In the midst of catching up on episodes of Attack of the Show, I decided to crack this open. Might it be “Attack of the Super Cru” instead?
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
Brewery: New Belgium Brewing (newbelgium.com)
Package: 22oz bomber into pint glass
New Belgium’s description: “Our 20th Anniversary! Let’s roll a bunch of New Belgium together and put it in a bottle. Start with the backbone of Fat Tire, but double the malt and hops; Add in crisp Asian Pears, a very Belgian thing to do; and bring it to life with a Saison yeast. It’s New Belgium Super Cru from us to you!”
Appearance: Pours dark copper in color and mostly transparent in nature, similar to Fat Tire, with a thin, slightly off-white head that hung around for a few moments before nearly dissipating. Trace amounts of lace throughout drinking.
Aroma: A strong sweetness. Some notes of spicy clove and bananas as you might expect from a beer brewed with Saison yeast.
Taste: Fruit and more sweetness up front. Maybe a little bit too sweet for my taste. Midway through, the spicy yeast pleasantly reared its head again. In came tartness, no doubt from the added Asian pear juice. Some acidic flavor arrived next before finishing warm and fairly boozy. Only 10% ABV? I could have sworn it to be much more.
Mouthfeel: Medium…ish mouthfeel. Carbonation was in the soft to moderate range.
Overall: The smells and flavors from the first pour and sip to subsequent drinks as the Super Cru warmed seemed to wander; Fruity and overly sweet. Straight up farmhouse. Now sour? Wait, did I just take a drink of New Belgium Super Cru or Trippel? Things were muddy from the get-go and the beer suffered on my palate in the end. Not a huge fan, but certainly a unique brew that I enjoyed getting to know nonetheless.
Now, I wanted to put a few extra notes in my reviews for others similar to myself who are often equally fascinated with how beers taste as they are the bottle the beer arrived in, label design, bottle cap, and/or overall packaging. Similar to the talking heads who cover sports and athletes, I believe beer also often has immeasurable, often arbitrary, and completely random aspects to it that may, or may not be, true or even relevant. For example, in baseball, one might say “That shortstop can’t hit above .200, but boy he sure is scrappy! What a gamer!” Thus was born…
Completely subjective intangible: This particular review’s scale is going to be a standard 0 to 10, mainly because that is how I feel about New Belgium’s brands. That is to say, many of them are fairly standard.
I’m giving Super Cru an 8 for the awesomely stylized bicycle on the bottle. (See what I did there? On its side, bicycle tires.) You might, correctly, think out loud that it’s the same bike logo on their standard bottle caps. (Pictured at right.) It is! The difference is that when you compare that logo to the “portrait” or “painting” on a regular label of Fat Tire, which is the same style on many of their other brands, the Super Cru bottle is distinctly better! Even the simplicity of their Explorer series works for me. Step up your label game, New Belgium.