Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Belgium - Lips Of Faith Series

Time for a couple more standard reviews... this time from the "Lips Of Faith" series from New Belgium Brewing (@newbelgium) out of Fort Collins, Colorado.  I'm not sure how long they've been doing this series but each one seems to be inspired by a different old-world style and have some pretty crazy flavors!  I picked up the Sahti and Vrienden from Spec's in Houston a little while back, and I have a few more waiting for future tastings.

First, the Sahti... this is a take on a Finnish style of beer traditionally flavored with Juniper berries, and it's my first go at this style...  I poured it into a goblet... wasn't sure what would be best and I see that BA recommends a pint glass. Whoops... hopefully a goblet will do just fine though.

It's a deep golden color, not hazy like the style says it should be, with a really small head. Nothing too impressive here, but it's not like it looks bad.

The smell is very biscuity, with a warm maltiness to it and then just a hint of floral note at the end. It's interesting for sure and makes me want to dive in.

The flavor is very similar to the smell... malty up front but there are definite woody bitter notes at the end. This one tastes more like a Belgian ale than I was expecting with floral undertones to it.  It's got a nice body to it... very very drinkable. This one could be trouble at 7.2% abv if I had more of it or was sitting at a bar.

My Rating: B+


Up next, the Vrienden, which is apparently Flemish for friends.  There, don't ever say my blog didn't educate you about something other than beer!  This one is a pretty potent 8.5% abv American Wild Ale, brewed with hibiscus and brettanomyces.  For those unfamiliar, brettanomyces (or just brett) is a yeast strain used in many Belgian wild ales and sours, along with lambics and guezes... it tends to impart a bit of a sour flavor to beers, sometimes desirable, sometimes not!  This beer was served in a 22 oz. bottle, poured into a Corsendonk goblet.

It's a reddish-amber color, with a small white head.  You can definitely smell the floral notes... the dominant flavor is definitely the hibiscus with a hint of hops.  The hibiscus is even more present on the tongue, with those sour brett flavors coming through too. A good blend of floral and sour notes, pretty delicious really, and not what I was expecting.

The mouthfeel is good... not too thin, very carbonated, pleasant.  I don't know how many of these I could drink... the sour notes make it tough to really down it. Plus it's pretty strong despite not tasting too boozy. Overall, I enjoyed this one a good bit, and it was certainly nice to try something new!

My Rating: A-
BeerAdvocate: B

Obviously I liked these two a little more than the masses, so I look forward to trying some more of the series!