Thursday, August 29, 2013

New Belgium Brewing Heads North!

If you’re a beer geek that’s traveled to the US, you’ve likely had a New Begium beer or two. I believe Fat Tire was one of the first American craft beers that graced my lips and after having that, you don’t want to see another macro beer in your pint glass. Thus, it was pretty exciting news that Beerthirst will be importing their beers commencing in September and the official launch will be next weekend at the Great Canadian Beer Festival (GCBF) in Victoria!

I attended the Industry/Media launch party for New Belgium Brewing in Vancouver this week. The event was held in the Uber Lounge at Steamworks which, by the way, is a great location to host a private event. It’s a functional space with a bar and limited fixed seating to allow for lots of circulation around the venue. Tasty, and endless, appetizers were circulated while we chatted with fellow bloggers and industry people.

A couple of the Beer Rangers from New Belgium were in attendance as well as the team from Beerthirst. Fat Tire amber ale and Ranger IPA were pouring by the pint and a couple of their fantastic Lips of Faith series beers were also on tap by the glass – Pluot fruit beer and Heavenly Feijoa Tripel. Gorgeous, just gorgeous. If I didn’t have to leave early, I would have being drinking Pluot all night (and at 10%, I wouldn’t have gotten a run in after the event…). Loved the subtle tartness of Pluot.


Their launch at GCBF will have Fat Tire, Ranger and Pumpkick pouring at the event and the after party at the Irish Times Pub, both Friday and Saturday night, will have Fat Tire, Ranger, Pumpkick and four, count them, four Lips of Faith beers. Pluot, Heavenly Feijoa, Cascara Quad and Paardebloem Belgian-style ale on tap. Guess where I’ll be Friday and perhaps Saturday night? You’re smart, you’ll figure it out.

Something you may not know about New Belgium is they have Quality Essential standards. For draught beer, venues that sell their beer must adhere to the following:

1. Avoid Air Compressors: Compressors force air into the keg and can add nasty bacteria into the beer. Ick. This can obviously ruin the beer’s flavour and the keg will go flat before it’s time.
beer + oxygen = bad            beer + bacteria = super bad

2. Clean Beer Lines Every Two Weeks: This is a no-brainer for most establishments that serve good beer. Keeping the lines clean keeps the bacteria from growing in the lines and infecting the beer.
Bacteria + beer = gross.

3. No Kegs Stored at Room Temperature: Pretty self-explanatory. The beer’s freshness hinges on proper refrigerated storage.
Properly refrigerated beer = longer life

The Quality Essentials don’t end there – best by dates and brew numbers are printed on all of their products. Many beer consumers complain that there aren’t brew and/or best before dates printed on bottles and cans and New Belgium is one brewery who believes in giving their fans fresh beer. They want it pulled off the shelf if the beer has expired. I have a lot of respect for breweries that do this so hats off to you, New Belgium.

After my trip to GCBF, I’ll post a further update on the event and the New Belgium party. Thanks for the invite, Beerthirst, and I know I’ll see you next weekend at GCBF!