First off… Let me just say that New Belgium does not scare me! These guys are a current “golden boys” of the high end beer drinker markets… You know… Those beer drinkers who are graduating from the Big 3 (Not Ford, GM, Chrysler) and working their way up to decent beers. Fat Tire seems to be the beer of choice for those making the first step to an aroused palette. A beer, that to me, (Gasp) seems a bit overrated.
So, knowing the legions of disciples fall all over what these guys do… I risk pissing off some of you!
Secondly… Labeling info… NONE! I found this bottle on the shelf at Friar Tuck in Peoria during an October visit. It said Oak aged ale brewed with Peaches. Other than the name “Eric” in it… I had NO idea what “Lips of Faith” was about. Oh, and Eric seemed like s a fine name for a beer, so I bought it! Date brewed??? Once again. NO idea! These things are helpful… Especially after researching what this beer is.
I just read that this is part of a Belgium beer series that New Belgium is doing. Which is ironic… Because I never really thought of any of their beers I have sampled as anywhere near a Belgium style. We are in Illinois… And they are still fairly new here. So, selection has been limited. We, The Beer Report, have a particular soft spot for sour ales… Especially the European varieties. It wasn’t till we were at the Destihl Sour dinner a few weeks ago that I became convinced than an American brewer could pull off this style! Seriously, American Brewers always seem to come up short somewhere.
How did New Belgium fare?
Pretty well. The wood barrels show up more in the nose of the beer than the flavors. Arguable that scent and taste on a sour are the same thing. But I never really tasted it on the tongue. The fruit was there… But, the fruit to me is indistinguishable from any other fruit flavors. We brewed a cherry sour once, and I swear that “bret” and fruit juice always have the same signatures.
The beer is light and refreshing… Just as I would hope from this style. Its complex, yet crisp and satisfying. I did not get much carbonation after pouring. The head receded quickly… Leaving me a beer that was great to enjoy as it warmed up. Like most in this style… You can almost drink this at room temperature and find more scents and flavors popping out of it.
I would say this is a very solid beer, my soft spot leaning in favor of the American brewers attempting these beer styles. You can do a lot worse. Particularly when you have no idea how long some imports have sat, or had their bottles stored improperly.
That said, New Belgium could do a few things to enhance our experience out here. Labeling dates and cellaring info?
4 out of 5 IBU’s from Groucho
Nice work Eric Salazar and New Belgium!