New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado, is known for many things, such as employee ownership and an industry-leading commitment to sustainability. However, its real claim to fame is Fat Tire Amber Ale (read my review), an excellent beer that has experienced a massive rise in popularity and extent of distribution in the last few years.
New Belgium couldn't be more proud of Fat Tire, but it wants the public to know that it's not the only beer that the company brews. In fact, it makes nearly 30 other year-round, seasonal, and special brews. To get the word out about these lesser-known beers, the brewery has developed the Clips of Faith Tour. The inaugural year of the tour kicks off at Olin Park in Madison on Wednesday, June 16, and will feature 40 amateur video segments submitted by fans of New Belgium beer. The films do not necessarily relate to beer in any way and will feature diverse storylines, such as "buddies navigating grizzlies and whales on a paddling trip from Alaska to Seattle" and "an absurdist spaghetti western about a flat tire."
Along with the creativity of its fans, New Belgium will also be showcasing the creativity of its brewers by bringing along its Lips of Faith collection, a series of 12 rare beers that have been created by its brewmasters in order to "keep the brewhouse a playground." The collection includes beers such as Dandelion Ale, Abbey Grand Cru, and even a Dark Heather Saison. Clips of Faith attendees will be able to try 3 oz. samples of these unique New Belgium beers for a dollar each. 12 oz. glasses will also be available for those who find a beer they particularly enjoy.
Besides entertainment and quality beer, attendees will also be given chance to play a game called "Loose Lips": New Belgium brewers carefully combined three different New Belgium beers to make a new beer, and those attendees with a discerning palate are given a chance to guess which beers were used and in what ratios. The person who is closest to correct will be entered in a drawing for a chance to visit New Belgium Brewery and make their own beer from scratch.
Yes, it's marketing (although pretty neat marketing), but also note that the brewery will be donating all of the proceeds from the Madison stop to the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin. New Belgium has a strong history of supporting bicyclists, because the inspiration for the brewery came from a bicycle trip that founder Jeff Lebesch took through Belgium. Along with Clips of Faith, the brewery will connect with the Wisconsin cycling community via events like Tour de Fat, coming to Milwaukee on July 3, and the Urban Assault Ride, an alley-cat race taking place in Madison on September 26.
The Clips of Faith Tour runs from 7-10 p.m. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own food, but should leave the drinks to New Belgium, a task which they can surely handle.