Craft Beer Review: New Belgium FOCOllaboration

This is the first of what will probably be a fairly consistent series of posts about one of my passions, quality Craft Beer. I've been a lover of good beer for almost 30 years, ever since my 1st taste of a Boulder Porter way back in 1985-1986 at an Old Chicago in Old Town Fort Collins. Since then I've been lucky enough to watch, and enjoy, the growth of the Craft Beer Revolution. During our time in Fort Collins we witnessed the growth of both New Belgium Brewing and Odell Brewing. That brings us to the subject of this review...

A Beer From Two of My Favorites

Over the last 20+ years New Belgium and Odell's have both grown, but grown differently. New Belgium has aggressively expanded while Odell's has taken a more conservative route. Both are on my favorites list and I have enjoyed their beers almost since the beginning. I used to pick up growlers from both breweries on a regular basis and always looked forward to their new beers. Since we moved away from Ft Collins in 1998 I've been unable to get Odell's except when visiting Northern Colorado. New Belgium expanded to Chicago and then here in Georgia so I've been able to mostly keep up with their beers.

Well, they have finally gotten together and collaborated on a Pale Ale, FOCOllaboration. I had a growler of it from my local Growler Store, Peachtree Growler, Co (owned by a fellow CSU Alum!) and I picked up a bottle while in Chicago a couple weeks ago to try at a later date. Well, this past Sunday was a "later date" so I opened up the 22oz bottle, poured some into my New Belgium glass and made this photo:


As you can see, FOCOllaboration is a good looking beer. It has a nice caramel/red color that is a bit darker than the typical American Pale Ale. This probably comes from the Odell Brewing malt bill that was used in the beer.

The aroma is very nice, with a good balance between malt and hops. I get more fresh-pine than citrus hop aroma. There is a very slight sweet smell to the beer as well, once again from the Odell malt bill.

As for the flavor, FOCOllaboration is a tasty Pale Ale. There's a nice mix of caramel malt and fresh hops, which is a good balance of fresh-pine and citrus.  The flavor is closer to an IPA than Pale Ale but still in the pale ale universe. Drinkability is very good with the 6.75% ABV not at all obvious. Carbonation is fine and the aftertaste is balanced with a hint of hops and crispness at the back of the throat.

FOCOllaboration is a very good beer that should agree with many craft beer lover's tastes. It's a nice warm-weather beer with some flavor yet I could see drinking this in the depths of Winter as well. It went great with some Big Green Egg smoked Pork ribs. There is enough hops to cut through/complement the smokiness and spice of the ribs. Pale Ale is a classic BBQ pairing and New Belgium FOCOllaboration fits right in.

FOCOllaboration seems to still be available on a fairly-wide basis so if you want to try a tasty Pale Ale from two of Ft Collins original craft brewers, pick up a bottle/growler/draft and give it a try. Be sure to let me know your thoughts on the beer.