New Belgium Brewing hosts an annual Lost in the Woods Sour Soiree in Fort Collins but this year they held a satellite event in Cleveland. The venue was a perfect fit; Rustbelt Reclamation uses reclaimed wood sources and upcycled to create impressive furniture, art and more. We entered through a giant conveyor style elevator and walked into one of the coolest spaces I have seen in a while. The setting was a unique mix of part office, part industrial shop. It had a studio feel that admittedly I would gladly move into tomorrow; all the while we were surrounded by industrial pieces and parts for their incredible work.
Right off the bat I loved the atmosphere but we were here for a reason and it was time to try some sour beers. Admittedly, I was a little nervous about sour beers. I don’t tend to love IPAs or brown ales and stay pretty true to my pilsners and hefferveisens- typical chick, I know. I never veer too far from Snapshot when I am enjoying New Belgium beers; I like wheat brews, so sour beers made me a tad nervous. I thought this event should be fun but it is Saturday night after all and I paid for an Uber, so I wanted to enjoy the beverages too.
I decided to dive right in with Transatlantique Kriek, wood-aged sour cherry ale. I reluctantly took a swig expecting to have a mouth full of beer and sour patch kids. Turns out, stepping outside of your comfort zone is a good thing; this first foray into sour beers was delicious. The beer highlighted just the right balance of beer flavor with sweet and tart cherry flavors. Clearly, I am not a beer connoisseur and certainly would never claim to be, but hey, I liked it and that is all that matters.
Now that I was feeling a little ambitious I tackled La Folie, award-winning sour brown ale. I was a little more anxious about this one since brown ales tend to not be my favorite. Again, New Belgium shocked my taste buds in a delicious way. After loving the nutty and sour notes in this beer I was feeling really full of myself and decided to take on their IPA, Citradelic, which was also available at the event. This was extremely adventurous for me since I steer clear of all IPAs. I typically think that IPAs are heavy with an aggressive after-taste, not my type of drink, again not a beer connoisseur. The tangerine flavor in the IPA cut the typical notes I don’t like and it had a really light, refreshing flavor. It would be perfect this summer while day-drinking.
Every beer I tried, that I have always convinced myself I hated, ended up being even better than the last. The event space and beer were enough on their own but New Belgium Brewing took it one step further and topped the event off with amazing music. They did not have any of the typical pamphlet of bands that play every Cleveland event. Instead David Wong performed everything from Bastille to Taylor Swift on his violin as I stared on at him (creepily) in awe of how truly fun and amazing violin music can be. The entire event was flawless and the ticket proceeds benefited Minds Matter Cleveland. Next time I am out in Cleveland I will have to hunt down some of New Belgium Brewing’s sours or maybe even an IPA. I might just have “found myself in the forest of beer.”