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The Lagerheads have the warm and fuzzies for New Belgium Brewing Company. I (Tammy) am from Colorado, and New Belgium beer was the first “good beer” I remember tasting. When I moved to D.C. in 2001, you could get Fat Tire and a few other NBB offerings at the Brickskeller. But within a few months, the brewery pulled back distribution. I was left to fill my suitcase with Sunshine Wheat on trips home.
Since then we’ve been watching states fall like dominoes as New Belgium beer has slowly started making its way east again. Two years ago the Colorado brewery started shipping to Tennessee, and just last spring NBB landed in North Carolina. For a year now the only thing standing between us and those red retro cruiser-laden bottles is the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Alas, we are saved! . . . At least for now. After a massive beer run to North Carolina, the dedicated team at the Black Squirrel, making use of the District’s relaxed alcohol import laws, has brought New Belgium beer back to D.C.
The Adams Morgan beer bar has declared this week Fat Tire Week, after the little amber ale that catapulted New Belgium Brewing Company to prominence; today it is the third-largest craft brewery in the United States. Thanks to the wealth of innovative craft beers that have come out in the past decade, Fat Tire doesn’t have the same magic appear it once did. But almost 20 years ago, when co-founders Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch started New Belgium out of their home, the beer was one of a few flavorful options in a desert of fizzy yellow nonsense.
To help distract from such nonsense, through this Friday (or until they run out) the Black Squirrel will have Fat Tire Amber Ale, 1554 Enlightened Black Ale, Mothership Wit Organic Wheat Beer, and the Lips of Faith Series Biere de Mars. We are most looking forward to the last of these, since the Lips of Faith series is, we think, among the best of what New Belgium is brewing these days. Lips of Faith beers are the result of regular blind tasting contests among the NBB’s employees. Those who guess correctly which three NBB beers are blended in a pitcher, and at what exact percentages, is the winner. The prize? To brew whatever beer they want, which the the brewery then bottles and sells.
And if four New Belgium beers shipped in from North Carolina aren’t enough to pique your interest, chef Gene Sohn has prepared special menu items to accompany the beers including both savory and sweet waffles, Belgian-style fries, and a Colorado bison-bacon cheeseburger stuffed with brie and wrapped in proscuitto. (We probably gained 5 pounds just typing that last one.)
It should be a good time, but too bad the Black Squirrel crew didn’t bring back any Ranger IPA. We’ve been dying to try some. Has anyone out there had it yet? How is it?