Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Best New Beer of the Season . . .

. . . is not a seasonal at all. But if you haven't stumbled across New Belgium's Giddy Up!, released in the fall but just gaining popularity around holiday time, you're missing a beer that should go to the head of the pack among all of the dark and darker beer offerings of the season.

Brewed with lemon peel and infused with espresso, this is a genre-bending offer. Sure, it fits neatly into the overall category of coffee beers, but yet it's more than the very subtle lemon that appears on the backtaste that makes this stand out.

What catches your attention is a body that seems too light to hold the gigantic shot of java it's pumping across your tongue. That body feels partially creamy and partially just easy, ab antidote to the nearly sludge-like consistency of coffee beer makers who take it too far. Yet, the sharp taste - the coffee beans are grown in Brazil, espresso-roasted locally and then pressed into the ale - is a lingerer, enveloping your mouth like you were swirling around a caffeine boost, without burning your tongue.

In the line of recent New Belgium experiments, this ranks just about up there with the absurdly delicious and sour Eric's Ale - and far, far above the more subtle Skinny Dip seasonal. But I do have one qualm with it. You can get Giddy Up! just two ways right now: In mixed 12-packs and in kegs. (I discovered this beer last month at a dive sports bar in Greenwood Village, of all places.) This is a great beer and should be celebrated. Make it more readily available.

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I've seen Giddy Up being served as a few restaurants around Northern Colorado. I've yet to try it but it sure does sound different. I'll be sure to seek it out.
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