As promised, our lull of special events is coming to an end. American Craft Beer Week begins on Monday with featured breweries, specialty kegs and free brewery merchandise of which to partake for seven straight days. However, I’ve got a warm-up event to get you in the mood.
I’m hosting a tap takeover tomorrow night featuring New Belgium Brewing. For any of you who might not know, a tap takeover is just what it sounds like. In the average bar with but a few beer lines, a brewery can incentivize an event where all beer taps become theirs for a night, usually to showcase a specialty and/or seasonal selection.
With the 112 draft lines that I curate, when I do a takeover it’s more like space aliens coming to conquer Earth and only invading Reno, Nevada. Hey, Martians, I think you missed a couple there.
I already keep five of their brands on tap year-round, so by adding four limited release items to the wall isn’t so much a tap takeover as it is a tap outbreak.
That doesn’t sound very flattering. Let’s let the beer do the talking. First up is a collaboration with the esteemed Belgian house Hof Ten Dormaal. This forward-thinking and self-sufficient brewery teamed up with New Belgium to produce a golden ale with feet in two different centuries. Made with spelt and malted sunflower seeds, the grain base is immediately different than most with bready, nuttiness. Wild carrot herbs – I’m guessing the flowering tops – are added for a little grassy note to complement the spicy Saaz hops while Mosaic hops mix in everything from mango to pine to lemon.
Next up is the Juicy Mandarina IPA. Calling it an IPA might be a misnomer. The primary hop is the German-bred Mandarina Bavaria which is a daughter, of sorts, of the American Cascade hop. There’s a first, “ze Germans” borrowing from American hop botany! While it does provide lemon and pineapple notes, it’s also herbaceous and sweet. Calypso and Galaxy hops bring tropical fruit, but it’s the wheat triple-threat, Hefeweizen yeast and coriander that have this beer suffering a very tasty identity crisis.
Third is from their Cache La Foeder rarity series. If you like it strong and sweet, look no further than this Peach Wheat Wine. Peaches and wheat ale meet barley wine strength and then get aged in barrels that once housed peach whiskey. I’m just going to leave that right there for you.
Their latest seasonal item is what I’m having right now. The others are fantastic, too, but this one’s session strength and I’m working here! Heavy Melon has the classic dark gold hue and bright white head look. Scents range from cereal to citrus hop with watermelon and, of all things, a bit of cucumber. Flavor is undeniably natural watermelon with a burst of lime up front followed by spicy yeast and biscuit malt. Very crisp, very thirst-quenching.
Heavy Melon is the light-bodied aperitif that’s perfect for this onslaught of rare beer. Let the invasion commence!