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The Beer Friends write, review, and discuss Craft Beer as fans instead of experts.  They share their unique voice and affinity for craft beer through multiple platforms and offer a range of media to join their craft beer conversation.



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Filtering by Tag: Greeley

Featured Brewery: New Belgium Brewery


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 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.”

Old Chicago Bar and Restaurant


Old Chicago will always have a special place in this Beer Friends' heart.  My home bar – it’s a chain restaurant – is located on the North End of Colorado Springs off the Woodmen Exit. Old Chicago is a typical bar/restaurant, serving deep dish pizza, calzones, salad bars and pasta. What sets Old Chicago apart is the beer list. Old Chicago is my Holy Grail of drinking.  This is where I learned about beer, about good beer, and the difference between bottles and draft -- basically my beer-education.

Old Chicago has the infamous World Beer Tour, a brilliant way to drink your way around the world.  Old Chicago has a standard list of 110 beers, which can increase to over 150 on any given night.  When you sign up for the World Beer Tour (WBT), you receive a card that keeps track of the beers that you drink and can be used at any Old Chicago location.   As you reach certain beer marks (5 beers, 15 beers, 25 beers, and so on…) you receive a number of different prizes including Foamer Bucks (Old Chicago coupons), bottle openers and t-shirts.

Every beer has a number attached and you run down the list and try to collect as many beers as you can… swipe your card and try again the next night.    As you travel through you pick from a variety of beers, everything from the Macro breweries like Coors and Bud, to the local Micro-brews – supporting the local economy.

In addition to the larger WBT, Old Chicago periodically holds “mini-tours,” which are month-long theme events. For example, during March, the mini-tour will bring you great Irish beers, both in draft and canned. October brings, obviously, an Oktoberfest mini-tour, featuring German beers as well as other fall theme beers from local breweries.

Although a chain restaurant, I believe Old Chicago does a pretty good job reflecting the beer taste of the area.  I’ve visited Old Chicago all over Colorado and each has a great sampling of the local breweries – Denver Old Chicago often features Breckenridge Brewery, the Fort Collins and Greeley area features New Belgium Brewery and Colorado Springs often features Bristol Brewery.

Overall a great attempt to be a local brew house operating under a chain restaurant name.

*Special thanks to Kevin Bell for his contributions and discussion on this post… he was my original Beer Friend.

UPDATE:  The Old Chicago Mini Tour starts April 14th at your local Old Chicago.  The Cinco De Mayo Mini Tour includes:

  • Dos Equis Special Lager
  • Corona Extra Lager
  • Tecate Lager
  • Pacifico Clara Lager
  • Dos Equis Amber Lager
  • Modelo Especial Pilsener
  • Negra Modelo Dark Lager
  • and the Managers Choice of each individual Old Chicago.

Like the World Beer tour and all other Mini Tours there will be a t-shirt when finished... want to know what it looks like?  Finish the tour to find out!

UPDATE: Deja Brew Summer Mini Tour at Participating Old Chicago's.  The Colorado Old Chicago's include 8 pours from Boulder Beer Company, starting July 7th and ending August 1st.  The Deja Brew Summer Mini Tour includes:

  • Old Chicago American Red Ale - 5.6 ABV
  • Flashback IBA - 6.8 ABV
  • Hazed and Infused Dry Hopped Ale - 4.9 ABV
  • Buffalo Gold - 4.5 ABV
  • Kinda Blue Blueberry Wheat - 5.2 ABV
  • Mojo Risin' IPA - 10 ABV
  • and your choice of two more!

Click here for the t-shirt design!  Enjoy!