From the HBD Archive
From: (Aaron Birenboim)
Subject: New Belgium Brewery, Ft. Collins, CO
Date: 1992-03-19 15:07:12 GMT

On Tuesday, march 17 th meeting of the Unfermentables brewing
club had a speaker. Unfortuntely, I do not remember his last name,
because he was referred to as "Jeff" ... operator of the New
Belgium Brewery, in Ft. Collins CO. He makes several Belgian
style ales in his basement, and sells them in liter bottles
at several Ft. Collins and Boulder liquor stores.

Jeff's beers all use NO bacteria, but he uses several different
yeast strains..... and when I say DIFFERENT, i mean it. Real
Belgian style yeasts. Very complex flavors... perhaps even "spicy".

His biggest seller is "Fat Tire Ale". Basicly this is similar
to your usual amber-ale wort, all malt, fermented with his pure,
single strain yeast. It has a bit of the belgian character,
but is mild and smoother. Most acceptable to the usual american
pallate. I noted a vinegar aroma, but no noticible vinegar
flavor. This beer was dry-hopped with Kent and Williamette.

My favorite was his cherry ale. This wort seemed pretty much
like Fat Tire, but with almost no hop character. He mentioned
the use of "old, cheesy, hops". However, i do not think he
actually ages them. He might just expose them to air for as long as
he can, or possible "age" them in the oven, a la Martin Lohdal.
(just wanted to give martin a little fame... he's helped me a lot
over e-mail.) He uses 1 pound of cherries/gallon in the secondary.
Since he could not get the european style black cherries, he uses
sweet pie cherries, frozen, from a colorado orchard. The same
yeast as fat tire ale was used.

His trappist ale had a "hairspray" aroma, but the flavor was
quite a bit smoother than the arome suggests. It may be unfair
for me to judge this beer, since i do not like the spicy, complex,
trapppists. This beer is a bit stronger, going from 1.060
to 1.012. It is fermented form a single pure strain. It
uses the "secret" trappist ingredient, candy sugar. He
uses demura or turbinado for "candy sugar". I have seen
both of these on the shelves of Cub and/or King Soopers
groceries in Denver.

In his trippel he uses multiple yeast strains. For consistency,
he splits the batch for fermentation, and blends at bottling.
Trippel is uisually quite pale, and might have wheat. Both
his trippel and the "Brassiere Dupont" trippel that i have had
seemed to have wheat. I think by this time i wqas getting
a bit loopy, because i have almost no notes on his trippel ;-)
I prefered his trippel to the dupont a friend of mine brought
from germany, since his was smoother.

His beer is priced competituvely with other u-breweries,
and a great bargain for that price. He plans to remain small
so he continue brewing the belgian styles he loves, which
have a limited potential market. He has almost never made
any sales effort.... All but 2 of the liquor stores he supplies
approached him. However, he may leave the basement soon.

Apperently, the only major obsticle for him to go commercial
was an odd law on in-home businesses. He had no problem
meeting zoning and health ordinances for an in-home operation.
However, there was a specific clause which basicly said...
"except for breweries. no home breweries." He somehow
went to D.C. and the like to get this changed or something.
I never really understood how hw got around that obsticle.
He said that the health inspector said that he had done everything
right, so he obdviously knew the laws, so why did he go and
do this in his basement? This occured AFTER the initial
investment in SS equipment.

It was a very enjoyable talk that lasted about 90 min.
Unfortunately it was getting late, so i missed the bock tasting.


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