Food & Petrol Below the Mason-Dixon Line: New Belgium Brewing
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2018
In no particular order.
F & P goes to New Belgium Brewing, Asheville, NC
Beer IS food, now this qualifies it to be part of my ramblings. Could be fuel too now that i consider it.
Nevertheless, here I am in the western North Carolina mountains and gee, think Maine has breweries & good food? This place is like home with bigger mountains, or at least more but no ocean. So how is it similar? Great people, diverse passionate breweries and food of all kinds. Distillers, motorbikes, characters a plenty.
My brief blurb here comes to you courtesy of who we shall call Ms. MB who arranged an in-depth tour of NB. The usual email intros had me completely unprepared for my experience that I had. Yeah yeah, a 40 minute “nice stainless, thanks for the brew and get me an Uber back to my room”. Not so by a longshot. First, rolling up to what is essentially a beer dreamland production facility. World class and HUGE! Beautiful and so on. Our Maine breweries by and large are hands on, entrepreneur gigs. Yes, Gearys, my pal Kai at Sebago and a few others have spiffy fairly large facilities. This joint is Willy Wonka with a side of NASA, with soul no less.
Yes Gear is one thing, people another. Smiling faces, howdy y’alls all around as I wait for my VIPer. That is the NB term for the folks that do VIP tours. Yep, me. Go figure (only a matter of time till i am found out and exposed as this fraud). In spite of my feeling of imposterness, let me intro to all you 90 weight gear oil swilling comrades to Adam, one of the posse of VIPers. Here is someone that would fit in nicely at Cafe Miranda, Rockland, Portland, the World or Mars. Grand spirit, passionate, glowing with integrity, ready to share it all. Ok, we both were prepared to do the 40 minute wham bam thank you ma’am. Not so. 2 hours later as we had a “Life The Universe And Everything” download, we did have brew! A set of all sorts of, well, beer. My tastes of late have gravitated to what I call “Beer beer”. No quadruple IPA with stratospheric ABV that 2 ounces would inebriate an elephant, none of that Chocolate-clove-cardamom infused LOCAL sod filtered, blueberry nitro stout! I have been imbibing Beer to eat a meal with and enjoy a few. So what did I ask and dear Adam do? I wanted all the stuff I knew nothing about and unique or special to them. Yes, these “Johnny come latelys” eh? Nope. 26 years in the business this NB. Well seasoned, solid Miranda comrades. Started as a hobby and, well go to the Facebook page or website and find out!
100% employee owned, sold nationwide (yes Cafe Miranda had Fat Tire upon introduction to Maine, thanks to Chef Andrew) and available at Hanny’s amongst other places.
Now as our convo swirled and bopped, I tasted an amazing array of non beerish beers.
We all saw at the dawn of the craft beer movement what I call “Hippie Beers”. Kinda like “Hippy Doorstop-horse-food breads” from the 80’s. Dense, crude, trying too hard. That is to say not a light hand in style. Not here. Man, these folks are classically oriented and unencumbered by it at the same time. Delicate, assertive. Just what you want in love, friends, food and beer. Comrades in arms these.
This is not a review or an in depth description of the many and differing and may I say unique styles? BTW, I have not the chops to do so. Feeder barrels, Aqua Fresca like bevs, beer blends (now THAT is cool) sour browns, La Folie, love it. So get to their Liquid Center (tasting room), buy stuff and quaff.
From VIPers Adam, Laura & krue, Brewer Carlos who indulged my dumb questions about the NASA like control room Q: software, how the F do you tweak within such a system (redo code, it’s built TO be tweaked), and really everyone I met or interacted with was real. No posers. Not to say that this is a dream world of dillitants. This is business on a macroscale and done well. As an aside the website has a piece by co founder Kim “In pursuit of great beer, not quarterly earnings” OMFG, the long money? Yep. For real.
Ok, We have a short (?) F & P with an admonition for you all to check this out. NON DISCLAIMER: I wrote this days later so saying I was, ah, delusional & affected by brewskies is inaccurate.
Thanks to Adam who you will see at CM, his other, Laura, Ms. M and as always, team Miranda for the opportunity to share Food & Petrol with y’all. Guy.
“When in doubt, wind it out” xo, Chef K
PS. Petrol was an Uber… Sorry