Review: Beers of New Belgium, Late 2017 Releases
New Belgium seems to crank out more beer than anyone this side of Sam Adams. Here’s a look at five new releases, including a new Fat Tire bottling and our first pumpkin beer of the season.
New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Passion Fruit IPA – The newest special release of New Belgium’s Voodoo Ranger brand doesn’t need much introduction: It features Citra and Galaxy hops, backed up with passion fruit. It’s not a very compelling blend at all. Something in the juicy, floral passion fruit just doesn’t jibe with the bitterness from the hops, giving the whole affair a cacophonous character that feels at once artificial, candylike, and gooey. 8% abv. C- / $7 per 22 oz bottle
New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin – The pumpkin spices pour right out of the bottle here, tons of cinnamon and nutmeg and autumnal sweetness. Take a sip and the “atomic” becomes clear: This brew is spiked with habanero peppers, giving the otherwise sweet body a fiery kick. I’m not quite sure what to think of this bizarre mix, but somehow it works better in the bottle than it does on paper. Tabasco on your pumpkin pie? I might have to try it this year, just to see. 6.4% abv. B / $8 per six-pack
New Belgium in Collaboration with Oud Beersel Transatlantique Kriek 2017 – This is a 50-50 blend of a tart cherry lambic from Belgium with New Belgium’s own golden sour ale (aged 1 to 3 years in oak). The results are intensely flavored with sour cherries, but it’s never overwhelming, coming off almost as refreshing as a bold cherry soda. Beyond that, not much, making this a one-note brew, to be sure, but one that’s so unique it’s worth exploring. 2016 version here. 6.5% abv. B+ / $8 per 22 oz bottle
New Belgium Fat Tire Belgian White – This is the first ever addition to the Fat Tire brand, a wheat ale flavored with Seville oranges and Indian coriander. The spice thankfully isn’t overdone here, leading the bready core of the beer show itself more clearly, the coriander dusting the finish like cinnamon on toast. Overall it’s a well-made, if unsurprising, addition to the lineup. 5.2% abv. B+ / $8 per six-pack
New Belgium Sour Saison – This is a blended barrel-aged farmhouse ale, and not nearly as sour as I’d expected. The combination of sourness with a spicy saison style really works, those dusky herbs mingling well with notes of sour apple and some cherry on the finish. Lightly tart but incredibly refreshing, it’s easily the best brew in the mix this month. 7% abv. A- / $NA (12 oz bottles)