#SippyTimeBeer Review – @NewBelgium Taste Testing

New Belgium SignI got invited to a tasting for New Belgium Brewery from Superior Beverage by way of Cheryl Harrison. New Belgium is from Fort Collins, CO and will start distributing in Ohio on the 16th of December. Since I blog about beer, I got an invite. It’s the first real present I’ve gotten out of this gig. Since my woman doesn’t like beer (cider only), I brought my buddy Ken since a guest was allowed to come. Quite a few people wondered what Stunt Granny was so hopefully we’ll get a couple of more clicks on the site. I had no idea what I was in store for since the invitation gave the location and time. No hint as to what beers would be there aside from beer and food that paired with it. When I got there, I found out that they had three year round beers, one seasonal beer and three beers from their line called Lips of Faith. I also found out that some of the food pairings were a no go for me since I cease breathing when I ingest shellfish. On to the beers and some of the food pairings.

After signing in and snagging our name tags, we ran into the most obvious of choices from New Belgium, Fat Tire Amber Ale which is their signature beer. I had already tried this beer when my younger brother Brian lived in Denver. Since it’s an amber, it’s another easy choice for me. I would also say that Fat Tire is my second favorite amber only to Great Lakes Eliot Ness. It was paired with biscuits that had bacon in it. The pairing did work quite well but it’s near impossible to go wrong with bacon inside of bread along with a very tasty beverage.

We then moseyed to the back venue and tried out their only seasonal beer, Accumulation, anIPA. This beer was lighter than I expected out of an IPA. The hops are definitely there but it’s cut by citrus, mostly lemon, to not completely light up your palette with hops. They created this beer this year in October and will only be available until the end of the month so if you like IPAs, I suggest finding this one. I’m not sure if the barbequed meatballs were supposed to be paired with this beer but that’s what I ate with it.

Ken and I then drank their Trippel, a Belgian Style Ale. This beer had the highest alcohol content of any of the main selection of beers at 7.8% alcohol. The hops and malt are balanced out quite nicely which leads to the coriander spice being a prominent taste. They claim that it’s just a trace but it’s definitely in there. I loved the smoothness of this beer and could see it being a trouble maker.

The fourth beer overall and the third year round beer was their Ranger, another IPA. With the Accumulation, the citrus cut the hops. In this one, they balanced it out by adding a dash more malt (pale and dark) to take the edge off. They used different style of hops than in Accumulation but they were supposed to have a citrus bite to it. The hops citrus notes weren’t as noticeable as it was in the other beer. A bottle of this beer accidentally fell in my back pocket as we left so you know it must be good as IPAs are still growing on me.

New Belgium Paardabloem

Paardebloem in my glass

IMG_20131212_203344_418

In their fancy glass

We finally realized that there were more than just the four beers a this event. They saved a corner for the Lips of Faith line which has a tag line

Do you trust us? Because the Lips of Faith beers are small batch beauties brewed for faithful lips. These bottles are topped off with tasty mischief.

They definitely delivered on the mischief with these beers. The other four beers are standard styles of beer with no big surprises which as the reviews attest, isn’t a bad thing. This line is definitely for those who like to wade a bit deeper in pool of experiments.

The first beer that I tried was Paardebloem which has peach juice, grains of paradise and dandelion greens blended with wood aged beer. This beer reminded me of the Six Points Bengali Tiger. There was so much going on that your palate is completely confused. I didn’t think it was terrible but I wouldn’t recommend it either. It did set the tone for this series of beers. I couldn’t have the food pairing with this beer either because it was Five Spice Calamari with Green Onion Vin. Calamari is a squid but it may as well be shellfish according to my non-breathing lungs.

After snagging the Paardebloem, a chef told us that we needed to drink the Heavenly Feijoa Tripel. Not that I wasn’t going to try it, but I made it a priority to try it. I had to look up what feijoa. It is a fruit that tastes like pineapple, apple and mint from South America. It also had hibiscus in it. The beer had a very floral taste to it. The food pairing with it was Pistachio Cake with Hibiscus Simple Syrup and Vanilla Cream. It all tasted quite good together. The hibiscus ties both of them together. This beer is worth a try but I’m not in agreement with the chef.

I ended up saving the best for last, which was the Cigar City Collaboration. It gets a little spice from Anaheim and Marash chilis but it’s not overwhelming. This beer is aged on Spanish Cedar. The chilis help to tame the cedar flavor. I say that because I find most aged beers very prominent wood taste up front which this one didn’t have. The citrus hops that they use aren’t overwhelming so the Belgian yeast is the prominent taste. It was a very tasty tripel. It was paired with ginger barbeque wings which were tasty too.

I got to talk to the brewer from Zauber and Cheryl Harrison from Drink Up Columbus who got me the invitation. This event was a lot of fun to attend. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it happens more often. – Kevin

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