Beer Wednesday: Vrienden by New Belgium and Allagash

New Belgium Brewing has a line of beers called "Lips of Faith" which involves a variety of creative beer styles that have a funky or sour element. They are often brewed with brettanomyces, a type of yeast that results in "wild ales" - beers like Flanders red ales that have a sour flavor, for example, or fruit-beer lambics. Lips of Faith usually tames the wild side of the funk and will balance it with other interesting flavors. That is what they've done with their new beer Vrienden, which is a collaboration with Allagash.

First of all, you know how I love beer collaborations. To me they are kind of like song covers in music - at their best, they take the traits of two things you know and love, and combine them into something new and awesome which builds on your familiarity with the constituent parts.

Vrienden (which apparently means "friends" in Flemish) succeeds in this. It has the yeasty, flavorful quality of Allagash's White Ale, and the rich, slightly tart flavor from Lips of Faith's efforts. New Belgium describes it as "a beer brewed with hibiscus and endive," which doesn't sound very appealing on paper. However, I completely agree with Josh Bernstein's review on Slash Food that this seemingly awkward mix of sour / vegetables / flowers is very well balanced, crisp, and delicious. I found myself sipping it constantly, and the flavors stayed interesting throughout.

I highly recommend it if you like lighter styles that still have a lot of flavor. It has 8.5% ABV and cost me $6.50 for a 22oz bottle, which I consider a good price if you want to get something interesting to share with friends.

1 comment:

  1. Why can't Wet Wednesday happen on a Friday, I say. It's Friday! Hooray, beer!

    This might be my record for most links used in a single post.

    Have any of you ever had any of the beers from the Lips of Faith line? If so did you like what you had?