Beer Review 0038: New Belgium Hoptober
Hoptober is a seasonal beer released in the months of August-October by New Belgium Brewing, located in Fort Collins, Colorado. This is the first time I have featured a New Belgium beer on this website, so a bit of history about the company: In 1989, a young man named Jeff Lebesch biked through Europe looking for good beer. He left inspired and went back home to Fort Collins, where he brewed two beers in his basement, a brown dubbel called Abbey and an amber ale named Fat Tire, after the bicycle he rode in Europe (which had fat tires).
In 1991, the basement brewery went commercial, and Jeff made his wife, Kim, the CEO.
Before they sold beer, they took a hike in the Rocky Mountain National Park and made a list of core values on a piece of paper. They’re quite worth reading; point your browser here to check them out.
And: When you’ve been employed one full year at New Belgium, you are awarded an ownership stake in the company. How cool is that?! (They’re also quite environmentally conscience, which this website is glad to hear. This is the first brewery to ever be totally powered by wind.)
The beer we’re looking at today is called Hoptober and is one of two seasonals on offer from New Belgium. Described as a “cornucopia of the earth,” Hoptober is made with five different hops and four types of malts. The drink is an American blonde ale designed to be medium-body with a “bonfire of citrus notes and a bold finale.”
Transfer from bottle to glass produced golden yellow liquid with a small stark white head rocky in texture and long lasting. The beer was quite bright and sparkling, with bubbles rising to the surface like your favorite clear soda. There were no particles or sediment to cloud the beverage and the lacing was outstanding; walls of sticky lace lined my glass as I drank. It was so thick on some parts of the glass that I couldn’t see through it!
The aromatics were heavy on hops, as one might expect with the name of ‘Hoptober.’ The hops were mostly citrus, specifically grapefruit and orange. There’s a bit of pine in there and a small suggestion of grain and caramel malt far in the background. The hops were exceptionally fresh smelling; overall, the aroma was nice but nothing too special.
On the tongue, Hoptober started off with a grain taste quickly followed by bitter hops consisting of grapefruit and pine, with a little orange and orange rind to boot. This gave way to a unique finish that was oily and featured a heavy, perfume-quality pear note. The fruits were very nice and the mouthfeel was slick, which undoubtedly contributed to the oily finish.
I found Hoptober to be a standout for a fall seasonal, and with the surprise finish, this is a memorable beer that was very tasty compared to the usual fare released this time of year.
New Belgium Hoptober, 89 points. Price: $8.99 US for six pack.