New Belgium stole my heart

16 08 2010

I think I might have a new favorite brewery or, at the very least, one that I’m enjoying getting to know. The romance started with a chance encounter that my wife and I had during our search for a local pub to spend the evenings. We found Joe’s Place in Green Hills which was a nice, simple joint. Exactly the type of place where one can just hang out, where they have a little, understated trivia game going on. It’s smoky and makes me miss smoking (I quit 2 1/2 years ago), but it’s not intolerable and is welcome in a gross, yet nostalgic kind of way. Good place to down a few pints out back in the fresher air.

One of their draft choices was New Belgium’s Sunshine Wheat. It was a very warm evening like every evening in Nashville and a wheat beer was just the perfect thing to sip on while we tried to unwind from a day of kids and insane job crap. It had a really good coriander flavor and as I’ve discovered from all of their beers, this clean taste that you only really find in well-crafted beers. Crisp and refreshing, not thick at all, and pretty intensely hoppy which was a bit of a surprise, but a welcome one.

Since then, we’ve tried their Hoptober, a Märzen at the base, but over-hopped to give it a twist and a bit of a (very welcome) bite and their flagship beer, Fat Tire, which is an amber ale, yet very smooth like as you’d expect a good amber to be, but again also hoppier than average. All I’ve got to say is that as a guy who enjoys his hops, they’ve certainly found a way to make me happy.

A visit to their website seals the deal for two reasons I find very important:

First, they’re environmentally conscious. It turns out they’re the first wind-powered brewery in the U.S. and a central part of their core mission statement commits them to environmental stewardship at every step of their production and sales.

Secondly, they’re employee-owned. I love a company that is in business to make a great product because they love making a great product and are trying to make a living while doing so. Getting mega-rich doesn’t always have to be the primary motivation for everything and these guys give every employee ownership in the company after one year. Plus, they give each one of them a bike. How cool is that?

So far, I have to say the Hoptober is my favorite, so I expect I’ll be enjoying it often while it’s in its season. It’s all also made me very nostalgic for home-brewing, which I haven’t done in about 13 or 14 years.