Our collab brew session with Free Range, NoDa, Birdsong and Heist
We’re pretty big beer geeks here at New Belgium, but it’s not just our own beer we geek out over. From the “treat beer” co-workers enjoy after completing daily taste panel duties to the rarities you’re likely to taste hanging out inside our pilot brewery, there’s always great beer from other breweries floating around New Belgium. Heck, right now I’ve got a bottle of Wicked Weed Amorous, pFriem Flanders-Style Blonde Ale, Firestone Walker Double Jack, and Denver Beer’s Graham Cracker Porter on my desk (yes, I have a hoarding problem). Suffice to say, we love geeking out over beer from other breweries.
So, who’s blowing our minds these days? I caught up with a few co-workers to find out.
Ted Peterson, brewer
Captain Lawrence Brewing, Elmsford, NY
“Captain Lawrence in New York is probably the MVP of my all-star team. They have been around for almost a decade, but are a relatively small brewery close to NYC. I grew up in New York, so that they are close to my folks’ house and make amazing beers makes them my hometown(ish) heroes and a must-see every time I’m back. The first time I ever waited in line for a bottle release at any brewery, and to this day only the second time ever, was for the first batch of Cuvee De Castleton, which first blew my mind, and then went on to win gold as an American sour at GABF.”
Favorite beer: “The imperial IPA has been a huge favorite of mine, and of course I have a soft spot for a well-made funky beer, so I try to get my hands on the elusive Cuvee any time I can. In fact, they are releasing the latest batch next month—somebody should send me some!”
Matty Gilliland, production process analyst
Sigtuna Brygghus, Sweden
“They’re owned by our distributor in Sweden. I got to hang out with them when I was in Stockholm. To me they represent a microcosm of the explosion of craft culture in Sweden. They’re not far behind the U.S. in terms of the incredible craft beer culture as a nation, and Sigtuna is at the cutting edge of that revolution.”
Favorite beer: “Several beers are pretty good, but the St. Erik’s Peach IPL was a standout for me.”
YO-HO Brewing, Japan
“Originally started by a guy named Toshi, who had worked at Stone in the early days. Now it’s run by a dude named Nori Oka, who is a great guy. They have taken their entire staff on a brewery tour of the U.S. a few different times now, and I’ve been lucky enough to show them around New Belgium twice. They’re crazy about craft beer culture and want to be the absolute leader of American-style craft beer in Japan.”
Favorite beer: “I’ve had their Yona Yona Ale a few times, and their Tokyo Black, which is a lot like 1554.”
Travis Burge, brewery manager
Indeed Brewing, Minneapolis, MN
“Indeed’s attention to quality and drive to experiment with various ingredients unifies them to make some spectacular beers. Adding in their ever-growing souring program, and it feels like they are much akin to how we have evolved.”
Favorite beer: “Dandy Lager (it is so similar in name to the Dandy Lions, New Belgium’s own biker gang).”
Christian Holbrook, quality analyst
pFriem Family Brewers, Hood River, OR
“Really just a well put together brewery with excellent tasting beers and great food. Also, really nice owners and staff. Josh Pfriem has welcomed us into the brewery for a tour in the past and is very generous with his time when we are there.”
Favorite beer: “Huell Melon Pilsner, probably one of the top two beers of the past few years for me. Just really well made and fantastic tasting pilsner—really special stuff.”
Cody Rief, pilot brewhouse coordinator
Funkwerks, Fort Collins, CO
“I was skeptical when I heard about a saison brewery, but as soon as I had their beer I was hooked. Gordon and Brad are badasses. They took what was already a thriving brewing community to another level. It’s so great to have them as neighbors.”
Favorite beer: “Tropic King and Raspberry Provincial, but my favorite of all time is Bastogne.”
Lauren Salazar, blender
Free Range Brewing, Charlotte, NC
“I met Jason at a promo in Charlotte about 5 years ago—he’s been in the brewing community for years, but the brewery is brand new, as in opened this summer. Brothers Jason and Jeff Alexander (along with their entire family) are just amazing in both their brewing skills and groovy family community vibe execution. You feel right at home, and one of the family, when you walk in their brewery. It looks like they just brewed a batch of beer and opened the door, but look closer and really pay attention to the liquid in your glass: Every aspect, decision and ingredient were painstakingly chosen to enhance your ultimate craft beer experience. We did a collaboration with Free Range, NoDa, Birdsong and Heist a few months back (Yours and Mine Belgian golden ale) and then brewed in Charlotte (Mine and Yours Belgian dark ale). This was one of the most special times in my 18 years in the business. Each of us really felt a connection and got to take a moment or ten to remember why we’re in it—for the good times and great beers."
Favorite beer: "Bob’s Pure Intentions (a coffee brown with an awesome local roaster), and of course Mine and Yours and Yours and Mine."
Cheers — Chris