Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Belgium PIPA tasting and PW Pizza

Since I am on the Vin de Set mailing list, I automatically got invited to a New Belgium beer tasting at PW Pizza, which is owned by the same people and is on the main floor of the same building. The whole reason for the event was thanks to a St. Louisian named Pamela who won the “Clips of Faith” contest hosted by New Belgium. She was able to name the three New Belgium beers that made up a concoction that was served that night. She got the percentages down exact and then was selected in the national contest for an all-expenses paid trip to the New Belgium brewery in Ft. Collins, CO. In the end, they named an IPA after her, which we got to try that evening.

I thought it was going to be an all-IPA tasting and initially I initially wasn’t interested in going, but a friend who is a huge beer fan talked me into it. I am so glad she did! (Although I would have preferred a proper cheese paired with each of course!)

First we got to try the Hoptober Golden Ale, which is made up of four different types of hops: cascade (fruity flavor), centennial (grassy flavor), glacier, and sterling. This was the lightest of the bunch so think of a wheat beer with extra hoppy flavor.

Next up was the Ranger IPA, which just about everyone in the room had before. It’s often called an American IPA because again, this beer uses all American hops (3 types), but the name actually comes from the “Beer Rangers” that go out into the field and host beer tastings, spreading the word (and beer) of New Belgium. That would probably have to be the ultimate job, no?

Our “Beer Ranger” explained that the Ranger IPA has 6 ½% alcohol and 70 IBU’s or International Bitter Units. And it was definitely bitter!

Pamela’s IPA came next and Pam herself got to present her story of how she won the contest. Her secret? Drinking a lot of New Belgium beer! Hehehehe Her IPA was a lot more to my liking, a “girl’s IPA” as she called it. With 6.3% alcohol, it only had 60 IBU’s and was a lot smoother to drink.

While that was my favorite of the hoppy beers, my favorite of the whole night was the heaviest, believe it or not. I really thought for sure I would need a knife and fork to get through the last tasting, the Super Cru. Boy what a great flavor and not too bitter at all. Unfortunately, the class was very rowdy at this point and we had all had plenty of beer so I don’t know what goes into a Super Cru other than Fat Tire as its base. I thought it was funny that it only comes in tall bottles as well and rang in at 10% alcohol. One bottle and you’re good to go!

And then at the very end...we got to keep the New Belgium glass!!

As soon as the event ending, I hurried outside to put my name on the PW Pizza waiting list because everyone kept telling me how good the honey wheat crust was for their pizzas. Not like anyone has to twist my arm to try pizza! PW Pizza also has a great selection of beers and I went with a Leffe Blond. The light beer went well with our black olive and mushroom pizza (best pizza eva!), of course with the honey wheat crust. The pizza was so light and NOT greasy…the veggies tasted fresh and were drowning in the mozzarella cheese. So wonderful! I was also happy to be sharing a 12 inch (very reasonably priced) because I probably would have eaten the entire pizza myself.

I am actually hoping to go back there again sometime because I did not look too closely at the rest of the menu and I am curious about more of what they have there.
Be sure to note that the 2012 Centennial Beer Festival Beer Dinner will be on January 27th!!

Resources:

Vin de Set = http://www.vindeset.com/

PW Pizza = http://pwpizza.com/

New Belgium = http://www.newbelgium.com

Leffe Blond = http://www.leffe.com/en/beer/leffe-blond