Thursday, September 24, 2009

the deacon's pick of the week*

*the beer deacon's pick of the week can be a new brewery, beer, bar, or any saint-blessed thing he wants it to be, so long as it pertains to beer culture in the city. Look for his pick on thursdays, what college kids call "thirsty thursdays," or to cite from the brew hop bible, "and on the fourth day the disciples drinketh...early and often."

This week's pick: The New Belgium Brewery

The History
New Belgium was founded in Ft Collins, CO eighteen years ago by electrical-engineer-turned-homebrewer Jeff Lebesch and wife Kim Jordan, and is now home to 20+ styles of belgian ales. The first Fat Tire, the delightfully drinkable Amber that quickly became their flagship product, was brewed in Jeff's homemade kit (pieced together from old dairy farming equipment). And they've got a great vibe outside the brewery: fierce advocates of biking and transportation alternatives, you can find their brews on tap (if you're lucky enough to live west of the Rockies) at any number of bike races, city clean-up initiatives, and good ol' fashioned festivals and fundraisers. Check their blog to find where they're headed next (hint: San Francisco).

The Beer
Beer-soaked as we are in the great 5 boroughs, we often miss the best of the west, and no exception here. Fat Tire is almost all you'll find in the city (they're unlisted on Great Brewers finder) but I have been lucky enough to catch three bottled beauties from the criminally underrated American Beer Distro:

Mothership Wit: Belgian-style white ale, to Hoegaarden what Blue Smoke is to KFC. Heavily malted, not too sweet (A good belgian wit balances fruit/citrus with sour flavors), this blessed beverage is brewed all-organic with fresh Rocky water (no cold train jokes, please).

Hoptober Golden Ale: Heavily hopped pale ale. Homebrewers will know what I mean: lots of relatively low-bitterness hops (Centennial, Cascade, Sterling, Willamette, and Glacier, all American local breeds) give it a flowery citrus bite and hoppy aftertaste without the sky high bitterness (40 IBUs). Wheat malts lend it a hefe-esque balance. The deacon loves me a high hopped, low bitter Pale Ale. A heavenly paradox.

Dunkelweiss 30*: This was a true find. Something like an Aventinus, a chocolaty sour wheat with a banana and clove finish. A unique bite, which I'll guess comes from the Belgian-ey range of diverse ingredients added to this traditionally german style. Good to stockpile for the next big storm or power outage. Don't expect to wake up when the neighbors knock, though.

And that's the deacon's pick of the week. I'll go ahead and bless myself fully recovered from NYC Craft Beer Week, and hope you too will get into some good cheer and libations this weekend. Speaking of biking, still plenty of time to sign up for the "Escape From New York" race on Saturday! Look for the deacon riding in the raddest beer jersey on the road.

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