Tag Archives: New Belgium Brewing

Fat Tire or Flat Tire – would you say it?

Most of you have probably heard New Belgium Brewing beers will now be available in New Jersey. Some folks have wondered why I’ve been so quiet about this news when most in the beer world are clammering about it. Ummm, because I don’t think it’s that big a deal. There I said it. Boy does it feel good to get that off my chest.

Now don’t get me wrong I think New Belgium brews very good beer but so do numerous other breweries. Which leads me to ask is everyone really that excited or are they feeding off each other?

New Belgium has been available in Jersey’s neighboring state of Pennsylvania for several months now and since this Gal’s go-to-beer store, Trenton Road Takeout, is located in PA I’ve had access to New Belgium since the early fall and have tried various styles. I did enjoy them but not to the point that I understand why people are tripping over themselves in their quest to do the happy dance about the Jersey release. Mind you most of the folks doing the tripping have tried it before so  I wonder do they really think it’s incredibly awesome or do they feel that they have to say that?

Let’s look at some of the Holy Grails of the beer world. You know the ones I’m referring to Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger and Heady Topper. I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying 2 out of the 3 – eventually I’ll try the Younger. Yes, Elder and Topper were both very good. No, I did not wait in line for hours, fight my way through throngs of humans nor did I pay some ridiculous price. I tried them for free via kind individuals. A bottle of Pliny the Elder was left on my desk by a client as a thank you for helping him with a project. I was excited to finally get to try it but thankful I didn’t knock myself out doing so. A good friend was given a can of Heady and chose to share it with me one night while enjoying dinner at a BYOB establishment. Very enjoyable indeed. BTW – if forced to pick I enjoyed the Heady more but both were wonderful. I would love to try the Younger and feel it will happen one day but nope I’m not going to great lengths to do so.

The whole thing of making customers jump through hoops to get these Holy Grails has become increasingly annoying. “Watch for our post of when it goes on tap so you can rush like a mad person to get here and wait in line for hours for the golden ticket”. Have fun and I’m sure some wonderful beerships will be formed from the experience but this Gal will be chilling with a good beer elsewhere.

But seriously do folks really think the beers are worth all the hoopla, is it bragging rights to say you had them or does one feel pressure to says it’s good? Would one dare say they didn’t think Pliny was all that?!

So yes, New Belgium is now available in Jersey. I’m happy for the brewery expanding their market and for my fellow beer lovers who can’t wait to try it but I’m not jumping on the band wagon doing the happy dance because I don’t feel it’s dance worthy.

Black Beauties

FullSizeRenderThere for a while it seemed the “in” thing with craft beer was to make sure when you drank a beer the hops exploded in your mouth and took over every taste bud. Thank goodness that trend is fading some and a beautiful beauty is rising up as the next big thing. I like to refer to it as Black Beauty in other words Black Beers. No not stouts or porter but Black Beers as in Black Lagers, Black IPAs and Black Ryes. I for one am loving this growing trend and hope it trandscends into a main stay brewing style. It’s a wonderful thing that brewers are playing around with some standard styles and brewing them with a twist.

These Black Beauties help put to rest the age old myth about beer – if it’s dark it’s heavy; if it’s light in color it’s light in flavor and body….W R O N G ! ! ! There are many full flavor full bodied light color beers, heck I once had a Blonde that weighed in at 10%,  and plenty of dark beers that would be considered on the light side of the spectrum. So lets just put that misconception to pasture.

1_114565126_3A great way to do just that is the Black beers. These beers are a perfect way to introduce one to a style they may not normally like or enjoy and to those scary “heavy” aka dark beers. I for one can appreciate a well done rye beer but you would be hard pressed to find this gal ordering a pint of one…until now. Welcome the Black Rye, oh my!

The black beers are combining the best of both worlds. These ales tend to be medium bodied beers with a dark hue complimented by just a nice but not overwhelming accent flavor whether it be hops, rye or something else. With the black you have the subtle flavors of roasted malt with cocoa and chicory balanced out by hops or rye. Suddenly this Gal is loving the rye beers, Black ryes that is, Ottercreek Black IPA has become one of my main go to beers and I find Black Lagers to be so delightful. Three styles I previously shied away from and am completely and totally drawn to now.

Black_rye_bottle_webA few favorites:

Founders Black Rye (very happy to see Founders promoting this on the festival circuit)

Broken Goblet Black Rye – my first intro to black ryes

Ottercreek Black IPA – a true delight

Terrapin Brewing  in collaboration with New Belgium Brewing – Black is the New Wit

So next time you find yourself presented with the opportunity to try a Black Beer PLEASE do so. You may just expose yourself to a whole new world of beer.