New Belgium may be known nationwide as the makers of Fat Tire, but those in love with the Craft beer world know the depth of the New Belgium repertoire, including their collaborations with breweries like Alpine, Allagash & today's Canadian star, Dieu du Ciel. One of the most creative Craft breweries from our neighbors to the north, I was thrilled to tap this beer at the Lumberyard, and plan out an equally delicious pairing. With a pleasant range of flavor profiles, this tasting was a treat for every beer drinker's palate...
Shift Lager, 5% ABV: Blazing a trail in can sales, Shift has become what I like to call, a favorite fishing beer. Along with brews Oskar Blues Mama's Little Pils and Ballast Point Pale Ale, these canned beers make me want to jump in a boat. Crisp & refreshing, Shift is a summertime, friends over, grilling out thirst quencher.
Paired with a whopping plate of Beer-battered Shoestring Onions. The Shift lasers through the salt, pepper, spice, and fat. Outdoor sports, anyone?
Ranger IPA, 6.5% ABV: This classic IPA from New Belgium is hopped with Cascade, Chinook, & Simcoe. A combination of citrus, herbs, pine, & grassiness along a malty backbone, Ranger is a solid IPA that is good for introducing newbies to IPA's before you blast them out with a Double. I would say this is one of the more easy-drinking IPA's on the market, and with a reasonable 6.5% ABV, it won't knock you out flat.
Paired with the 101 Sausage Sampler, a trio of sliders: Italian sausage with onions & red peppers, Bratwurst with onion & sauerkraut, and Kielbasa with jalapenos, onion, & tomato. IPA's and sausage are a delicious combo, with the citrus & hops playing off of the spice of the jalapeños, as well as the meat & fat of the sausages. Note for NFL season: This is game day food!
Hop Kitchen Hoppy Bock, 6.9% ABV: I really enjoyed this one. The crispness & refreshing nature of a lager with a perfectly balanced hop kick. What set this apart was a wonderful tropical (mango, pineapple) hop note which greeted both the nose and palate with an unexpected treat. Easy drinking, but interesting enough to hold your attention.
Paired wonderfully with Grilled Tilapia with mango-papaya salsa & herbed rice pilaf. The combination of both fruity and herbal hoppiness resonated with the elements of the dish, while the light sweetness of the fish was perfect with mild maltiness of the lager.
Lips of Faith Heavenly Feijoa Tripel, 9.4% ABV: As I have noted, I love Dieu du Ciel, and as I rarely get to have their beers, I was beyond excited when my fantastic NB rep told me this beer was coming down the pipes. The surprise here? A bit of tartness, coming from the Feijoa fruit, which apparently is something like a papaya. (I had never heard of it either, friends.)
Paired with a juicy 16 oz. Porterhouse Porkchop (yes,it's a big boy), with caramelized apples, scalloped potatoes & honey glazed carrots. The natural sweetness of the meat is a lovely match to the tripel, while the tartness from the feijoa fruit provide a refreshing compliment.
Until next time,
Please drink & support Craft beer!