Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Belgium VIP Tasting highlights 092911

New Belgium beer selectionNothing like the #GABF for beer tasting events. Here's a quick wrap-up of a special VIP Tasting event that New Belgium hosted before the start of the 2011 Great American Beer Festival.

On Thursday, September 29th, the afternoon of the 2011 GABF opening, New Belgium Brewing hosted a small intimate gathering of media, bloggers and brewery reps at the brewery. There they offered up a taste of more than 23 different brews on tap, cans and bottles of their special brews including several Lips of Faith brews and a few from Elysian Brewing, a collaborative brewing partner from the Pacific coast.

There among the dozens of attendees were at least five or six booths offering snifter glass samples of many of their most popular brews and some that had recently came out. Along with all the great fresh beer were several appetizers with international cuisine pairings - some of which were very spicy and delicious!

Everyone was in a festive mood as they prepared to head down to Denver that night (yours truly included) for the opening night of the GABF. New Belgium even offered a free shuttle ride from downtown Denver up to the brewery just for their guests.

New Belgium VIP TastingThere were free brewery tours for the guests, an outdoor patio with fresh canned beer selections as well as plenty of New Belgium branded chocolates to be had in addition to the 20+ beers and food pairings inside.

I had the opportunity to sample a handful of beers that I hadn't tried before and like the beer geek I am, I took notes while sampling each one.

Clutch - this was the beer brewed in honor of the band of the same name. This was a dark and roasty brew that was slightly soured. It reminded me a bit of their wonderful 1554 Black Ale only with a very slight tartness. The sourness was very mild and added just a hint of pizazz to the tasting. It was a decent brew, but I was hoping for it to be as sour as some of their other offerings and to have a bit more chocolate flavor. Still, very enjoyable.

Kick - this brew was a limited production of a pumpkin, cranberry sour ale. Sure enough, Kick was orange in color and poured with a bright white head. It had a light, sweet and more intense sour taste. That was more like it! The pumpkin was very subtle, but enough to let you know it was there. This was superb! I later went into the tasting room and asked to buy a couple of bottles of this but sadly they said they were already out of this beer.

Super Cru - This was a strong hefty Belgian brew. It reminded me of a big Belgian spice rack. Lots of unique flavors and spiciness came out of this glass. I paired this with one of the spicy appetizers and the combination of this beer and that were outrageous in my mouth. The spices were quite strong. Be prepared for that when you sample it. Good, but was not my favorite for the afternoon.

Dave Butler at New BelgiumBelgo Belgian-style IPA - New Belgium had been asked by their fans to brew up a big hoppy brew and Belgo was one of the results. It had both a big hoppy aroma and taste along with their signature Belgian-style nose and taste. Belgo wasn't overly bitter, rather is had a big nose and a slightly sweet malty taste. A decent golden yellow brew and paired well with the appetizers.

Unfortunately for me, I couldn't stay long as I had a couple other stops to make in Fort Collins before heading down to the GABF for opening night. I felt very welcomed by New Belgium. They had several employees there that I talked with about how good it was to work for this company. All of them seemed genuinely knowledgeable about all of there beers and loved to talk about their company's philosophy.

Thanks New Belgium for a fun time! Hope you do this again sometime.

I shot some some quick video footage from inside the VIP room to give you a flavor of the event. Check out the variety of beers they had available! Cheers.

If you can't view the above video please visit the blog directly.

Related articles:
- New Belgium gave Joy Rides to Thousands.
- New Belgium pulls off a Clutch Kick.
- New Belgium says Yes We Can More Cans.

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