A year later than what was originally announced, but I was right when I suggested that the year-round sour would likely be a blended sour beer. The press release suggests that they will rotate through various sour beers by stating that “The brewery will use this expansion to bring Lips of Faith offerings like Tart Lychee and Eric’s Ale into year round production by 2015.” Tart Lychee was an amazing beer, and I’ve heard similar comments made about Eric’s Ale as well.
The benefits of using beer blends is that less of of the aged sour beer needs to be used for each batch, allowing them to then release more beer than if the beer was made up of 100% sour beer. Additionally, these beers would be less sour, and thus more approachable to drinkers who are unfamiliar with sour beers. As the label on Eric’s Ale states: “This is a sour beer for those who don’t like sour beers.”
Full press release below
New Belgium Brewing to Double Down on Wood Beer Capacity, 32 new oak foeders to come online by year’s end
(Fort Collins, CO) – New Belgium Brewing is about to double its wood beer capacity with the addition of 32 new French Oak foeders (large wooden casks for conditioning sour beer) that will bring their total foeder count to 64. Space has been allocated, reinforced concrete flooring has been poured, and the first 12 foeders will be put in place this week. The expansion will allow New Belgium to effectively double its wood beer production in coming years. New Belgium first began making wood-aged sour beers in the form of the award-winning La Folie in 1998 when Brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert, joined the brewery. Bouckaert formerly brewed at Rodenbach in Belgium, home of the Flanders style, Rodenbach Red.
“With this expansion, we’ll get so close to that feeling I had the first time I walked through the forest of foeders at Rodenbach,” said New Belgium’s Wood Cellar Manager/Blender, Lauren Salazar. “Just knowing they’re all full of souring beer – ALL of them – is exciting. It’s a destination. Something you have to experience first hand.”
New Belgium has been experimenting with lighter and blended sour beers through its Lips of Faith program since 2003. The brewery will use this expansion to bring Lips of Faith offerings like Tart Lychee and Eric’s Ale into year round production by 2015. The newest set of oak foeders are 130 hectoliters each and come from Sterling vineyards in California. After the initial installation of 12 in November, 20 more foeders will be placed in December. Once rehydration is complete, sour beer from the current wood cellar will be used to inoculate the barrels with resident souring bacteria and wild yeasts. The beer will then age up to two years before it is blended.
On February 1st, 2014 New Belgium will hold its second annual Lost in the Woods party where guests can mingle and experience the wonders of wood beer first hand. Check back in mid-December for details at www.newbelgium.com.
ABOUT NEW BELGIUM BREWING
New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work and one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses. The 100% employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, and one of World Blu’s most democratic U.S. businesses, and a Certified B Corp. In addition to Fat Tire, New Belgium brews eight year-round beers; Ranger IPA, Rampant Imperial IPA, Shift Pale Lager, Sunshine Wheat, 1554 Black Ale, Blue Paddle Pilsener, Abbey Belgian Ale and Trippel. Learn more at www.newbelgium.com.