Unlike cutthroat competitions between heavyweights like Apple v. Microsoft or Coke v. Pepsi, the microbrew scene recognizes that there’s always more than enough beer-loving to go around. After all, that’s why small- and medium-sized cities like Oregon’s Bend and Portland and Colorado’s Fort Collins and Boulder can produce more beer than any one town can consume without drowning the market.
One of the most recent examples of this mutual appreciation can be found in FOCOllaboration, a new joint effort from New Belgium and Odell Brewing. The two breweries reside in Fort Collins (hence the “FOCO” in the name), and shared a variety of ingredients—Fawcett malt from Odell and an arsenal of New Belgium’s favorite dry hops (centennial, cascade, citra, amarillo)—to create a truly remarkable American pale ale.
Both breweries, of course, are well versed in the language of the hop, but here their voices don’t drown each other out. Poured into a tulip glass, the hop aroma comes through strong, with a big burst of tropical fruitiness and an undercurrent of pine that reinforce why the United States has really come to own this style of beer. The flavors follow the aroma. Pineapple and caramel, along with a bitterness that lingers, with a full mouthfeel that highlights its relatively potent 6.75% ABV. The overall brightness, from its amber color to the beer’s big and effervescent head to the clean and well-rounded flavors, may make this the perfect beer for the ruthless dog days of summer.
Brewery: New Belgium and Odell Brewing
City: Fort Collins, Colo.
Style: American Pale Ale