While in Colorado, we had the pleasure of taking a trip up to Fort Collins to visit the New Belgium Brewery. If you ever visit Colorado, you have to make it up to New Belgium! Being the third largest craft brewery in the country, the brewery has more of a museum look to it, with bits of history spread throughout; like the original brew house that Jeff Lebesch started with!
In addition to its massive size, various additions were made to limit the energy consumption of the brewery. For instance, the boil kettle, at the far end of the above photo, will recapture steam that is used to keep the brew house running hot for the next batch of beer to be brewed. The brewery also has a solar panel array on the roof, and its own waste water treatment plant, which creates methane to provide the brewery with additional energy.
Probably my favorite section of the brewery was the wood cellar. It’s amazing how many foudres are crammed into such a small space. While we were there, employees were planning out where the 32 new foudres are going to go.
Throughout the tour, we were given samples of beer to drink as we walked around. In the wood cellar, we were given a pour of New Belgium’s collaboration beer with Allagash from 2010, Vrienden. This lightly tart beer is delicious, and was one of the first sour beers I tried a few years back.
After the wood cellar, we got to see New Belgium’s pilot brew house. Yes, pilot for New Belgium means a 10HL brewery! I couldn’t get a good picture of it, but written on wall behind the the pilot brew house is the following inscription:
I’m the king of hops
There is none higher
Sucka FV’s should call me sire
To isomerize alpha you must use fire
I won’t stop hoppin till I retire
While in the pilot brewery, we were able to try the upcoming new fall seasonal beer, a pumpkin ale with cranberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and lemongrass. Yes, it was delicious, and I can’t wait for this to be released!
After visiting the brewery, it is pretty clear why New Belgium was named #1 brewery tour in the nation! There really is nothing like it, and the people there are incredible. Our host Penelope Gilliland was amazing and did a fantastic job personalizing our visit for us. I was shocked to see a sign in the brewery welcoming us! I can’t wait to visit again in the future!