The New Belgium Brewery was founded in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1991 when the company's Brew Master took his home brewing to the next level. Since then, New Belgium has grown into one of the more popular breweries in a state producing many top craft beers. While you can’t find their stuff out on the East Coast - yet, you can certainly find it in any store in Colorado and the surrounding states. The flagship beer for New Belgium is Fat Tire, an amber ale that is famous throughout the Colorado beer drinking community. According to New Belgium’s website, Jeff Lebesch got his inspiration for beer while traveling through Belgium on his bike equiped with “fat tires,” Jeff returned to the states with ideas and ingredients that forever changed the Colorado beer landscape. New Belgium’s mission statement can be found here, and you can see the principles applied in every bottle they brew.
As this Beer Friend toured the brewery a few years back, I was overwhelmed with the sense of social responsibility. Having toured one giant brewery in Colorado (Coors in Golden), I found the personal touches at New Belgium refreshing and this attitude forever changed my philosophy on beer. An employee owned business, the brewery uses wind power and recycled water to make and bottle their beer. After being with the company a year, employees are offered a stake in the company and their very own cruiser bike, complete with “fat tires”.
The Beers: While not the first New Belgium beer, Fat Tire has assumed the flagship mantle and is always a go-to beer. Soft on the palette this beer never disappoints, just a smooth beer for any time of the year.
Sunshine Wheat is the wheat beer of the company and this Beer Friend can remember plenty of Greeley summer days sitting on the porch with a six pack and a book. Light and refreshing, this beer almost brings the sunshine out.
2 (degrees) Below is the New Belgium winter beer which this Beer Friend had on his recent home visit. Light on the typical winter spices, this beer finishes light and reminds you to have another on a cool winter night.
Check out www.newbelgium.com for more beers and food pairings.
Overall this brewery had a huge impact in the development of this Beer Friends’ beer philosophy. While we all enjoy beer for different reasons, this company enjoys beer and makes a difference – asking the question: Why can’t we all? The best example of the New Belgium way: “Producing world-class beers” is actually number two on the company’s list of Care Values. The top value? It is a value that reminds all New Belgium employees how lucky they are to be making beer that makes a difference – “Having Fun.”