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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: New Belgium

BFF4 Round 3: #Sweet16 Part 2

Beerfriend Paul

Today we finish up the second half of Round 3! Voting goes thorough the weekend, Round 4 to start Monday! If you need some help deciding you can click on the links to each video for our “expert” opinion. If you’d like to tell us why one of these beers should win over the other you can tweet us @thebeerfriends or find us on Facebook. it won’t help that beer win any but we’ll enjoy it.


#1 vs #5

In this battle of Colorado we have 2 beers that are aggressive when it comes to hops.  Oscar Blues Dales Pale Ale has been a trailblazer in the craft beer community for a long time; this well hopped pale ale was America's first hand-canned craft beer, and even though it calls itself a pale ale it packs a much larger punch.  It has its work cut out for it as it goes up against Breckenridge 471 Small Batch IPA.  This 9.2 abv double IPA packs in the hops and claims to bring "big sweet mouthfeel, followed by more hoppiness than you've ever had." This is a match up the hop heads should enjoy.

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#6 vs #15

21st Amendment Bitter American is an "extra pale session ale" that brings a flavor you would expect form a much heavier brew.  It goes up against New Belgium 1554 which is an "enlightened black ale." Coming out in 1999, 1554 sets the bar for the newer fad of black beers that have come out the past few years.

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#1 vs #4

Lagunitas Censored Rich Copper ale brings the smooth malty flavor of this deep red ale to battle against the fresh hops of Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Hop Harvest (2011). These very different styles bring very different flavors to this battle of California.

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#6 vs #10

This battle of East vs West gives us two brews meant for the last 3 months of the year.  Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye is a spicy darker IPA that was brewed for the cooler months later in the year. Sixpoint Autumnation is a harvest ale in the truest sense of the style.  Here we have a beer brewed with pumpkin and spice that help frame the main attraction in this beer, the fresh harvested "wet hops." Each year Sixpoint chooses a different strain of hops for this ale, The Beer Friends reviewed the 2011 version.

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Hashtag Battles Season 2 - Week 7!


Hello Beer Friends Nation! In the spirit of competition, Beer Friends would like to invite everyone to our second season of NFL hashtag battles! Using we will pit two breweries against each other when their NFL counterparts are facing off on the gridiron. Are you ready for some football? And drinking? And #hashtag battle?!?!?!

What's a hashtag battle? When you're drinking a beer of a brewery competing in the battle, throw a #hashtag of the brewery and tweet it (or setup your foursquare or untappd to push to tweet and include the #hashtag) and we'll use to declare a winner after the Monday Night football game on ESPN. Support your team, support your beer, drink local and hashtag battle!

Week Six -  Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers (#shinerbeers vs #newbelgium)

This week features two of the biggest egos in football, one in the owners' box and the other as a sophomore quarterback.  Pepper in a little ID and super ego and we have a Texas-sized omelette.  Let's see who wins this battle, not on the field but whose head can fit inside the stadium.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones often overshadows the football team he owns.  The self-proclaimed "America's Team" was flying high with a few superbowl wins, iconic cheerleaders and a hat almost as famous as Indiana Jones'.  Jerry Jones was once quoted as saying that Cowboys stadium needed a retractable roof so God could watch his Cowboys play football - well, God has changed the channel after a few struggling seasons, the Texas version of Mark Sanchez, and clock management techniques straight from Alice in Wonderland.   The Cowboys have been more of a brand than a football team in the past few years - finishing 3rd in the NFC East the past two years, but Jerry Jones just keeps talking.  This week the biggest mouth in Texas proclaimed that the Cowboys still have the Superbowl in sight this year.  At 2-3 they'll need a lot of help already, and even God stopped paying attention.

Shiner from the Spoetzl Brewery is a Texas sized classic.  In a state filled with Cowboys and watered down beer selections, Shiner shines bright and gives hope through the dust kicked up in the daily rodeos.  With a wide variety of brews - including a Shiner Bock with the iconic Big Horned Sheep, a Black Lager and the seasonal Oktoberfest, Shiner continues to grow and attempt to show them Cowboys the real American way... of craft beer.

The Carolina Panthers had a lot of promise coming into the season.  Rivera is a defense minded  coach and Cam Newton had the Golden touch - not in wins but stats which eventually translate, right?  After a rough sophomore season start, we find Cam Newton playing more like Clark Kent than Superman.  The Panthers have one win against the Saints this season (but who hasn't beat the Saints this year?  - Sorry didn't see you there Chargers...)  and loses by 6, 29, 4, 2 - so they are getting closer.  Can Cam Newton turn the ship around and play well enough that the Carolina faithful aren't looking to draft a replacement Man of Steel - those Batman movies were pretty good, right?

New Belgium is a Colorado Brewery, right?  Not anymore!  The Denver Post reported in April that New Belgium is building a 175 million dollar brewery in Asheville, NC to better serve the East Coast - to which we EST'ers cheer loudly.  Ranger IPA is a fantastic brew (one Beer Friend said it was his favorite IPA of all time... Phil), and Fat Tire is legendary in areas without access to the brew.  The Lips of Faith series is an excellent addition to the brewing line, and wonderful seasonals keep me looking forward to every time the weather changes.  Belgo is a newer Belgian IPA that seems to be getting good reviews and one of their classic beers always impresses.  With this strong GABF contender year in and year out moving to North Carolina, hopefully the Panthers can take note, or just have some really good beers.

Let the battle begin! Tag with #shinerbeer or #newbelgium, the battle begins Sunday morning and ends Monday night… drink to support your teams!

Beer Review 118: New Belgium 1554


Hello Beer Friends Nation! Ah New Belgium, probably the biggest brewery that isn't in New York City.  Well the Beer Friends turned out to be pretty resourceful and have been able to review a few beers (Fat Tire - Belgo - Dig) and today we check out 1554, an enlightened black ale.  1554 is a Belgian black ale that was a test and see project (darn, have to do a bunch of in-house tasting!) that started in 1997 and was good enough that it's a year round today.  This rounds out the Amber (Fat Tire), Belgian IPA (Belgo), Spring (Dig) and Black Ale of styles we tried from New Belgium - so far... Belgium! Black Ales! Roasted Malts!


Beer Review 113: New Belgium Fat Tire


Hello Beer Friends Nation! Today is the third in the series of the New Belgium Reviews (Dig - Belgo).  New Belgium has recently announced a new $175 million dollar brewery in Asheville, NC and the Beer Friends are terribly excited about it - so we decided to find and review some of their brews to get the East Coast (mainly New England and NYC Area) ready!  Fat Tire is certainly the most popular brew from New Belgium and the name was inspired from the "fat tires" on the mountain bike that the founder Jeff Lebesch rode through European village on his career-inspiring beer tour.  History!  Colorado Beer Tour!  Expansion for Delicious Beer!


Beer Review 108: New Belgium Belgo


Hello Beer Friends Nation! You know what makes this a Good Friday?  Another review from the Beer Friends! We return to our New Belgium Series with Belgo, a Belgian style IPA. This is part of the Explore Series which also features favorites like Ranger IPA and the new Shift (Pale Lager).  This week Greg Avola from Untappd joins us again - giving great insight and fitting in nicely at "the table".  If you are interested in joining us at the table email us and we'll see what we can do - we're always looking for new (beer) friends! Fort Collins!  Belgian beers (Thank God Phil wasn't here...)!  New Friends!


Beer Review 105: New Belgium Dig


Hello Beer Friends Nation! New Belgium is a legendary brewery on the East Coast.  We've all met that friend that grew up out West and Fat Tire was more available than Sierra Nevada - or have that East Coast buddy that went to Vegas on a bachelor weekend and came back telling of a magical beer... Growing up in Colorado, I didn't know what I had until it was gone.  By the power of motor vehicles and some well planned traveling - the Beer Friends were able to get their hands on some of the New Belgium line for samples.  This week we review Dig the spring seasonal offering taking the place of Mighty Arrow, and this Beer Friend likes the change.  Enjoy this review in our New Belgium series (yeah we bought a couple six-packs back!) Beer Road Trip! New Belgium!  Spring!


Hashtag Battles Week Five


Hello Beer Friends Nation! In the spirit of competition, Beer Friends would like to invite everyone to our NFL season hashtag battles! Using we will pit two breweries against each other when their NFL counterparts are facing off on the gridiron. Are you ready for some football? And drinking? And #hashtag battle?!?!?!

What's a hashtag battle? When you're drinking a beer of a brewery competing in the battle (#stone vs #newbelgium), throw a #hashtag of the brewery and tweet it (or setup your foursquare or untappd to push to tweet and include the #hashtag) and we'll use to declare a winner after the Monday Night football game on ESPN. And because football needs beer, we're starting on Saturday morning to include the brews consumed during College Football Saturdays. Support your team, support your beer, drink local and hashtag battle!

Hashtag Battle Week Five Matchup: Denver vs San Diego (#newbelgium vs #stone) 

These are two of the heavy weights in West Coast brewing.  California and Colorado are great beer producing states and fortunately San Diego and Denver both play in the AFC West = at least two games this year (I smell rematch!)  This is a great way to feature some fantastic breweries out west... let the hashtag battle begin!

San Diego has been tops in the AFC West for some time.  Top 5 in Offense and Defense last year - however, their special teams was a horror show that eventually kept them out of the playoffs.  Stone Brewery has been producing high quality beers even longer in San Diego (since 1996) but tend to knock it out of the park with their Special edition brews.  Can Stone Brewing Co. teach the Chargers a thing or two about special(ity) teams/beers and combine to win this weeks hashtag battle?

Denver, well... (this is a subject close to my heart -but I can admit it) the Broncos suck... a lot.  We are a shell of the once proud franchise we were (remember those back-to-back Super Bowl wins?).  Mike Shannahan lost his touch, Josh McDaniels was the wunder-kid hired to re-build the honor but instead acted like a small child with matches and burned the thing down.  Trading away all talent (and hurting the team for years to come) Coach McD was fired and old-school, run-first, solid-defensive-minded John Fox was hired. As the Broncos build back up they can look at the consistant model New Belgium has used for years.  New Belgium is (probably) the one brewery everyone is dying to get out on the East Coast - but New Belgium was smart, they didn't try for anything they couldn't do really well and are slowly building up for a (maybe) push into the NYC market (all pure speculation).  Can these two build together and work towards domination of their respective markets?

BFF4 Second Round - Brad's Bracket


Hello Beer Friends Nation! Dreams are broken and the strong move on... who ever thought the Rocky Mountain IPA had a chance against Breakfast Stout or (the biggest upset) Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout over Bristol's Laughing Lab, not to worry Bristol fans - Mass Transit pulled through over the strong year-round available Founder's Porter.  Can Yeti continue it's run?  can Bell's pull through as the two seed continuing to a 1 vs 2 match-up?  Vote and decide!

The 1 vs 8 match up has last year's winner Fat Tire advancing to play 471 Small Batch IPA from Breckenridge Brewery.  This is Breckenridge's first year in the BFF4 and they had a strong showing... can they be a Butler and bring down the #1 seed?

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The 5 vs 13 includes the biggest winner in the Colorado/Michigan bracket vs the upset minded Equinox Brewery Nova Pale Ale who squeezed by Odell's - Cutthroat Porter (even on nitro pour?  Nova must have a big following...).  Can the magic continue?  Or do they become like Villanova and get bounced from the tourney?

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The 6 vs 3 matchup features no surprises - Oskar Blue's Dales Pale Ale vs Founders Breakfast Stout.  Both are strong and excellent examples of a well crafted beer... Both are in my favorite go-to beers... I'm so torn!

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The 7 vs 2 match up features the ever popular Bell's Oberion vs the little known (and well liked) Bristol Mass Transit.   These are two lighter beers going head to head so expect a high scoring affair.

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BFF4 - Brad Bracket First Round


Hello Beer Friends Nation! It's that time of year where EVERYONE is swept up in the madness... yes - Beer Friends Final Four Beer Bracket is BACK!

Forget Louisville in the First Round and bubble teams, we're talking ales in the First Round and drinking the suds...

This year we (kinda) followed a regional bracket match up instead of the style like last year.

Brad's Bracket includes beers from Colorado and the Michigan area (somehow Great Lakes snuck in there...).  Vote your favorite brew through and pick that Cinderella team, sorry, stout.  Pick the winner and hold it over your friends heads until the next year (Brooklyn's Dark Matter anyone?) Beer!  Voting!

The 1 vs 16 match up pits Last Years winner, New Belgium's Fat Tire against a stout from Boulder - Avery's Out of Bounds Stout.  The Out of Bounds was delicious when infused with coffee, but Fat Tire seems like the fan favorite - should be interesting.  See more of this entry for voting!

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The 8 vs 9 match up has Breckenridge Breweries 471 Small Batch IPA against Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter.  This is a interesting choice because Edmund Fitzgerald is a multiple award winner - but the selection committee always gets a few wrong (they failed the "eye" test?)

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The 5 vs 12 match up sees Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout against Bristol Laughing Lab.  This is a Colorado knock down drag out... Yeti is known all over the US and Laughing Lab all over Colorado - both delicious beers - I'm guessing multiple overtimes.

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The 4 vs 13 match has upset special all over it.  Odell Cutthroat Porter against the ultimate mid-major in Equinox Nova Pale Ale.  These two breweries are miles apart (if even a mile) but the beers couldn't be different.  Dick Vitale is watching this one as a "upset special!"

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The 6 vs 11 match up has another two close breweries duking it out.  Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale against Boulder Beer Companies Cold Hop.  Both beers are available all over the US, but only one beer became available at my local grocery store which puts their RPI in the 20's!

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The 3 vs 14 match up is another mismatch.  Founders Breakfast Stout against Fort Collins Brewery Rocky Mountain IPA.  While Rocky Mountain IPA is a great beer, Breakfast Stout is built to win.

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The 7 vs 10 match up could go either way.  Two completely different beer styles in Bristol's Mass Transit against Founder's Porter - but great brews in their own rights.  Will the up-tempo smooth play of Mass Transit triumph over the slow down pace of Founder's Porter?

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The 2 vs 15 match up could be another upset special.  Bell's Oberion vs Ska Brewing Company Pinstripe Ale.  Oberion is a summer time favorite but Ska is quickly moving up the popular breweries ladder.  With Ska Brewing Company now available in cans... will this be enough for the 15 over 2 upset?

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Colorado Brewery Trip 2010 Recap


Hello Beer Friends Nation! While one Beer Friend held down the fort in NYC, the other three travelled out to the Great (Brewery) State of Colorado for a look around.  Below is a brief recap of the days and breweries we hit.

August 12th -

Garden of the Gods

Phil, James (honorary BF this trip) and Brad arrive in Colorado Springs, quickly finding themselves standing in front of a liquor store cooler inspecting the new and interesting beers in the cooler.  Then a quick run around Garden of the Gods, in North-west Colorado Springs.  Then a drive to Denver to pick up Graham and back home for our first beers of the tour - an extension of Christmas in July/August with a New Belgium 2 Below and Odell's Isolation Ale to kick off the trip (beers remaining from my winter holiday trip home).

August 13th -

A beautiful drive to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.  After taking some time to find a campsite (be sure to call ahead) we stop at our first brewery, Estes Park Brewery.  This small brewery  stays true to their roots, producing small batches to sell to local stores and supply their pub which is upstairs.  A few highlights were the Trail Ridge Red - also known as the Redrum Ale (playing off the famed Stanley Hotel in Estes Park - inspiration for the Steven King novel "The Shining") and the Estes Park Porter.  Then we headed into Fort Collins to check out Coopersmiths Pub and Brewing and Equinox Brewery a short walk away.  Equinox had a great feel - a bit of a coffee house vibe, it's a bar without any heels and no Coors Light on draft.  We enjoyed their sampler with six offerings - Sunrise Golden Ale, Vernal Hefeweizen, MidSummer Pale Ale, Orbit ESB, Zenith IPA, and the Sunset Stout.  All we very enjoyable but MidSummer Pale Ale was a favorite of these Beer Friends.  From there we headed to a favorite drinking hole - Old Chicago, had a few before returning to the forrest.

Rocky Mountain National Park

August 14th -

After waking up in Roosevelt National Forest, we pack the tents and head to Fort Collins to visit

Odell Brewery

Odell Brewing and New Belgium Brewery.  Odell had some fantastic stuff - including a Cutthroat Porter on Nitro and we played some board games, which turns into a theme this trip.  From Odell's we head to New Belgium to try to get on a tour, but on a Saturday afternoon we had no chance.  We decide to head to Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, Colorado before heading down to Denver for a Colorado Rockies game.  Oskar Blues was a great experience in visiting a brewery known for craft beers in cans.  Dale's Pale Ale is always delicious and no different here.

August 15th -

On Sunday we headed down to the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  A beautiful 4.5 hour drive from Colorado Springs, with a visit to San Luis Valley Brewing Company.  This was a very cool brewery built inside of a old bank building, using the thick layered vault as the cooler.  At the campsite we enjoyed some Ska Brewing Company, Breckenridge Brewery and Bridgeport Brewery beers.

Great Sand Dunes Nat'l Park

August 16th -

The Beer Friends jumped in the car again and drive through Pike National Forest on route to Denver.  In

Great Divide

Denver we checked out Great Divide Brewery, Breckenridge Brewery Pubhouse, and Wynkoop Brewery before checking out a different Old Chicago which every one has a unique selection of beers on draft.

August 17th -

After a early start we head up through the town of Breckenridge on our way to Mount Evans, home of the highest paved road in America.  After coming off the mountain, we visited Dostal Alley Brewpub in Central City, Colorado before heading to Lefthand Brewing Company in Longmont, Colorado.

Mt Evans

August 18th -

After a tearful goodbye to Phil, Brad and Graham head up to Fort Collins again for their scheduled tour of

New Belgium Brewery

New Belgium.  Before New Belgium we stopped at Fort Collins Brewery which was moving into a beautiful new facility, but alas not open for business.  Right down the road was ODell Brewery and we stopped in for another taste and tour, including exciting news of Odell's shipping beer to England starting in September!  Lucky Brits!  After a long and very informative tour of New Belgium (including four different beer tastings!) we stop in to Equinox Brewery for a game of Candyland, and - since we were there - a beer.  Then into Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park for another night under the stars.

August 19th -

Tents packed and campsite cleaned, the Beer Friends head down to Boulder with a quick stop off in Lyons to check out the original Oskar Blues location.  Once in Boulder we head to the Boulder Brewing Company and then to Avery Brewing Company - with highlights of Cold Hop (at Boulder Brewing) and Out of Bounds Stout small batch with a coffee kick.  Then we drove and wondered around Red Rocks and Garden of the Gods before heading to our last brewery, Bristol Brewing Company.

Overall an excellent time had by all and look forward to Colorado Breweries becoming our Breweries of the Week!