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Belgium, Both New and Old


New Belgium may be best known for that session beer juggernaut Fat Tire, but their specialty offerings are a lot more interesting and complex. Peter Bouckaert, their brewmaster, is from Belgium, and since 1991, he has been producing some seriously good ales. Two new bottles from this brewery have hit the Treasure Valley. One is very true to the New Belgium style--the other, a bit of a departure. Another new arrival rounds out the trio. It's a special release from an old-world brewery in a cork-finished, 25-ounce bottle.

New Belgium Hoptober Golden Ale

An alluring mix of ingredients with five different hops (centennial, cascade, sterling, Willamette and glacier) and four different malts (pale, wheat, rye and oat) result in a nice creamy texture with a noticeable hop bite. With definitely more bitterness than you would expect from New Belgium, this ale is both rich and refreshing. Wheat and rye flavors come through along with a nice line of fruity citrus, and all those flavors linger nicely on the finish.

New Belgium Le Fleur Misseur

This is the latest release in the brewery's Lips of Faith specialty batch program. It is definitely a big mouthful of cool Belgian funk with a pronounced brett profile. Lots of clove and honey-laced pineapple aromas come through on the nose. Those aromas carry over to the palate along with a nice, drying hit of bitter hops. Rose hip and spruce come through on the smooth and light, almost delicate, finish.

La Trappe Isid'or

While New Belgium is pushing the two-decade mark, this trappist brewery is celebrating 125 years with the release of this special ale. Named for Brother Isidorus, the first brewer of La Trappe, it is smooth, lightly sweet and immensely appealing. Light spice and vanilla complement the orange and lemon aromas. A medley of fruit flavors fill the mouth, highlighted by sweet cherry, dark berry, apple and pear, that's backed by caramel and citrus zest. This is a nicely balanced ale that is a fitting anniversary tribute. :