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Talking Blue Paddle, Lips of Faith, Hop Kitchen and seasonals with New Belgium

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During this time of year, our tastes tend to shift and change as we get into the colder months of the year, so we want to share a conversation we were able to have with New Belgium Brewery owner and CEO Kim Jordan.

We are intrigued by the beer Blue Paddle, as we see it in stores throughout the year, but there are times when it is near impossible to find. We asked Kim if this was because they treat it as more of a seasonal brew, but she confirmed that it is in fact a year round beer, just one that has lower demand.

"That’s not a seasonal, it’s a year round beer, but it’s not at the top of our priority list with our distributors. It’s a huge favorite here at the brewery, so when a lot of people choose their shift beer at the end of the day, Blue Paddle is one of the beers they choose," Jordan said.

As many beers drinkers in Colorado know, Lips of Faith has been one of the more explosively popular segments that New Belgium has introduced in past months.

With said popularity, we wanted to know if New Belgium plans on capitalizing on its demand and turning those beers into fully-fledged year round brews.

"We try to resist that temptation because we feel like it makes it special to keep it in the Lips of Faith series and to try to make them more limited. As soon as they go broad market and people are able to get them all the time, our human condition is to be thrilled with things that have a degree of scarcity to them. We try to only make those beers occasionally.

"Generally speaking Lips of Faith has been a big hit. Some are more esoteric than others, but that’s kind of the point, to really play around in that space, leverages the creativity of both sides of the partnership," Jordan said.

Hop Kitchen is another new branch that New Belgium has introduced to consumers and once again, they have reacted very positively to it. Kim talked about why they introduced this segment of brews.

"In a way, we thought having hoppy beers rotate would help to keep it interesting for people. We have year round offerings from Ranger, to Rampant, to Shift, all on the hoppy side. They go from somewhat hoppy like Shift to extremely hoppy like Rampant. It was more our desire to switch it up now and again. We think the variety of that is interesting for beer drinkers," Jordan said.

Wondering what type of beer next year's spring seasonal will be from New Belgium? Kim told us what it is setting up to be as well as the types of discussions they have internally about whether or not they should bring back a seasonal from a previous year.

"We have a launch coming in the spring that we are not yet talking about. For our spring seasonal, we will have a semi-strong blonde. I guess I should say a Belgian blonde. It will be a little bit Trippel-esk. It will be pretty effervescent blonde in color. It will be mid-range six, maybe six and a half [alcohol by volume].

"New Belgium has made some version of a seasonal since 1998. In those days we called them 'special releases', not a seasonal, because we thought that was more clever, and we occasionally wonder if we shouldn’t go back that way.

"We’ve had great success for our seasonals for a long time and I think a lot of us in the industry are seeing now that there is so much beer being offered in the marketplace that there are a lot of different avenues for variety. We debate a lot about 'are we going to change up the seasonals every year or are we going to try to build those brands specifically?' At this point, we don’t really have a definitive outcome on that," Jordan said.

For more on our exclusive interview with New Belgium's Kim Jordan, keep it here on Examiner.com.

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