Five Beers. One Multi-Pack. Five Ratings. One Blog Post. Here Goes…
Sam’s Club near me (Chicago’s suburbs; a burb without a Costco) was selling cold beer from New Belgium. And I thought, why not? I’ve had – and quite enjoy – Fat Tire, but there’s other stuff they produce out there in Colorado that might be worth a try.
Price was right: $14-ish for the 12-pack. Here goes…
Battle of the New Belgium Brews
We could do this a whole number of ways – best-to-worst, or alphabetically, or by coolest label. However, I think it makes the most sense to look at this chronologically.
Here’s a hypothetical week – imagine, hypothetically, of course, that you’re a suburban dad and you pick up some brewskis at the Sam’s Club, and, because they’re cold, you try one. On a Tuesday.
It’s not BAD, but…I’m not turning cartwheels over it either.
Hoppy – Ale-y – Slightly Bitter. Beyond that, does it say “summer?” Does it say “go fly a kite?” Not sure.
Loft – Metasip Grade: B-
It’s fine. There are four bottles in the 12-pack, so maybe it’ll grow on me. If so, I’ll change the grade. But I don’t think I’ll change the grade.
My other mistake is that there’s supposed to be some sort of citrus involved – like an orange slice or whatnot. Didn’t have it – and, now that I realize what beers like Blue Moon do to me, I have to draw the line at anything marked “wheat beer.” Can’t do it.
This had some spice to it, but I couldn’t place what spice, and I lost interest after a couple sips anyway.
Sure enough, the next morning, the headache would erase any positive thoughts about this beer.
Sunshine – Metasip Grade: B-
We’re 40% through our tasting, and New Belgium isn’t showing so well thus far.
Of course, we may have stacked the lineup: 1 and 2 are light-hitting infielders. Might as well give the big boys an at bat or two.
Thursday: Fat Tire
Ages ago – must be at least a dozen years now – a friend heard we were making a trip from Chicago to St. Louis and implored us to get him some Fat Tire. We didn’t know why this was important…until we tasted it.
Since then, this is the beer that has come to define New Belgium’s prowess.
This is an ale that is up there among the finest brews you’ll try. Hops? It’s got ’em. And then some. An alcohol kick, too. (ABV of 6.5%.)
We wouldn’t be a real review site if we didn’t give this our highest score yet.
Fat Tire – Metasip Grade: A-
Why not an A? Why the minus? We run a tight ship over here in the beer department.Maybe it’s familiarity that keeps us from handing out a straight “A.”
N.B. Only one beverage in our history has an A. Read a review of it over here. Bulleit Rye Review. It’s outstanding, actually.
Friday: Ranger IPA
This is exactly what you think of when you think IPA. Packs that wallop. Hops – probably hoppier than Fat Tire. Some bitterness on the finish – but not too bitter. And, darnit, this is another outstanding brew from New Belgium.
Ranger IPA – Metasip Grade: A-
We actually drafted a review of this beer a couple months ago – but we stopped short because we weren’t sure we were giving it a fair shake. Then, we had it pegged as a high-B+. But, trust us, it’s worthy of the “A-” grade.
Saturday: Blue Paddle
In fact, this is the kind of beer that, if it were a student, you would be certain it was cheating. This came out of nowhere.
From the “judge the book by the cover” category, your professor (me) was guilty of doing so – and that’s because it said “Pilsner Lager” on the label. Immediately, thoughts of mass-marketed, mass-produced, watered-down swill crossed my mind.
This was the exact opposite of those things. And more: clean finish, but a powerful beer. I was wishing there were more than two in the 12-pack.
Blue Paddle – Metasip Grade: B+
But it’s the highest “B+” you could imagine. Let’s just say this was like a solo homer after the other beers cleared the bases with extra-base hits.
So there you go…5 beers, maybe 3 winners and two average brews…all from New Belgium. Cheers!