Enjoyed a lovely evening at The Avenue Pub, as is par for the course on Friday nights with the Beer Advocate gang, including the Beer Buddha. One of the regulars had some visitors from out of town, his daughter and her boyfriend who both work for New Belgium Brewing. Very cool to babble on about beer drunkenly to new people! Who work in the beer business! And don't know me, so they listen!
Anyway, even better, they brought presents. Three beers from their Lips of Faith series: Imperial Berliner Weisse, Belgo IPA, and Sahti Ale. New Belgium is not available in either New England or Louisiana so this was a real treat. I have enjoyed their flagship beer, Fat Tire, while in San Francisco, but it's not something I've had very often.
I love a Berliner Weisse, and this was a nice one. Nice Brett and lactic sour flavors, but I thought it was a nice balanced beer, suitable as a sour beer intro, but flavorful enough for sour beer lovers to enjoy. The Belgo IPA was just lovely. I would have loved to have a bottle to myself to savor. I only had a few sips, but I was glad to have them! The IPA was very hoppy but not that sticky hop bomb style. It was fragrant, floral, and very drinkable. Reading the tasting notes I think that it's the fact that they used a Trappist yeast strain that softened the bitterness and astringency of the hops, leaving and amplifying the floral and citrus notes. NOM NOM NOM.
The third New Belgium that I tried was the Sahti which is described on the website thusly: "Inspired by Finnish Sahti, a traditional rye ale brewed with juniper, our Sahti Ale is a hazy amber ale with a sturdy mouthfeel and a crisp and lively finnish. Brewed with Pale, Crystal, rye malts and whole oats, our version is bittered with Cascade and finished with Cascade and Amarillo hops. Juniper boughs are added to the mash and juniper berries, orange and lemon peel are pitched in the whirlpool creating a festive olfactory of citrus and juniper notes." Sounds awesome, but I couldn't taste any of it- my palate had been more or less blown out by the previous tastings as well as the several full beers I had. Ooh, including a really nice Belgian pale ale, de La Senne Taras Boulba. They also had Turbodog on cask aged in bourbon barrels.
(photo credit: Jeremy Beerbuddha Labadie)
Also around for tasting was Schlafly (out of St. Louis) Tripel and Quadrupel. The Tripel went down a little hot, and wasn't very nuanced. The Quad was pretty nice though. Also floating around was Cigar City Brewing, which I *think* was a Humidor series IPA, quite possibly this one. Oh man, and toward the end a Lagunitas beer was floating around, I think it was the Little Sumpin' Wild. I couldn't tell you how they were, my critical tasting skills had left the building by that time. I was also busy telling the dude from New Belgium that he was a young pup and asking the guy from St. Arnolds brewery if he was the guy from Avery. Oh, and asking for a sip of his beer. So, you know, making friends and influencing people as usual. Drunkenly.