That's your first clue that this place differs from the state's big corporate brewers (Coors and Anheuser-Busch, which has a local brewery). "There's always been a perception of us as having an easygoing, hippie vibe," says Bryan Simpson, New Belgium's media relations director. "But there's also a lot of emphasis on excellence."
It's paying off: While investing heavily in cutting-edge green technology, New Belgium has become one of the fastest-growing craft brewers in the United States, and its beers, modeled after the complex, free-spirited ales of Belgium, have won multiple awards ― and inspired our hearty recipes.
INFO: New Belgium Brewing (888/622-4044) gives free brewery tours and tastings Mon-Sat.
How beer is made
1. MASHING Ground-up malted grain (usually barley) is mixed with warm water to make a porridgelike mash.
2. LAUTERING The mash is strained to produce a sweet liquid, the wort.
3. BREWING The wort boils with hops (aromatic, bitter flowers), which balance the sweetness and add flavor.
4. FERMENTATION Yeast starts feeding on the wort's barley sugar, turning it into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
5. SECONDARY FERMENTATION/AGING The yeast keeps fermenting, at the top or the bottom of the vat. Warmer top-fermenting makes rich, fruity ales; cooler bottom-fermenting creates crisp, clean lagers.
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