The New Belgium Brewing Lips of Faith tap takeover at New Belgium Brewing was a rousing success. This event took months of planning and resulted in 17 New Belgium beers being on tap all at the same time. Many of these were from the aforementioned Lips of Faith series, a line of craft beers that celebrate experimental recipes and unique collaborations.
There was a fairly substantial crowd over at Harry’s Hofbrau. The line to purchase beers, at times, never seemed to shorten. And when it did, the line seemed to reform itself at a moment’s notice. All in all, it was a good crowd filled with familiar faces, at a good event.
Berlinerweiss, 7% ABV
Flavor is fruity, banana notes, some clove, with a lactic tartness in the finish. Aroma is fruity, slight banana with noticeable lactic sourness. Body is medium, carb is prickly, finish is dry. Hop bitterness is low.
Berliner Weiss are not typically this big in body or alcohol. In Germany, these are meant to be refreshingly tart beers served mit Himbeersirup (raspberry syrup) or mit Waldermeistersirup (woodruff syrup). This version was also remarkably similar to a hefeweizen with its balance of banana and clove character. Its tartness, a defining characteristic, seemed to have mellowed out some.
Prickly Passion Saison, 8.5% ABV
Fruity flavor, peppery yeast flavors, slight clove, kinda reminiscent of the prickly pear, just a different one. Malt is bready and toasty. Hop bitterness is medium, balanced. Aroma is peppery and fruity, some toasty malt notes. Body is medium, carb is medium, finish is dry.
Mrs. BetterBeerBlog prefers saisons that are dry, with herbal/floral notes, while I prefer them with those characteristics plus an assertive hop bitterness. I though that this was an OK saison but missed out on the herbal/floral character. I’ve only had a handful of “prickly pears” in my lifetime and this beer had a subtle “prickly pear” character. I’m not saying it doesn’t taste of the fruit, it just didn’t taste like the fruits I’ve had before.
Kick (Pumpkin and cranberry sour ale), 8.5%, (collaboration with Elysian Brewing)
Blend of acetic and lactic sourness, with the lactic sourness being the more dominant. Fruity, low hop bitterness and flavor, cracker-like malt flavor. Aroma is tart and fruity. Body is medium, carb is high, finish is dry.
The tartness, which comes from the cranberry, hits you up front while the pumpkin, subtle and not masked by any of the traditional “pie” spices, fills the middle of the palate. A refreshing autumn ale. On the surface, you wouldn’t think that cranberries and pumpkin, or beer for that matter, would go well together but take a look at your typical Thanksgiving dinner and you’ll see cranberry, pumpkin, and beer (at least in our household).
Super IPA (collaboration with Alpine Brewing), 9% ABV
Flavor is hoppy, resiny, tropical fruit, and herbal. Malt flavor is lightly toasted. Hop bitterness is medium-high and smooth. Aroma is tropical fruit and resiny. Body is medium-high, carb is medium-high, finish is dry.
I really liked this beer! Just about everyone I spoke to had very good things to say about this collaboration beer. The malt character reminded me of your typical New Belgium flavor profile but the hops were all Alpine. The dry finish helped this beer go down smooth and the layered hop flavor and aroma was very smooth. Very glad I got to try some.
Peach Porch (collaboration with G-Love), 9.5% ABV
Some citrus flavors, peppery notes, fruit aspects, and slight tart finish with barnyardy flavors. Hop bitterness is medium. Aroma is lightly peppery, lemony citrus, fruity, and barnyardy. Body is medium, carb is high, finish is dry.
I had to Google who G-Love was as I don’t think I’ve ever heard of him before. He’s apparently a musician from Philadelphia who, combined with his band “Special Sauce”, creates music that is described as “sloppy” and “laid back” blues. A big fan of New Belgium beers, he managed to talk the brewery into doing a collaboration ale. The resulting beer has an ingredient lists that has a strong, southern influence.
I thought it was a solid beer with a nuanced flavor profile. You can taste a lot of different things going on but unless you were familiar with all the ingredients, which I’m not, you’d be hard pressed to point them out.
Abbey Grand Cru, 9.5% (aged American Dubbel)
Fruity flavor, banana, raisins, slight prune… slight peppery yeasty finish. Aroma is fruity, combination between bananas and prunes/figs. Hop bitterness is medium-low. Body is medium-full, carb is medium, finish is dry-ish.
Decent Belgian-style Dubbel. It’s a little fruitier than many dubbels I’ve had but New Belgium doesn’t make any claims to this beer being a traditional Belgian-style dubbel. In fact, they go so far as to name this an American dubbel as a way to explain why it’s a little off from its European counterparts.
When Less is More
What I really appreciated about the event was that Harry’s Hofbrau offered, in several cases, half sizes of the beers on tap. This allowed us to sample more beers than we would’ve been able to if we were drinking full pints. When faced with so much variety, I’d rather drink several different beers than the same amount of a single beer. I wish more bars would do this. It’s probably a pain in the ass, I know, but that’s how I like to drink.
I thought this ended up being a very, very good event. Harry’s Hofbrau General Manager Kevin Olcese has been putting a lot of work into establishing Harry’s Hofbrau as a place for craft beer and I think it’s paying off. If you attended the event, I’d like to hear what your thoughts were in the comments section below.