New Belgium Brewing Co. has pretty obvious Belgian influences, from the oft-retold tale of founder Jeff Lebesch’s cruiser-bike tour of the country’s famous brewing villages to New Belgium’s current brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert, who was snatched from Rodenbach in 1996. This year, according to wood cellar manager Lauren Salazar, the connection is going even deeper: the Fort Collins-based brewery will be releasing four beers created in partnership with four different Belgian breweries.
While the names of each beer haven’t yet been locked down, the recipes are finished. Here’s your first look at all four:
Collaboration brewery: Brouwerij Oud Beersel
For 11 years, this cherry lambic was brewed in concert with Frank Boon of Brouwerij Boon in Lembeek, Belgium. This year will be the second that New Belgium’s partnered with Oud Beersel for its production. To make the brew, Oud Beersel owner and Gert Christiaens will ship a batch of his own house-blended cherry lambic across the Atlantic—this will make up 50 percent of the final blend. The final half will consist of New Belgium beers: 25 percent golden lager and 25 percent Felix, the pale sour brew that provides the base for New Belgium’s lighter-hue puckering beers like Eric’s Ale.
Belgian Golden Ale
Collaboration brewery: Brouwerij Hof ten Dormaal
Crafted literally yesterday with this Belgium-based farmstead brewery’s father/son brewing team, Andre and Dries Janssens, this brew is an example, Salazar says, of old world meets new: spelt and malted sunflower seeds add retro charm to the grain bill while Saaz and Mosaic hops spice up the aroma. After fermentation with Hof Ten Dormaal’s house strain, the brew should enter kegs and bottles at 7% ABV.
Flowering Citrus Ale
Collaboration brewery: Brouwerij De Koninck
New Belgium Brewmaster Peter Bouckaert collaborated on this recipe with Hedwig Neven (brewmaster at Duvel) and Dimitri Staelens (Duvel’s quality director). At 7.4% ABV, the beer will be a bright, citrus ale bursting with floral and juicy notes from the addition of real key limes, whole lemons, rose petals and hibiscus. “It’s absolutely beautiful” Salazar says. “It’s a fun circle to complete on our 25th anniversary, as De Koninck was the inspiration behind Fat Tire.”
Spiced Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Collaboration brewer: Anne-Francoise Pypaert of Brasserie d’Orval S.A.
Anne-Francoise Pypaert, brewmaster for lauded Trappist brewery Orval—and the first female Trappist brewer—helped Peter Bouckaert craft the recipe for this special batch. “She’s never had the opportunity to brew a beer from scratch,” Salazar says. “Needless to say, she and Peter were like kids in a candy store.” The result: a 9.5% ABV, dark, strong, dry beer brewed with spruce and grains of paradise aged on American Oak spirals. Pypaert will visit New Belgium for the brew day in July.