New year, old beer. New Belgium is, if you ask me, a great success story for craft beer. They distribute to all 50 states and some countries and their beers have become widely available, even in sports bars that aren’t necessarily going to have a good beer selection. In the old days, you’d go to So and So’s Sports Bar and the best you could hope for, beer-wise, was Yuengling. Let us not return to those dark days, please.
This beer is a lovely, deep orange color with a small cream-colored head, which does vanish fairly quickly. Right out of the gate, it smells like a Belgian: wheat and caramel and some slightly clove-scented funkiness. New Belgium’s house ale yeast is designed to be slightly fruity in nature, creating a decent doppleganger of traditional Belgian flavor profiles.
The taste is very smooth, extremely balanced, and just a tad sweet. There’s no overwhelming spice to this, but it has just a hint of that banana flavor that Belgians so often rock. It has the malty notes of an amber ale, though nothing quite so rich as a brown ale. It has enough flavor that it can stand up to salty snacks or food. It works well with big flavor, and it’s no shrinking violet.
This is a great tasting beer that’s relatively easy to find just about anywhere. It’s one of the great success stories of craft brewing distribution, a real Cinderella tale. I love this beer for its careful flavor balance and will often seek it out. Five out of five frosty mugs.