All posts by Ron

New Belgium’s Wintertime Favorites Return

With the first snowfall already arriving for some, it’s starting to feel more and more like winter, which means the return of beloved cold-weather favorites from New Belgium Brewing. Accumulation White IPA and 2° Below Winter Ale can be found on shelves now, with Frambozen arriving November 11. This year marks Frambozen’s twenty-first birthday. Frambozen is one of the few New Belgium special release beers to return every year and Accumulation and 2° Below are joining the ranks as festive favorites.

Accumulation White IPA is all about the hops and the wheat. This beer pours an unfiltered white-gold tone as a snowy head drifts atop. Mosaic and Amarillo hops offer an unmistakable tropical aroma. This white IPA is a counterpunch to the traditional practice of brewing dark beers for winter and offers hops that create a nice, bitter balance against soft peach and citrus flavors. Accumulation drinks like a proper American-style IPA, despite its wheat beer appearance and creamy, refreshing notes. Accumulation is available now through January 2015 and comes in at 6.2 percent ABV and 55 IBUs.

Illustrating New Belgium’s love for Belgium-style brewing, 2° Below Winter Ale brings a bright, warming blast of Sterling and Liberty hops with tawny-roasted malts making it the perfect beer after a long day on the slopes. This beer is dry-hopped during fermentation, creating a rosy, floral nose with a hint of pepper spice and estery undertones. Pushing the beer into a final, nearly freezing state brings out a brilliant clarity in the pour. 2° Below is 6.6 percent ABV and 33 IBUs, and available now through January 2015.

Frambozen_12oz_Bottle

For Frambozen, the brewery’s unique Raspberry Brown Ale, it’s a milestone year as the beer turns 21. Named after the Flemish word for raspberries, Frambozen pops with fresh, tart and fruity complexity, backed by nutty, chocolate and caramel malts. New Belgium takes great care in its raspberry selection for this beer – per tradition, the brewery sends delegates to the Pacific Northwest to select freshly picked berries, which then become pure juice that is used during the fermentation stage. Frambozen is 6.5 percent ABV. It is available from November 11 to January 2015.

To find New Belgium beers near you, use the New Belgium Libation Location tool: http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/locator.aspx. Pricing varies by location. For a look at New Belgium’s year-round portfolio, visit http://www.newbelgium.com/Beer/year-round.aspx.

Brewery Ommegang announces Three-Eyed Raven, fifth installment in Game of Thrones series

On the HBO series Game of Thrones, things are often not what they seem. There may be no better example than the three-eyed raven – which in Bran Stark’s dreams and visions is a bird. But as Bran discovers in the season four finale, the raven is actually a mysterious old man whose body is fused with the roots of a weirwood tree beyond the wall. Just like the mythical creature, the next beer in the Game of Thrones series from Brewery Ommegang is not exactly what it appears to be. Three-Eyed Raven Dark Saison Ale is a saison, but it’s also a dark ale. And it will be available spring 2015 when Game of Thrones returns for its fifth season.

Three-Eyed Raven is the fifth beer in the partnership between HBO and Brewery Ommegang. Like its predecessors, the beer is inspired by themes and plot points from the award-winning HBO series. As season four wound down, the storyline of Bran and the three-eyed raven reached a shocking climax that portends dark and momentous events in store for the people of Westeros. A dark take on the classic saison style seemed most appropriate for the latest beer.

“A dark saison is a style that we’ve been intrigued with for a while now and one that’s open to a broader stylistic interpretation,” said Mike McManus, Brewery Ommegang’s Innovation Manager. “When we zeroed in on Bran’s storyline with HBO, we knew this was the perfect opportunity to brew something with many different characteristics and attributes – a beer that’s not truly one thing or another. It is definitely the most unique beer in the series to date, which is very exciting.”

“Going into season five, Game of Thrones is bigger than ever, and we’ve learned very quickly over the past four beer releases that fans of this show are thirsty for Ommegang’s innovative and carefully conceived brews,” said Josh Goodstadt, Vice President of Global Licensing at HBO. “We’re certain those fans will be just as surprised by the complexity of Three-Eyed Raven as they were by Bran’s discovery at the end of season four.”

Three-Eyed Raven is brewed with a carefully crafted mixture of specialty malts, including malted rye, midnight wheat (provides depth of color but not the roasty flavor of a dark beer), and dark candi sugar. It’s hopped with Hallertau Spalt Select, Tettnang, and Bravo hops, which give the beer a spicy, fruity character. A fair amount of late-addition hops are added for character. Three-Eyed Raven is fermented and bottle-conditioned with Ommegang’s signature house yeast.

Saison qualities dominate Three-Eyed Raven with fruity esters, clean floral hops aromas, a light malt character with just a hint of roast and a pleasant yeastiness in the taste, and a crisp finish with lingering herbal hops and dry rye notes. The label art, which features the three-eyed raven, was created using an actual concept design illustration from the series.

Previous beers in the highly successful collaboration include: Valar Morghulis Dubbel Ale (available now), Fire and Blood Red Ale (spring 2014), Take the Black Stout (fall 2013), and Iron Throne Blonde Ale (spring 2013.) The first three beers in the series completely sold out and Valar Morghulis is well on its way, despite being brewed at nearly 4x the volume of Iron Throne.

Three-Eyed Raven will be available nationally this spring (exact launch date still TBC) in time for the season five premiere of Game of Thrones. The 7.2% ABV ale will be available on draft (sixth-barrels) and in corked bottles (25.4 ounces). The recommended retail price is $9.50 per bottle.

Oskar Blues CAN’d Aid Foundation Raises $1m in First Year

After just its first year in operation, the Oskar Blues CAN’d Aid Foundation has raised a million dollars that aided victims of the severe flooding that struck Colorado’s Front Range in September 2013.

Although the Foundation’s initial focus in the first year was maximizing fundraising efforts for flood victims, it also developed national partnerships in a variety of focus areas, including outdoor recreation, arts and music, and environmental sustainability.

Lyons, ColoRADo, is still home to the original Oskar Blues Grill & Brew. When Oskar Blues Soul Founder Dale Katechis learned of other local businesses that suffered damage, some so severely that they were in jeopardy of closing their doors permanently, he jumped into action. Starting with a personal donation of $150,000, Dale reached out to the craft brewing industry and fans of Oskar Blues, and issued a matching challenge through the end of 2013. In just three months, CAN’d Aid raised and distributed $515,000 for flood relief and recovery efforts, directly assisting 235 families, 65 businesses and five organizations.

While CAN’d Aid continues to work directly with the Town of Lyons to support flood-related projects, the Foundation’s focus has expanded to include the original concepts that Dale had in mind pre-flood.

The Foundation focuses on “Grassroots Grants”–a concept that celebrates the little guy with a big idea. By incorporating specific program areas, Tunes (music, arts & culture); Towns (disaster relief); Treads & Trails (outdoor pursuits/health & wellness); Love Yer Mama (sustainability & recycling); and throwing in a wild card, Total CANarchy (anything goes). One year after its launch, CAN’d Aid Foundation has emerged as a funky, unique and utterly atypical nonprofit organization.

“As our official transportation sponsor, CAN’d Aid makes it possible every day for 160 kids and teens from all over our county to travel to our Club by bus. The funds enabled us to expand our bus fleet, allowing kids faster and safer access to our programs, including outdoor excursions focusing on healthy and fit lifestyles, community service opportunities, and arts & music instruction,” says Jackie Witherspoon of the Cindy Platt Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County.

“Love Yer Mama” offers recycling-specific grants to groups interested in starting sustainable recycling programs and incorporates education about the benefits of aluminum packaging over glass or plastic. A national recycling initiative, which the foundation kicked off in June with help from The Alcoa Foundation, Ball Foundation and Novelis, is gaining momentum and will soon incorporate OB-centric recycling hubs in both Longmont, CO, and Brevard, NC.

In addition to the $700,000 CAN’d Aid has given for ColoRADo flood recovery efforts, an additional $150,000 has gone toward grassroots community projects all over the U.S. Oskar Blues Brewery matches every dollar raised by CAN’d Aid, and people are starting to notice. ColoRADo Governor John Hickenlooper has repeatedly applauded the Foundation’s work and recently cited CAN’d Aid as being instrumental in helping Lyons rebuild. Boulder-based eTown, a nationally syndicated radio program, recently awarded Dale and the Foundation their E-chievement award for giving back and having a tremendous impact in that community. (To hear Katechis’ video interview with e-Town hosts Nick & Helen Forster, visit www.etown.org). The Colorado Rockies Baseball Club and Rockies Foundation have also supported CAN’d Aid generously, and Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer recently named CAN’d Aid as his charity of choice, resulting in a $7500 gift from Chevrolet through his Roberto Clemente Award nomination.

As CAN’d Aid enters year two, there is no sign of slowing down. Big focus areas will include partnering with nationally touring bands to fund “TUNES” programs and working with groups like Grassroots Outdoor Alliance and bike-centric companies to increase funding for “TREADS & TRAILS” programs.

For more information about the Oskar Blues CAN’d Aid Foundation, to make a donation or to get involved, visit www.foundation.oskarblues.com.

No Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA for Ohio. Sob.

Non-Ohio hopheads rejoice! Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA is on the delivery truck and heading for taps and shelves near you.

Lovers of the hoppy brew in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, Florida, Texas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Indiana, Rhode Island, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. should be seeing it soon.  (Tennessee is still waiting on approval).

Unfortunately, for those of us in Ohio (and Georgia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont and South Carolina), 120 Minute IPA is over our alcohol cap. Time for a road trip to Indiana or Kentucky!

To find retailers near you where 120 Minute IPA has been delivered, check the Fish Finder!

Ten Fidy Imperial Stout now available nationwide

ten-fidyThe 2014 limited release of Oskar Blues Brewery’s award-winning seasonal, Ten FIDY Imperial Stout, hits all 35 states where Oskar Blues is sold in September, inspiring dark beer lovers to go cross-eyed.

This titanic, immensely viscous stout is loaded with inimitable flavors of chocolate-covered caramel and coffee and hides a hefty 65 IBUs underneath its smooth blanket of malt. Ten FIDY (10.5% ABV) is made with enormous amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops.

The name of this boundary-stretching beer has multiple meanings–it is what you think, and it isn’t–at the same time.

The CANcupiscent seasonal, which has bulldozed beer lovers everywhere, will be available at your favorite watering holes and retailers and restaurants starting in September. Find it if you CAN.

Following the successful release of Oskar Blues spring seasonal, GUBNA, the FIDY will be available until February 2015 (or until it sells out). Need a holiday gift or a special something to take to that holiday party? Robustly-appealing Ten FIDY could be your answer.

Ten FIDY has been showered with accolades that almost stand up to the size of this behemoth-in-a-can, including:

  • “The biggest, baddest, boldest beer in a can” Celebrator Beer News
  • “2008 Beer of the Year” The Denver Post
  • “100 Rating” Ratebeer.com
  • “A-Rating” Beeradvocate.com
  • Gold Medal – 2010 and 2012 World Beer Championships
  • “Top 51 Beers” 2011 Beer Magazine

Ten FIDY is an unyielding, pertinacious beer that requires monster strength to make. This brew is constructed with colossal amounts of two-row malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, flaked oats and hops. Ten FIDY’s nearly 5000-pound grain bill is just short of 50 percent specialty malts, which are packaged in 55-pound bags and loaded into the mills by hand. The tremendous bags of oats are poured directly into the mash tuns. The oats and rice hulls must be lugged up 20-odd stairs to the top of the brew decks.

Like all of Oskar Blues’ beers, Ten FIDY is brewed at both their ColoRADo and North Carolina breweries and shipped fresh to nearby states. Don’t worry, though, this stout cellars well–recent release parties at both brewery tap rooms offered up 2012, 2013 and 2014 FIDY vintages to clamoring stout enthusiasts.

“Brewing Ten FIDY is unlike any of the other beers we make. We have to mash-in two batches just to get one kettle filled because we only take the most concentrated wort from each mash. It’s a labor intensive process, but this is part of how we make Ten FIDY so unique, rich, and complex,” says Oskar Blues NC Brewery Manager Noah Tuttle.

Ten FIDY is packaged in 12-ounce CANS and sold in 4-pack carriers, as well as on draft at craft beer retailers, growler fill shops, restaurant, bars and more.

Oskar Blues rolls out Old Chub Nitro cans nationally

Fresh off a limited Old Chub Scotch Ale Nitro launch at the Craft Brewers Conference in April, Oskar Blues Brewery will begin distributing the first American craft nitro beer in a can nationally. The nitro version of Old Chub has been modified from 8% ABV to 6.9% ABV to ensure full pint pours rather than 8-ounce or 10-ounce “tulip” or “rocks” glass pours as a result of the high ABV.

The original brobdingnagian Old Chub Scotch Ale 12-ounce cans will remain at 8% ABV. When you combine the drinkability of the Nitro pour and the increased serving size of the over-pint 16.4 ounce Nitro can, 6.9% ABV allows beer drinkers a chance to enjoy more CANs.  The new Nitro cans will begin shipping next week to all 35 states that Oskar Blues distributes to, alongside the original 12-ounce Old Chub cans.

“The nitro style allows beer lovers to go deeper into the chocolaty, smoky, smooth mouth-feel and complex, rich malty flavors of the Old Chub Scotch Ale,” says Jeremy Rudolf, Oskar Blues Beer Traffic Control Freak. “Retailers and beer drinkers alike are looking for full pint pours.  Moving the ABV from 8% to 6.9% will let bars and restaurants pour full pints of Old Chub Nitro, and we’re stoked for more people to have their mind blown with theuber-silky smooth oral experience when they try one of our best-selling brews in a new way.  Why 16.4 ounces? Because that’s all the Old Chub we could cram in there.”

After years of experimenting with putting fresh draft beers on nitro, Oskar Blues Brewery decided to take the next step and insert the robustly complex Old Chub into a Nitro’ d can.  Both internal and taproom trials were part of the new formulation process, and the 6.9% version measured up in taste to the 8% version while many liked the ability to have more than one.

“This wasn’t an easy undertaking but in the end, we were able to craft the most appropriate incarnation of Old Chub for the Nitro style,” says brewer Juice Drapeau, who was a driving force in the project.

Nitro refers to the addition of Nitrogen (N2) gas to the carbonation process.  Nitrogen bubbles are smaller than CO2 bubbles and they don’t get along, so they react with and displace each other, creating the signature “cascade” when allowed to agitate, which contributes to the thick, creamy mouth feel of nitro brews. In the can, the special nitro widget releases Nitrogen gas into the beer when it’s opened, causing the beer to cascade.  On draft, a special piece of tap equipment called a restrictor plate forces the nitrogenated beer through tiny holes to help provide that necessary friction to create the Nitro cascade.

The self-dubbed “CHUB TRUST” pushed the innovation of a quality nitro experience in a can with the help of The Ball Corporation. Old Chub Nitro utilizes an existing widget technology developed by Ball. The Nitro widget is attached to the bottom of the can and is charged with nitrogen during the filling process. The widget releases the nitrogen when the can is opened-liberating the cascading creamy smooth nitro pour.

Old Chub Nitro will continue to be available in 16.4-ounce 4-pack cans priced in line with Dale’s Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yella Pils and Old Chub 12-ounce 6-packs.

Check out videos of Old Chub Nitro via the Oskar Blues Youtube page HERE & HERE. #oldchubnitro #overpint

New Belgium’s Tour de Fall is Tour de Fat in a bottle

New Belgium Brewing’s new fall seasonal, Tour de Fall,  celebrates Tour de Fat, the brewery’s traveling festival of bikes, beer and bemusement. As the ten-city tour begins the second half of the 2014 schedule this American-style Pale Ale will also hit the road and be available in New Belgium markets across the country through October. At six percent ABV and 38 IBUs, this beer is a go-to for the fall. Pale malt, chocolate rye and caramel add a slight bitter-sweet flavor and a red hue to the pour. Hops dominate its aroma with pine, floral, tangerine, lemon rind and tropical fruit notes.

“This well-balanced, crisp beer is perfect for fall,” said New Belgium Assistant Brewmaster, Grady Hull. “It’s not spiced like a lot of other fall beers, instead, Tour de Fall is dry-hopped with two different hop varieties, making it refreshing, light and easy to drink.”

Tour de Fall is available in 12 oz. bottles and on draft. Pricing varies by location.

In addition to Tour de Fall, this fall New Belgium brings back Saison Harvest Ale in the new Fall Folly Packs. In the Can Folly Packs1554 Black Lager, is joining the mix – its can debut. Last year’s Pumpkick Pumpkin Ale will also be available in limited release.

harvestsaison_l
 
To find New Belgium beers near you, use the New Belgium Libation Location tool: http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/locator.aspx.
 
For more information about New Belgium Brewing, visit www.newbelgium.com. You can also follow New Belgium on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/newbelgium.com and Twitter @NewBelgium.

New Belgium Brewing announces distributoion partners in Kentucky

New Belgium Brewing has signed contracts with ten wholesalers in the state of Kentucky and is slated to open that market once its second brewery in Asheville, NC, comes online in late 2015. Earlier plans had New Belgium opening Kentucky and Hawaii in 2014 but robust sales and capacity constraints have pushed plans back until new capacity is complete. New Belgium’s KY network is as follows:

1.       Eagle Distributing Company -AB
2.       Golden Eagle Distributing, Inc. -AB
3.       J.B. Distributors, Inc. -AB
4.       Bud of Owensboro (Hand Family, LLC) –AB
5.       Kentucky Eagle, Inc.-AB
6.       Perry Distributors, Inc. – AB
7.       River City Distributing – M/C
8.       Smith Brothers Distributing Company –AB
9.       Stagnaro Distributing – M/C
10.    Edward Utley Jr., Inc. –AB

“We’ve been starting the distributor selection process earlier than in the past,” said New Belgium Brewing’s Sales Co-Pilot, Brian Krueger.  “This allows us plenty of time for planning so that we can really hit the ground running when we open these new territories. Kentucky has been on the horizon for a while now so we’re excited to be moving on to the next stage.”

Dates for distribution will become firm closer to completion of New Belgium’s Asheville facility some time in late 2015. Kentucky will be New Belgium’s 38th state of distribution.

New Belgium and 3 Floyds Unearth an Old Polish Craft to Create Grätzer

3 Floyds, a small brewery in Munster, Ind. with a big reputation, and New Belgium Brewing, the third largest craft brewer in the U.S., have partnered to create Grätzer. This bold-flavored ale brings back to life the long-buried Grätzer style from Poland, which primarily uses oak-smoked wheat. This collaboration beer also incorporates Midnight Wheat malt, which provides a mild sweetness. It pours pure black and has a subtle, spicy note from Polish Lublin Hops. At 4.5% ABV and 30 IBUs, Grätzer is sessionable and has a nice, light body, despite its dark appearance.

“The beer turned out really refreshing and the tartness complements the smoke and makes the whole drinking experience harmonious,” said Chris Boggess, Head Brewer at 3 Floyds. “We’re also excited about the label art. We tried our best to push for some gruesome artwork and the label is pretty brutal – gooey brains and zombies!”

“We definitely had a fun time partnering with them to create Grätzer,” said Lauren Salazar, New Belgium’s wood cellar manager and sensory specialist. “3 Floyds is in the heart of the Midwest and although they have limited distribution they are known far and wide for some amazing beers, so it was an honor to partner alongside them.”

Grätzer is available now through September, while supplies last, in 22-ounce bombers and on draft.

To find New Belgium beers near you, visit the libation locator at http://www.newbelgium.com/beer/locator.aspx.

Deschutes Brewery partners with Oregon Manifest Bike Design Project on exclusive beers

Oregon Manifest and Deschutes Brewery have teamed up to bring the best of two worlds together: bikes and beer. Oregon Manifest, a nonprofit organization that recently launched with “The Bike Design Project”– a pioneering bike design competition which partners five high-level design firms with American bicycle craftsmen to create the Ultimate Urban Utility Bike—has partnered with Deschutes Brewery to create custom beers that pair with each respective bike design. The result? The ultimate marriage of our favorite mode of transportation and favorite beverage.

Shannon Holt, Oregon Manifest co-founder said, “Oregon Manifest and The Bike Design Project are rooted in the collaborative power of design, innovation and making. Partnering with a company that is equally passionate about craft and experimentation, like Deschutes Brewery, makes this year’s competition all the more exciting. Not only will we gain what we’re sure will be five remarkable bike designs, but we’ll have specialty craft beers to go with each of them.”

Teams for the competition originate from five cycle-centric cities including:

  • Chicago: MINIMAL x Method Bicycle
  • New York City: Pensa x Horse Cycles
  • Portland: INDUSTRY x Ti Cycles
  • San Francisco: Huge Design x 4130 Cycle Works
  • Seattle: TEAGUE x Sizemore Bicycles

Deschutes Brewery brewers worked closely with each team to create a unique beer style that they felt would best represent their respective bike designs and cities. Each small batch beer will be brewed at Deschutes Brewery’s brew pubs in Portland and Bend, Oregon, and will be served at the reveal events in each competing city on July 25. Captain Lawrence Brewery is brewing the beer for the New York City team, as Deschutes Brewery beers are not yet available in New York.

 “This was a really interesting and fun process to work with the design teams,” said Deschutes Brewery’s Portland-based assistant brewmaster, Ben Kehs. “They all had their own unique style and approach to the Oregon Manifest project. We asked questions like ‘if this bike were a beer, what style of beer would it be?’ all the way to requesting a list of specific adjectives that the teams would use to describe their design. We are excited to pour the beers and show everyone what we came up with.”

Along with their ultimate commuter bike design, each team developed a label for their own paired beer. Beers will be announced every two weeks starting June 3 on social media – @deschutesbeer and @oregonmanifest.