By Nick West, West Coast Sales Manager
On my recent trip to Colorado, I had the fortunate chance to tour the iconic home of Fat Tire and Voodoo Ranger, New Belgium Brewing. Walking up to this legendary brewery nestled on the Cache Le Poudre River in Northern Colorado, you get a sense of how proud the members of New Belgium of the place they call home.
When you first arrive for your tour, you check in at the front desk area and grab a beer while waiting for your tour guide to whisk you away through the halls of the brewery. Once I had my 1554 Belgian Dark Ale in hand, our tour guide Kyle gathered us around and began the tour.
Inside New Belgium
We started in History Hall on the “hot side, the part of the brewery where the warm processes of the brewing cycle take place. After a quick history lesson from Kyle, we headed upstairs to a gigantic room where the first steps of brewing take place. In the center of this room were 4 gigantic stainless-steel tanks where the grist, or milled grain, mixes with water to make a “beer tea” that is rich in sugar for the yeast to eat later on. The “beer tea”, or wort, in these tanks have one job: to make New Belgium’s Iconic Voodoo Ranger series of IPAs.
Once we had spent some time wandering this room, it was time to head to the “cold side”, but our fantastic host made sure we didn’t leave empty handed so, Kyle had us all pour our own beer and naturally I poured myself a sample of Fat Tire.
Over on the “cold side”, we got to see where wort is turned into beer. In this area, there are several large fermentation tanks where the yeast is pitched, and the production of alcohol begins. Then down the hall from the fermentation tank was my favorite part: The area dubbed “The Foeder Forest”! This is where New Belgium’s sour ales come to life. A large warehouse full of massive oak wine barrels called foeders is where iconic beers like La Folie and Le Terroir are born. After Kyle poured us all a sample of La Folie, it was time to wrap up the life cycle of beer and head to the packaging facility. After a short walk through the beautiful New Belgium campus, we arrived at the canning line and were greeted with an ice cold can of the same beer we saw in the mash tuns: a Voodoo Ranger IPA that was canned that very morning. Once we got to see the canning line in action, our tour was almost over and it was time to head back to the taproom, but not after stopping to admire some old artwork that coincidentally I have copies of sitting at my desk.
I want to give a big thanks to New Belgium Brewing for their hospitality during my trip. If anyone is in Fort Collins and looking for a great way to spend an afternoon, schedule a tour of this legendary brewery and enjoy the magic and beauty of New Belgium Brewing.