This past Wednesday, at my apartment complex clubhouse, a New Belgium representitive put on a beer tasting. We tasted all of their six regular beers as well as their current seasonal beer.
I would like to comment a bit on each of the beers I tasted. After reading, I hope that you, my dear readers – all six of you, will have a better idea about the beer offerings by New Belgium.
This list of beers is presented as it was presented to me – roughly from lighest to darkest. Enjoy.
- Sunshine Wheat
- This is the beer that I thought I would like the most. My favorite beers happen to be wheat beers and I wasn’t disappointed by this beer. This beer is a nice light beer with a refreshing citrus taste – orange in particular. On a related note, our New Belgium representative noted that many people in Colorado – where this beer is brewed (Fort Collins) – drink this beer with a slice of orange in it to heighten the orange flavor. I’ve heard of lemons in beer, but the orange additive is new to me. Sounds good though. Because of its orange tastes, this wheat reminded me of Blue Moon by Coors. Only this was a better taste in general.
- Fat Tire
- Fat Tire is New Belgium’s flagship beer. Prior to this beer tasting, it was the only New Belgium product that I had heard of. This is a fairly light beer that has a nice balance of hops and malt flavors. It’s one of those beers that I could drink regularly. This beer is named because of a bike trip the founders of New Belgium took while touring Belgium.
- Loft (Seasonal)
- Loft is New Belgium’s March through September seasonal beer. This is another fairly light beer offering from New Belgium. Not too malty or too hoppy – nicely balanced. There is a light citrus flavor to it as well. The name Loft pays homage to the wind powered New Belgium brewery – a first for American breweries.
- Blue Paddle
- Blue Paddle is New Belgium’s pilsener offering. Because it’s a pilsener, it is more bitter than the previous beers that I’ve written about already. It was a nice crisp beer, that I thought, depsite me not being a pilsener fan, was quite acceptable.
- 1554 gets its name from the type of beer drank in Belgium during that year. 1554 is a black style ale. However, despite it being very dark, it doesn’t have a dark taste like a porter or a stout. It’s actually very light. When you first taste it, you will be pleasantly surprised at how light it is. The more I drank it, the more I liked it. In fact I might be picking up some of it the next time I’m at the L-store. Another distinct taste you’ll find is a coffee overtone.
- This beer is made in the tradition of Belgian styled double ales. This is the type of beer that monks used to brew to support their abbeys. It’s a higher alcohol by volume beer. It’s much darker than the previous beers and has a more malty taste. Even for a lighter beer drinker like me, this was a very drinkable beer that I would have again, given the opportunity.
- Trippel is similar to Abbey – dark and malty. This is New Belgium’s most alcoholic beer, something like 10.2% alcohol by volume – if memory serves me correctly. Yet, despite the high alcohol content, it is still a very drinkable beer. This beer gets it’s name from the way that beer casks were labeled in olden times. The Abbey would have been a XX and the Trippel would have been a XXX, hence the name Trippel – three X’s.
Overall, I would say that I would drink all of these beers again. As I’ve noted, I prefer the lighter beers, yet the darker beers were still very good beers. As such, I’d recomend you pick up one – or more – of the New Belgium beers and try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.