Tag Archives: Fort Collins Colorado

New Belgium expands sour beer brewing capacity

new-belgium-brewery-logoSeveral years ago when I visited Belgium, the first beer I ordered at a bar there was Cantillion’s Gueuze. As it was a particularly chilly and rainy night, I was the only patron in the bar and the bartender and bar staff was all standing around near the end of the bar where I sat. The bartender, deducing that I was American – I think the accent gave it away – asked me if I was sure that that was the beer I wanted. “It is not like any American beer you have ever had,” he said.

Having done my research before I left the States, I knew that that was exactly what I wanted. So, I replied, “That’s the point.”

The entire staff watched as I took my first sip of the powerfully sour brew, expecting a negative reaction. What they got was a surprise because I absolutely loved it. Thus began my love affair with sour beers. Over the next nine days of my vacation I took the opportunity to drink as many sour beers as I could find. In Belgium, that is not very difficult to do.

Now, three years later, the craft beer craze is beginning to turn to sours as the next big thing. Here in Jacksonville I have had the opportunity to taste several locally-produced Berliner Weiss brews, one from Aardwolf and one from Intuition. Both were excellent with Aardwolf’s version being the more sour of the two.

One larger craft brewer that has been experimenting with sour beers for some time now is, not surprisingly, New Belgium out of Ft. Collins, Colo. In fact, the brewery has been making sour beers since 1998 when Peter Bouckaert, formerly of Redenbach inBelgium, joined the company. Rodenhbach is known for their deliciously sour beers and Boukaert wanted to bring some of that to his new home in the United States. The result was La Folie, part of the brewery’s Lips of Faith series of beers.

Just the other day I received a press release from New Belgium detailing the expansion of the wood-aged sour beer program. This is a welcome expansion to sour beer lovers like myself that is sure to produce even more delightfully sour and complex beers.

The entire press release is below:

Ft. Collins, Colo. – November 20, 2013 –  New Belgium Brewing is about to double its wood beer capacity with the addition of 32 new French Oak foeders (large wooden casks for conditioning sour beer) that will bring their total foeder count to 64. Space has been allocated, reinforced concrete flooring has been poured, and the first 12 foeders will be put in place this week. The expansion will allow New Belgium to effectively double its wood beer production in coming years. New Belgium first began making wood-aged sour beers in the form of the award-winning La Folie in 1998 when Brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert, joined the brewery. Bouckaert formerly brewed at Rodenbach in Belgium, home of the Flanders style, Rodenbach Red.

“With this expansion, we’ll get so close to that feeling I had the first time I walked through the forest of foeders at Rodenbach,” said New Belgium’s Wood Cellar Manager/Blender, Lauren Salazar. “Just knowing they’re all full of souring beer – ALL of them – is exciting. It’s a destination. Something you have to experience first hand.”

New Belgium has been experimenting with lighter and blended sour beers through its Lips of Faith program since 2003. The brewery will use this expansion to bring Lips of Faith offerings like Tart Lychee and Eric’s Ale into year round production by 2015. The newest set of oak foeders are 130 hectoliters each and come from Sterling vineyards in California. After the initial installation of 12 in November, 20 more foeders will be placed in December. Once rehydration is complete, sour beer from the current wood cellar will be used to inoculate the barrels with resident souring bacteria and wild yeasts. The beer will then age up to two years before it is blended.

On February 1st, 2014 New Belgium will hold its second annual Lost in the Woods party where guests can mingle and experience the wonders of wood beer first hand.  Check back in mid-December for details at


Posted by on November 22, 2013 in Beer Styles, Craft Beer Brewery


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New Belgium launching in Florida and around the country

new-belgium-brewery-logoThe long awaited entrance of new Belgium into the Florida craft beer market is just days away. On Monday, July 29 the Ft. Collins, Colo. brewer will enter the market with a splash by hosting a week’s worth of launch parties all around the Jacksonville area.

But, ours is not the only state New Belgium is conquering. Along with Florida, the brewery has recently announced that they will launch in Utah and Delaware in the U.S. and British Columbia in Canada.

“[Delaware] will mark our 33rd state of distribution, once Florida opens up later this month, and it’s exciting for us to be inching our way into more and more areas in the Northeast,” said New Belgium Brewing Sales Co-Pilot, Brian Krueger. “We definitely look forward to having a New Belgium beer with our friends in The First State.”

In Delaware New Belgium faces stiff competition with the state’s beer super star Dogfish Head. But, the two breweries have enough differences that it is certain that both can coexist happily.

Utah, which shares a border with New Belgium’s home state of Colorado, has been an elusive target for the brewery.  “Since we’re based in Colorado and share a border with our friends in Utah it only makes sense that we can now share a beer with them as well,” Krueger said. “We are really excited about some of the recent legislation in Utah that gives us the peace of mind we need to ensure the quality of our beers will be held to our high standards”

British Columbia marks New Belgium’s first foray into exports. The brewery will officially kick off its entry into the Canadian market at the Great Canadian Beer Fest on September 6, 2013.

Back home, if you have not had the opportunity to sample New Belgium’s brews or if you are a fan and just want to support the brewery’s roll out in North Florida, check out the list below.

Monday, July 29

5:30 to 6:30         World of Beer Southside
7:00 to 8:00         Mellow Mushroom Southside

Tuesday, July 30

5:30 to 6:30         European Street Beaches
7:00 to 8:00         Mellow Mushroom Beaches

Wednesday, July 31

5:30 to 6:30         Mellow Mushroom St. Augustine
7:00 to 8:00         JP Henley’s St. Augustine

Thursday, August 1

5:30 to 6:30         Dogstar Tavern Fernandina Beach
7:00 to 8:00         Palace Saloon Fernandina Beach

Friday, August 2

5:30 to 6:30         Kickbacks Riverside
7:00 to 8:00         European Street Riverside

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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in Craft Beer Brewery


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New Belgium Brewery water tainted by wildfires

If you are fan of New Belgium Brewery and their popular Fat Tire brew, you may have a difficult time procuring your favorite beverage. The Fort Collins, Colo. Brewery is another victim of the devastating High Park Fire that destroyed 250 homes and killed one person in June.

The brewery has been forced to use a reserve water supply out of nearby Larimer County because run off from the fire has contaminated the Poudre River where they usually obtain their water for brewing. But, according to brewery officials, they have been told that they may have to return to using water from the Poudre soon. If that happens, the brewery complained, it will kill the flavor of the beer and render it undrinkable.

The brewery is working with Fort Collins officials to try to continue using the reserve water, but is unsure how long that will last.

Jenn Vervier of New Belgium said, “The health of the watershed equals the quality of our beer.” According to the company, chemists have identified six substances in the water from the Poudre River that could detrimentally affect beer.

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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in Beer, Beer News, Craft Beer Brewery


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