wet hops were poured right into our Colorado-located lauter tun.  Again, as Kenny described in part one, the brew would be mashed in, lautered, boiled and then sent back to the lauter tun where a bed of fresh hops would be waiting for the hot and steamy wort.  We were pouring these hop flowers in the lauter tun just as the boil was just finishing.  It was only going to take 10 or 15 minutes to soak in that hoppy flavor in the lauter (turned hopback) so our window (as with the rest of this project) was pretty small.  We were dumping as fast as we could to build that beautiful (and comfortable looking) bed of fresh hop flowers.  The lauter tun has a big rake in it that is normally used to keep the grain bed level during right when the rake got firingits normal duties, but during the fresh hopping segment of the brew the rake was employed to level out the hops and it worked great. The rake was spinning and the final couple of boxes were poured in and we locked the hatch.  Soon after the hatch was closed and lock the freshly boiled wort came flooding in.  It was a sight to see, all steamy and green and awesome.  It was also really funny to step back and watch six grown adults all fighting over the view into a very small window, it was like a bunch of kids at Disney World shoving at each other to get a better look through the glassy bottomed boat.  It really was beer making at its finest and I was happy to be there. 

    As soon as the hop soak was done and the wort left the lauter it headed for the chiller before going straight into the cellar for the yeast pitch and brew one was done.  We all high-fived.  As the high fives were going off the unmistakable sound of barley filling the wet mill filled our ears.  That sound meant the next brew was starting and it was only a few more bits until the next load of boxes needed to come upstairs for the fresh hop dumping and the reality hit... we were going to be doing this all day.

    The time frame dubbed "several weeks later" is now upon us and Fresh Hop IPA is on tap towers and store shelves in markets abound, but what does this beer taste like.  Well it is an IPA, and a bold one at that.  The nose is full of orange peel and a fresh, woods-i-ness that can only come from American hops.  It has strong, sharp bitterness in flavor and a bold, enjoyable bite on the tongue.  This is a great beer, and  very drinkable at 70 IBU's. Fresh Hop IPA is strongish at 7% ABV and has that wonderful greenness of a good fresh hopped beer.

    Overall the process to make a fresh hop beer on a big scale in Colorado is difficult, but not impossible.  Inspiration, hard work and the love of hoppy beers were all driving forces to bring this beer to you.  Was it worth it?  Drink some, and you tell me...

    -JUICEBOX and KENNY

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  • Who Wants a Beer Cocktail?

    My love of Blue Paddle and orange juice is widely known.  I have written about it a few times and even produced the most loved recipe (see link).  I would like to take today and show off some other beer cocktails that are close to my heart and taste good on my tongue.   These drinks are good and the mixer procurement should be pretty easy, so if something strikes your fancy- mix away (but make sure to send me the royalties check).  I also added some pairing ideas to ice the cake (if you know what I mean).

    Drink one: The Depth Charge- 10oz of 1554 mixed with two shots of warm espresso.  The warmth of the coffee thaws the cold beer to just the right slightly-lower-than-room temperature kind of temperature to bring out all of the rich dark tones of the 1554.  I recommend this beer in the AM hours as an eye opener, the caffeine is definitely present and the acidity of the coffee brings a pleasant bitterness to this not so bitter dark beer.  Pair with pancakes and maple syrup.

    Drink two: The Brass Shandy- 12oz of Ranger IPA mixed with 4oz of your favorite mango/lime juice (I chose Odwalla Mango Lime Twist).  This cocktail was great for the hoppy beer drinker.  It was bitter and awesome.  The Cascade hops leapt off the nose and the taste was a spicy-citrus punch of bitter and lime.  The lime enhances the bitterness to big levels and the overall grapefruit-ed-ness of the Ranger was sent rolling in the hay with the soft fruit tones of the mango.  Pair with tofu pad-Thai, extra spicy.

    Drink three: The Frenchie- 3oz of La Folie mixed with 1oz of pomegranate juice.  HOLY SMOKES!  This is amazing! The sweetness of the juice mellows the sour of the wood aged La Folie and makes it taste almost like a fruit beer (which I guess it is with fruit juice in it).  The sour, when mixed with the strong, sacchariferous juice turns into the sharp blade of the beer rather than the broad edge.  This has dessert written all over it.  Pair with vanilla ice cream with strawberries placed atop. 

    Drink four: The Sunshine Spritz- 12oz of Sunshine Wheat mixed with 4oz of San Pellegrino's Limonata.  The Limonata on its own is almost to much for my palate.  It is a very spritzy lemon drink that registers very low on the sweet scale.  I like tart stuff a lot, but this drink is cranked to 11.  However, when you pour one part Limonata to 3 parts Sunshine Wheat the tartness of the lemon is called to a background role and the sweetness of the lemon steps up front to hold hands and bow in time with the deafening applause of Sunshine's orange peel spice.  And the extra bubbliness of the San Pellegrino gives this beer cocktail a spritzer like feel that is down right refreshing.  Pair with a melon-heavy fruit salad.

    Drink five:  The Baby Blue- Blue Paddle served over ice in a globe glass.  The piece de resistence (so to speak) of beer cocktails.  This takes my all time favorite summer beer and makes it even summer-i-er.  Keeping the Blue Paddle cold and (eventually) lowering the ABV as it melts, the ice enhances this beer into the upper stratosphere of drinkability.  It is so simple and so perfect and you should absolutely try this at home.  Pair with a warm-to-hot day full of Lawn Darts and bar-b-qued meat (still on the bone).

    Beer cocktails are delicious and coming up strong in the press right now, everybody is concocting their own gems and I felt I could add to this spreading fire.  Hope this inspires you to get your mix on and try something new.

    xo,

    juicebox

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  • I went to GABF and lived to tell the story...

    HOLY SMOKES!  I almost didn't make it out of there alive.  GABF has come and gone for 2011 and it was truly a success.  But as promised, I took some photos and jotted some notes and I would love to present that information to you... and if there is time, my predictions for some of the categories winners (even though the medal ceremony is over and all the winners have gone home already).  This is a long one so hang on, here it goes--->

    I was running late, like super late, I was coming off giving a tour of NBB HQ and my ride was waiting and my phone was dieing and I felt flustered.  Her car was parked in the loading zone and she started to roll off as she lowered her backseat window and I jumped in (head first (like superman (only larger and conspicuously cape-less))).  But upon the thud of landing we were headed to Denver.  We had a couple scheduled stops (again, mostly my fault) but we made it there just after the doors to the festival opened.  Last year I had a real nice lanyard (credentials baby) which granted me access to the door without a line, but this year was different, I had a mere ticket which relegated me to the back of the line (and boy-howdy, that line was huge).  We found the back of that line eventually and then started making our way towards the entry door.

    Upon getting in to the big show I decided it prudent to head directly towards the New Belgium Booth to take a look see and start my evening of with a delicious Belgo IPA.  My mind was immediately blown.  That new booth had everything: gorgeous art, lots of tap handles and a line of people to back it up.  The folks who designed and built this booth (Ryan and Troy and Karen, et al...) should really be high in their boots right now because they did a tremendous job.  And as my plan would suggest I started my evening with a 1oz pour of delicious Belgo IPA.  Now, if you read this blog (even sometimes) you should know that I love Belgo IPA.  Truth be told I just love Belgian style IPA's but Belgo is my favorite and that small plastic glass of love was the right way to start out my GABF tasting adventures.

    After that quick NBB stop I promptly headed towards the Midwest.  I hail from the great state of Missouri and I love tasting the beers from my hometown as well as other adjacent Midwestern cities.  Town Hall had a lavender explosion of wonderful-ness in LSD and O'Fallon's Pumpkin was great too.  I made stops at Boulevard and Mother's and many other great USA-centered breweries before heading into the wilds of the Northeast.  Allagash (as always) provided unbelievable beers and great companionship.  To the dismay of the building line behind me I stayed up front at the Allagash booth chit-chatting and sipping some amazing beers.  The Curieux was great, as was the Coolship Resurgam, wild and crazy and quenching and awesome. 

    Now at this stage in the GABF game I was plan-less.  Last year I stuck with sours and had a fun time (and by the end, a stomach ache), but this year I was hoping to just mosey about until a plan presented itself.  35 minutes in and no ideas had surfaced so I figured I'd better head into the great and hoppy wilds of the Pacific Northwest before my aimless ways blew out my palate prematurely. I stopped first at Breakside Brewery and upon tasting my first sample there a plan became clear.  I drank Farmhouse Grisette and from that moment on (GABF and otherwise) I wanted to drink nothing but sessionable saisons. This beer was somewhere hanging about 3.2% ABV and the saison characteristics were still very present.  There was a touch of fruitiness, a light, delicate balance of the funk/tart, and it was drinkable till daybreak.  I absolutely loved this beer and it set the bar for my new favorite style (sorry Belgian style IPA's). The problem with this plan, however, was that over the next two and a half hours of this GABF sipping time I found less than a couple other low alcohol saisons; (Fort Collins local) Funkwerks Saison is one great beer but the 6.2% ABV removes it from the front porch sessionability of a great low-octane beer.  So thanks to Breakside I was heartbroken and then further heartbroken when I realized my next trip to Portland isn't even planned yet, so who knows when I will get to enjoy their wonderful beers again, sigh...

    But my GABF Pacific Northwest wanderings were not quite done.  I have been a fan of Deschutes since my ill-fated move to Bend, Oregon in the year 2000.  I left Bend a mere 8 months later but my love of their brews continues today.  I stopped by to try the Deschutes/ Boulevard Collaboration: Conflux number 2. The beer was amazing, flat out, a wheat IPA, so good.  And then I noticed that Deschutes had a branded spit-toon.  As I was stepping back to try it out (fresh cheek full of chaw) Alicia from Deschutes politely asked to keep the spit-toon for beer related spits only.  Which I guess I can understand, but I bet I could have hit that thing from 10 yards (I have been practicing and the spit accepting hole on that spit-toon was huge).  I also had 1oz pour of Stoic while at the Deschutes booth and was blown away (again (every time I have that beer it is a borderline religious experience)).

    Then, as typical at this stage in the GABF game, my palate went the way of the Kangaroo Island Emu and I could no longer taste anything, so I set out to snap a few more photos before my phone died (and took my camera with it).  I have an affinity for pretzels and outdoing people so I brought this as my pretzel necklace (see image to the right).  It tasted like plastic and wasn't very filling but man, it was huge and it grabbed people's attention.  I also thought it relevant (based on my love of pretzels) to head on over to the Snyder's of Hanover booth to say hello and talk about the ancient art of pretzel making (a study of mine).  It was here that I ran into my long lost German relatives Ingrid and Bert.  I have not seen these two since their last trip to the USA and I had not expected to see them at GABF.  I mean sure, they are beer lovers (and fancy dressers) but Germany is a long ways away.  Needless to say it was nice to see them.  We are all pictured together and the photo caught the moment in which I was explaining my family relations and their outfits to the Snyder's of Hanover spokesman, they were super impressed that my cousin Bert had our family crest on his lederhosen.

    It was then (walking from the Snyder's booth) that I ran into Eric from www.focusonthebeer.com.  He is a good friend and truly a gifted beer blogger.  If you don't read Focus on the Beer already follow the link over and check it out, great stuff.  Anyway, Eric and I were talking about GABF and the great beers we had tried to that point (he talked about the Coche de Medinoche from Elysian (or was that me (I don't know)).  We were also trying to make plans for some beer sipping after GABF closed for the night.  It was the heat of the moment, I was so excited about running into him and the possibility of hanging out with him later and the mood caught me just right.  Yep, I kissed him.  It was a big moment and luckily it was caught on camera.

    Then the 2011 edition of the Great American Beer Festival ended, some of us headed to the bar and some of us headed home.  It was a good session and fun was had by all (but especially Eric (look at that face)) and now we can all start looking forward to 2012 and the 31st GABF.

    As far as my predictions for the medal winners go, I have none (I was just joking about that).  But I am super excited to say that Le Terroir, New Belgium's own dry hopped sour ale took home GOLD in the American Sour category and in total Colorado craft beer took home 39 medals. It's really is amazing to be part of this beer community and to be able to call American Craft Beer home.

    To GABF! CHEERS!

    XOXO,

    Juicebox

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  • I tasted Belgo IPA, and it is delicious.

    So a few weeks ago I mentioned that when Belgo IPA came out I would do a tasting and tell you all about it.  Well it's out and I tasted it and now I am going to tell you all about it.

    I poured this beer off the tap, a big globe glass.  The head was bright, like super bright white, just beautiful.  I managed to pack about 2.5 fingers of foam into the tapering top of that glass and it wanted to hang around.  It was a few minutes between the pour and the first sip because of the photo opportunity (and the slowness of my camera phone) but the head was hanging tough.  A small amount of dissipation but overall the head retention was superb.  The color of the beer itself is the next wonderment, just dazzlingly bright and almost slick looking.  The amber is amplified by swirlyness of the hoppy beer sheen, it is almost as if I am staring at the sun when I look at Belgo, but it doesn't make my head hurt.

    Then I took a couple long and luxurious sniffs at that glorious head and came away excited.  The sweet, fruity esters of a Belgian beer were dancing a slow jam with the punchy citrus personality of the IPA level hops... It was as if Belgo had two sides (like Two-Faced (the best Batman villain ever)). 

    Then I went in for the first sip. and the fruity tones of the yeast started the whole thing out.  It was all Belgian all the time: banana, plum, spicy clove, and bubble gum jumping out all at once.  Then as these flavors started to fade the citrus world of the Amarillo, Centennial and Cascade hops came blasting though with dominance, wiping out all the previous hints of the yeast.  The finish was crisp, dry and enlightening.  My mouth was watering and my tongue was calling out for more.

    As I finished the glass of beer the lacing was great and the carbonation stayed.  Overall a really nice beer (like an A (9.5 out of 10)), pretty well perfect.

    Now I have to admit my bias here, I am a New Belgium employee and I get paid by NBB to write this blog and on top of all that the Belgo IPA I was drinking was free.  All of these things add up to a positive review.  But I like to think that even if those things weren't true I would have said the very same about this beer.  It is an amazing brew and a wonderful addition to this emerging style. 

    You should head out into this great world and find yourself some Belgo IPA.  Or if you don't live in one of our distribution areas try find something else in this style, maybe a Piraat or Green Flash Le Freak or maybe go to beeradvocate.com's style guide on Belgian IPA's and see what you can matchup with, you will not be disappointed.

    This is a great beer style and Belgo IPA is a great example, get thirsty and take a sip.

    -Juicebox

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