Colorado’s New Belgium Micro-Brewery

New Belgium Brewery

If New Belgium’s staff rides their bikes to work, well it’s no wonder. Not only is this micro-brewery dedicated to sustainability and eco-friendly activities, but one of their best-known signature brews is Fat Tire Amber Ale. Named to commemorate co-founder Jeff Jordan’s past bike trip through Europe, this Belgian ale has a deliciously malty flavor along with crisp hoppiness.

Located in Fort Collins, Colorado, of course, this brewery has other well-known beers in its brewing quiver. Ranger IPA has citrus, floral, and fruity notes mixed in with the caramel malt and clean, slightly bitter hoppy taste. Participating in the burgeoning sour beer market, New Belgium’s La Folie is a wood-keg-aged sour with tart notes of cherry, green apple, and plum.

The newly revamped tasting room, known as Liquid Center, is a great spot to taste these brews and others, and the brewery also offers a tour of its beer-making operation, with beer sampling. Either way, beer aficionados can enjoy a wide variety of on-tap tastes including seasonals, sours, and year-round brews. Small batch brews, dubbed Lips of Faith, are also available. Current offerings include Wild2 Dubbel ale, earthy, floral, and fruity, with a strong malt taste, and the flavor of schisandra berries, which Chinese folklore claims can “calm the heart and quiet the spirit.” Wild2Dubbel is fermented with a Trappist yeast, a dry micro-brew with a slightly sour finish. Cocoa Mole’s name may just define it: chocolate, spice, and a rich, full-bodied flavor. Gratzer is a beer with Polish origins, and the Polish Lublin and a dark, smoky taste add up to a very flavorful 4.5 ABV.

This is also the spot to taste on-tap versions of the company’s popular standard and seasonal varieties. Returning this summer to the New Belgium mix is Skinny Dip, a light, crisp, citrusy lager with a strong note of peach. Beer drinkers looking for a bitter tang will flock to the brewery’s hearty Rampart Imperial IPA, whose bite is strong, but tempered with a peach and malt note of sweetness. Available only on draft is the Oatmeal IPA, a collaborative brew made with Half Acre Brewery in Chicago. Creamy, oaty and smooth, there’s a woodsy flavor in the mix as well, and a refreshing bitter bite to this brew’s finish. New Belgium’s Portage is a dark, rich, heady porter that’s thick with chocolate, almond, and coffee aroma, and as dry as it is bitter. The brewery’s wheat beer, Snapshot, is unfiltered and tart, with a citrus finish and a bit of the sour beer staple of lactobacillus to accelerate the tartness. In short: many flavors to explore, many beers to enjoy.

The brewery’s success began with an eight barrel a week brewing in Jeff and Kim Jordan’s basement and grew exponentially from there. Today, New Belgium offers a wide range of beers along with commitments to renewable energy sources, annual charitable donations, and zero-waste emission plans for the brewery, which now bottles 1,400 truckloads of beer annually for distribution.

With Kim Jordan at the helm, New Belgium creates ten different standard brews plus a wide variety of seasonal beers. Currently in the process of expanding to Asheville, the brewery makes a fascinating tour and tasting spot, and the bottled brews are well worth taking home.

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