Style: Brown Ale
Serving Type: 12-ounce bottle
ABV: 6.5 percent
Malty? Hoppy? Lots of malts with subtle chocolate notes
Reviewed: December 2014
During this time of year, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen baking up batches and batches of cookies to ensure a well-balanced holiday cookie tray. I apply the same strategy to my fridge’s beer selection: I want to have a wide variety of options for picky (or adventurous) guests who stop by.
I added New Belgium’s Frambozen to this year’s chilled selection. I admire brown ales—often overlooked as old school, but a great indicator of a brewer’s abilities—and dig the occasional fruit beer, so I was keen to see how the two would get along in one bottle. Plus, the festive label would look great at holiday parties.
The brew itself is a lovely ruby brown, but I’d recommend drinking it straight from the bottle as the little head you’ll find after pouring it to admire the color will disappear more quickly than you can say “Happy Holidays.” You’ll smell plenty of raspberries immediately, but the taste isn’t overwhelming. Instead, you’ll get lots of fill-your-mouth malt flavors (chocolate and biscuits).
The result is a crowd-pleasing beer. Sour fans will dig the hints of pucker in the finish. Fruit beer lovers will adore the raspberry-syrup smell. Craft beer geeks will appreciate the remix of a classic brown ale. People probably won’t fall madly in love this brew, but they will enjoy it and recommend it. It reminds me of adding a bright scarf on a trusty snowman; it perks up an old favorite.
And with that I’m running out of holiday lingo. Good thing there is another bottle in the fridge to boost my cheer.
Would we buy it again? Like eggnog or candy canes, I often think of fruity beer as a once-a-year-treat. It is something that I enjoy, but don’t add to the regular rotation. The Frambozen is just such a beer, which is convenient because New Belgium offers it as a special release in the winter. Enjoy it annually.