Get Frambozened!

Feeling particularly frazzled one recent frosty evening after spinning out on the Kangaroo Lake causeway and ending up nose first on the frozen lake in my front-wheel drive Saab while heading home from work, I was greatly relieved to finally get home and crack open a Frambozen. Perked me right up, and even made me forget that I was $50 lighter thanks to the friendly neighborhood tow truck driver.

Frambozen is from the fine folks at New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, Colorado. They pair a malty brown ale base with juice from Pacific Northwest raspberries. The result is a tangy, refreshing raspberry-forward brown ale.

The first thing you notice is the dark, rosy hue. It’s lovely to look at. The nose is raspberry malt. The taste is unexplainably life affirming and uplifting. It makes me happy to drink Frambozen.

I do have a special affinity for New Belgium Brewing. Today it seems as ubiquitous as megabeers.

But near the turn of the century, before New Belgium products were distributed east of the Mississippi, I was writing about beer for a corporate newspaper that owned a newspaper in Fort Collins, Colorado. They would run my weekly beer column in the Fort Collins newspaper, which was noted by a sharp marketing guy at New Belgium. Soon I was regularly receiving cases of New Belgium products direct from the brewery to my home.

Other breweries would send me beer (including a French brewery after I defended French beers during the post-9/11 Francophobia experienced here – remember “Freedom fries”?), but I felt a real kinship with NBB for their progressive environmental ethos and the creativity they brought to brewing.

I had an opportunity to tour the brewery one year while covering the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, but I had to forgo the tour when two Wisconsin brewers won some major awards, but neither had shown up for the festival, so I had to stay in my hotel room and try to track them down by phone so I could file my story (I finally caught up with one of them, Randy Sprecher of Sprecher Brewing, at a Mets game). Still regret missing out on that tour.

Oh, well, I savor those memories of my one-time relationship with New Belgium Brewing as I enjoy getting Frambozened.