Monday, 16 April 2012

New Belgium Dig Pale Ale & Shift Pale Lager


Seeing as I'm on holiday in the States I thought I'd take the opportunity to review a beer that I won't be able to get a hold of in the UK and after several pints, I had decided on New Belgium's excellent spring seasonal pale ale 'Dig' as it's been my most quaffed beer on this trip. However when I was lucky enough to run into one of New Belgium's famed Beer Rangers whilst out for a meal and was presented with a free can of their new lager 'Shift' I was equally as impressed, especially as being an ale-head it probably would not have caught my eye. I was so pleasantly surprised by Shift that it would be rude not to review this beer as well, especially as it's only just been released alongside an impressive marketing campaign and no doubt this lager will, well, shift lots of units this summer and beyond.

Dig in, for victory
I first encountered New Belgium almost two years ago when I first visited Fort Collins, Colorado and before I became the craft beer obsessive I am today. I consumed pint after pint of their Fat Tire ale which is now a staple across the 28 states within which it is sold. Fat Tire, along with their range of core beers such as 1554 black lager and Sunshine Wheat no longer appeals to my palate which generally asks a little more of their beers these days but their more experimental brews such as Belgo Belgian IPA and their awesome autumn seasonal Hoptober always leave me begging for more. I have contacted them asking if they will ever distribute to the UK but sadly it doesn't look that this is likely to happen anytime soon however if any fellow Brits reading this ever visit the States be sure to try some of their beers. If you ever find yourself in Colorado be sure to pay a visit to 'The Mothership' which is the New Belgium nick name for their Brewery and Tap room, it's a beautiful piece of architecture and the best brewery tour I've ever been on (you get to go down a slide!) but make sure you book online in advance as tours fill up fast.

Having visited Fort Collins on a few occasions now I've had plenty of time to speak to locals about their opinions on the local breweries and although there is a huge, steaming pile of love for New Belgium not everyone considers them a 'craft' brewer any more and the word 'macro' was bounced around on more than one occasion. You see, New Belgium produce one heck of a lot of beer, they are the largest independent brewery in Colorado and the third largest in the States (behind Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada respectively.) Their beer is everywhere so a few hardcore beer geeks I communed with have disowned them but their loss is everyone else's gain as New Belgium produce some seriously kick-ass beers.

Speaking of which, on with the review starting with Dig, a new spring seasonal pale ale. Dig is a pretty recent addition to the New Belgium lineup following a revamp of some of their seasonal beers, it's more experimental than some of their core range and features an intriguing combination of Target, Sorachi Ace, Nelson Sauvin, Centennial and Cascade hops which gives this pale ale a really unique character. I have a bit of a love hate relationship with Sorachi Ace hops, although many beer fans covet the strong herbal aromas Sorachi Ace produces I can find it a little medicinal tasting however when used well (such as in the excellent Thornbridge Bracia) it can really open up the flavour of a beer. The good news is that I only have big, big love for Nelson Sauvin and C-hops so how will these five unique tasting hop varieties taste together? Dig pours with a deep golden hue and produces a small blonde head that lingers long enough to leave a nice lace around the glass as you take a swig. On the nose the first and most dominant aroma that I get is of dry white wine, no doubt due to the Nelson Sauvin plus a little bit of lemon peel and dried herbs. Despite these five hops being so different in character Dig combines them all in one glorious whole, lemon and grapefruit notes mingle with grape and white wine flavours with that herbal edge preventing the malts from being overly sweet. The finish is dry and very, very moreish, it's an excellent beer and very easy to drink, a perfectly light and yet flavorsome beer for the spring months.

You'll want several...
Now it's time to 'shift' the focus of this review (HAH!) to the brand new pale lager from New Belgium. These guys already produce a very refreshing pilsner called Blue Paddle, it's a great interpretation on the classic Czech style but not to my tastes. Shift is closer to the Helles style of lager and not a million miles away in terms of flavour from the excellent USA Hells from Camden Town Brewery which I also tried recently and thoroughly enjoyed. As I said earlier I probably wouldn't have ordered this beer based on the fact that it's a lager alone but when the offer of a free can (Shift is only available in 16oz cans, a clever marketing move in my opinion) came about I could hardly refuse. The first thing that struck me about Shift is how prominent the aroma of lavender and elderflower is when you pour it from the can, it really slaps you in the face and indicates that this lager is seriously hopped. It is a true US interpretation of a European style, it pours the colour of pale straw with a very thin head and is very heavily carbonated as is typical of a lager but as well as being incredibly refreshing it hits you with a barrage of lemon, lime and elderflower and practically grabs you by the collar and demands you take another sip after you have swallowed your first. It is a truly wonderful lager, the second lager I've had on this trip that has really impressed me and proof that it's a style that craft brewers will make their own this year.

I think Shift will sell exceptionally well, not only because of a truly inspired marketing campaign but the superb branding and it will go a long was towards further increasing the market share that craft beer has in the United States. However as someone that can still remember when they found beers like this a little too hop forward I don't think it will make too many new beer geeks, on the contrary I think this is a lager that beer geeks like myself won't be ashamed to admit their love for because it's a stunner of a brew.

If, like me, you'd like to see New Belgium beers available in the UK, please harass them by clicking here to visit the contact us page so you can send them your request.

39 comments:

  1. Great review, thanks! I do hope we distribute to the UK soon, but there are a few places state-side that will be seeing it first. Glad you had a good time at the brewery and thanks for drinking our beers.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Obscenely jealous Matt. Keep it up ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have to fly home tomorrow though, I may forgo packing my clothes and fill my suitcase with beer instead.

      Delete
  3. Everest Base Camp Trekking often touted as one of the most beautiful of trekking trips in the whole world and rightly it is. Located at the lap of world's highest peak, Everest Base Camp (EBC) is rewarded as the best trip Nepal has to offer. Since 1920, Mt Everest has captivated intrepid men and women. There were some exploits of legends like Sir Edmund Hillary, George Mallory and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa to put the mighty mountains on the map. Thousands of adventurers followed them making huge sacrifices. EBC Trek is designed to fulfill the dream of many people to experience the historic route to the base of world's highest peak. Since the beginning, Everest Base Camp Route has gained massive popularity and a lot of appreciation. The highlights of Everest Base Camp Trekking are the stunning views of Mount Everest, legendary Sherpa culture, wonderful Namche Bazaar, Tengboche Monastery, the best viewpoint of Kalapatthar, and beautiful Chhukung valley among many others. We gradually ascend through the wonderful Sherpa villages enjoying the magnificent Himalayan scenery, wildlife and visit a number of Buddhist Monasteries. EBC Trek culminates with a fine opportunity to trek to both EBC and nearby peak of Kalapatthar (5545m) for spectacular views of the Everest. Savoring the high mountain views with the unique and life defining journey, EBC trip can be combined with Gokyo Chola Pass Trek, or Everest Three Passes packages as well, making the journey bit more challenging and rewarding too. Encounters Nepal has carefully devised an itinerary with a number of rest days that offers an exceptional way to acclimatize safely. Having had hit the Himalayan Trails since so long, we have learned never to rush a trek to altitude in the Himalaya. Taking an extra few days makes all the difference to really being able to enjoy the trek and trekking in Nepal.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Welcome to Base Camp Trekking Tour! Hundred percent pure lands of highest Himalaya's adventures
    Trekking in Nepal is one of the best adventure government registered company operating all adventure holidays trip to world most popular mountains Everest Base Camp Treks, Annapurna Base Camp Treks, Langtang Treks, Manaslu Treks, as well Upper mustang trek, Ganesh Himal Treks, Langtang Ganja La Pass Treks and all popular sightseeing tour of Ancients Kathmandu Valley and relaxing Chitwan Lumbini Tour on your desirable local budget for national and international travelers to Nepal.
    Nepal Base Camp Treks (P) Ltd.(www.basecamptrekkingtour.com) may be your next Trekking and Trekking Company in Nepal for any Trekking Agency in Nepal to highlander Himalayas Everest base camp, best mountain sceneries Annapurna Base Camp, recently promoting Manaslu Circuit Trek, several High passes Thorong La Annapurna Circuit,Gokyo Lake Chola Pass,Gokyo Lake Renjo La Pass, Chhukung Kongma La Pass, Rolwaling Tashilapchha Pass, Gosaikund Lake Pass, Kathmandu Valley Cultural trek and tour,Dhulekhel Namoduddha, Nagarkot trek, Bungmati Tour, Chiwan Chepang Hill Trek, Bandipur Tour,Pokhara Valley trekking tour,Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek, Annpurna Ghandruk Trek, Kanchanjanga north to south Pass,Langtang Ganja La Pass, depending small group travelers to joining group travelers on your desired budget to standard budget.
    Nepal Base Camp Treks offers you very popular non tourist destinations as remote regions of manaslu Tsum Valley Trek, Nar-Phu Valley Trek, Tamang Heritage Trail, Ghale Gaun Trek, Kanchanjanga Base Camp Trek, Rolwaling Camping Trek, Upper Mustang Cultural Trek, Lower Dolpo and Upper Dolpo Trek on very reasonable social trek in non touristic destination to better understand your holidays with our professional team
    Our team in Nepal Base Camp Treks is very profession of peak climbing experiences of most popular Island Peak, Lobuje Peak, Mera Peak, Phakchhermo Peak in Everest Region and Pisang Peak, Kanguru Peak, Chulu Peak in Annapurna Circuit Region and Tent Peak in Annapurna Base Camp.
    We guaranteed you best services and trouble less during your lifetime holidays journey with our professional mountain local team and wish you have a nice journey and see you soon in Nepal here to dream your adventure awaits you, as I remain
    Yours sincerely
    Sappa Lama (Sagar) and team
    info@basecamptrekkingtour.com
    www.basecamptrekkingtour.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Encountersnepal.com is professional and Lengal Trekking Company in Nepal
    and Base Located Trekking Agency,
    and Most top Package is Trekking in Nepal
    With fair deal.

    ReplyDelete

  6. Encountersnepal.com Daily Departure as Short Packages Tour as
    Helicopter tour in Nepal,
    kathmandu Day Tour and
    Chitwan Jungle Safari in Nepal

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. A One Nepal Trek Pvt. Ltd. (your Trekking and Tour consultant since many years ago) is an ecologically perceptive Trekking Agency in Nepal specializing in giving you nepal, tibet , bhutan, the manner you want to peer it , also owned & managed by means of nearby experts Nepal Adventure Activities organization advocated through lonely planet Nepal journey guide e-book, lonely planet hiking in Nepal Himalaya ebook & trip marketing consultant. A One Nepal Trek Pvt. Ltd. & day trip is an Trekking Agency in Nepal, established with the aid of a crew of specialists worried tourism considering a long time for committed provide the provider a home away from domestic. a group of hospitable and expert geared up to welcome and escort you through recreational activities inclusive of trekking in Nepal, Nepal tour package, nepal journey bundle excursions, nepal trekking tour, Nepal Adventure in Himalaya, nepal top hiking, nepal air ticketing, nepal river rafting, nepal jungle safari, nepal sightseeing tour, excursion in nepal, kathmandu valley sightseeing, Nepal resort reservation, tibet tour, tibet trekking, bhutan tour, bhutan trekking.
    Local Trekking Company in Nepal established by Yam Bahadur Pant has over 20 years and reasonable cost and Custom Itinerary to All Valuable clients in Nepal. A One Nepal offer many type of Activities as Annapurna base camp, Everest Base Camp, Ghorepani Poon Hill, Upper Mustang, manaslu Circuit, Langtang Valley, Island Peak, Mera Peak and Many Others Activities in Nepal.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The Shiva excursion Pvt Ltd is local base Trekking Agency in Nepal as Under Nepal government license holder tourism board. Over 15 years Experience Nepal Trekking, Tour and Peak Climbing leading by tour leader Arjun Nepal. Over 70% Past client repeat and fully satisfied with our services in Nepal. The list of Best trekking company in Nepal as refer by many client those who take’s ours services and high quality hospitalities in Nepal.
    Most of Trekking Companies are same as services but selected which is best and more Nepal Trekking Company Reviews and make happy valuable customer trekking in Nepal. Therefore search right Nepal Trekking Agency. Because many Trekking Agencies are not best quality and just make money never looking furthers services with any kind of activities in Nepal. The Shiva Excursion is high recommend Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Base Camp, Upper Mustang, Manaslu Circuit and Many Others Trekking routes in Nepal.
    So coming this year 2017 heading to some others Trekking Peak as Island Peak Climbing, Mera Peak Climbing, Lobuche Peak Climbing, Chulu West and Chulu East Peak Climbing in Nepal, Many type of Activities normal hiking, moderate trekking, high pass and hard adventures Peak Climbing in Nepal. Nepal is beautiful little high mountain and latest trekking trail and Others Package Tour, Kathmandu Valley, Nagarkot dhulikhel tour, Kathmandu to Chitwan, lumbini pokhara tour and Bandipur Tour in Nepal.
    Highly promoted and local top Trekking agency as Shiva Excursion is most popular trekking Company in Nepal. Mainly offers packages trip and adventures activities choice of the valuable client design by custom Itinerary and reasonable cost deal to Shiva Excursion with Excellent Client Reviews Nepal Trekking Companies.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Annapurna Base Camp Trek is one in every one of the big ranges that expand from Vara-Shikar (Annapurna Fang) towards Manaslu and Lamjung range that is roughly 60-70 kilometer of lateral distance. which has one peak over eight,000 meters, 13 peaks over seven,000 meters, and sixteen additional over half dozen,000 meters. The landscape of the region provides breathtaking sceneries. the first morning views of the mountains square measure majestic. The sunrise views from on the trail of the trek square measure breathtaking. The treks mix such a large amount of totally different landscapes and convey you, therefore, getting ready to the bottom of seven,000 and 8,000-meter peaks.Annapurna Base Camp trekking designed by Nepal Base Camp Treks is one in every of the foremost loved trekking destinations. throughout the trek except witnessing made cultural diversity, you'll additionally withstand remote farms still as villages occupied by Gurung ethnic tribes WHO square measure popularly celebrated everywhere the planet for his or her bravery. you'll be able to expertise the culture, previous traditions, and spiritual values of grunge individuals. To begin ten days Annapurna Base Camp, we are going to drive to Nayapul from Pokhara and walk right along the trail and keep on trekking downhill following a watercourse to Birethanti. Also, we are going to climb to Jhinu danda wherever we will get pleasure from tumbling within the natural spring. On the thanks to Dovan, we are going to be rewarded by the outstanding views of Mt. Machhapuchhre, Annapurna South, and Huinchuli. Plus, we are going to pass Chomrong, an oversized Gurung village. we are going to additionally pass the tree-plant full of bamboo and bush trees beside the Modi watercourse and reach Donovan. Then we are going to walk for six hours to urge to Annapurna Base Camp lies at the elevation of four,095m via Machhapuchhre base camp that fantastically assaults the northern aspect of the very giant Mt. Machhapuchhre. Walking for around four hours we are going to reach Annapurna Base Camp that enthralls the North American nation with the putting views of the world’s tenth highest Annapurna I ( eight,091 m), Mt. Machhapuchhre Annapurna South, Huinchuli and additional. Trekking Guide Team offers a wonderful probability to travel for Annapurna Base Camp that is one in every of the foremost picturesque and exciting set within the heart of the nice Mt. Annapurna. we are going to cause you to feel the nice distinction if you choose to travel with North American nation since our good staffs and hospitable porters will certainly cause you to trek safe, comfy and unforgettable.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Everest Base Camp Trek is one of those journeys that create your vacation dreams return true. Hiking on the legendary foothills just under the mighty Mount Everest 8848m with exciting views of the master peaks will solely be found within the Everest Region. This celebrated trek is thought worldwide for its trailblazing routes & the landscapes speak to your senses. On this trip you furthermore Mera peak out at the celebrated Kala Patthar (5,600m/18,373ft) read purpose for a few grand direct views of the very best mountain in the world. Everest Base CampTrek additionally includes different celebrated eight thousand peaks like Mt mountain peak (8,516m /27,940ft), Makalu (8,485m /27,838 ft) Cho-Oyu (8,201m /26,906ft). The culture of this specific space is of nice notebook stuff & interacting with the native of us puts a lot of zest into your venturesome journey as you walk through the Khumbu region of the Asian country. This legendary path could be a psychological thriller for top & wild hikers World Health Organization want the tread the methods wherever legends walked before on their thanks to conquering mountain peak, some did some didn’t however the Everest Base Camp Trek path keeps those legends alive for many trekkers World Health Organization head to the present region. The trip begins with a stirring mountain flight to Lukla, one among the world’s highest mountains; & as shortly as you set down at that altitude, the remainder is history. Your hike takes you to the favored village city of Namche, referred to as the ‘gateway to the Khumbu’’ & from there on you rehearse quiet monasteries with the acknowledge Sherpa of us World Health Organization inhabit this region & their culture is price noting. On the way, we have a tendency to visit the Sagarmatha parkland, home to some rare fauna & flora, this additionally wherever we have a tendency to adapt for a few time. We head deep into the Khumbu hiking into the forest of shrub, birch trees & pine, with colorful villages wherever we have a tendency to square measure sincerely welcome by the Sherpa community. we have a tendency to square measure pleasantly stunned to return across a hospital-based mostly in Khunde and health post at Pheriche that shows this region not solely cares for the locals however also are able to look out of trekkers World Health Organization have altitude issues. Doctors square measure invariably at the post for aid treatment. The Everest Base Camp Trek is arduous however varied teahouses square measure found on the paths providing smart grubbed to shelter from the generally harsh climate. Our trek culminates at base camp so we have a tendency to create a path for Namche as we have a tendency to hike back to Lukla to rendezvous for our flight to Katmandu. we have a tendency to add an additional contingency day for inclement weather which will delay flights. It’s recommended to be pretty acceptable to undertake this journey; you only want some smart hiking exercise before doing this trip. And Nepal Base Camp Treks can do the remainder to allow you AN action-packed odyssey of a period.

    ReplyDelete