Collaboration brew with New Belgium to be tapped Tuesday at Fruita’s Hot Tomato
WHAT: Hot Tomato tasting party
WHEN: Tuesday, April 21, 11 a.m. to close
WHERE: Hot Tomato Pizzeria, 124 N. Mulberry St., Fruita
COST: $4.50 a pint
Jen Zeuner and Anne Keller, co-owners of Fruita’s Hot Tomato Pizzeria, love New Belgium Brewing Company. So when they were invited to participate in a collaboration brew in Fort Collins, Colo., in early March, they jumped at the chance. Their beer is officially called Hot Tomato Perfect Day American Red. It is a 6.5-percent ABV brew.
“It’s a red ale with a crisp, clean flavor profile,” Keller said. “We based it off some beers we had from Pacific-Northwest breweries.”
Ross Koenigs, New Belgium’s pilot brewer, described the beer as “an American-style red with big, old hops aroma” featuring citrus, grapefruit, apricot and peach flavors. The brew started on March 6 and it will be debuted at a Hot Tomato tasting party on Tuesday, April 21, starting at 11 a.m. Giveaways — like a raffle for pizza for a year and a New Belgium cruiser bike — will be part of the fun. The raffle will happen at 4 p.m. and patrons must be present to win. Beer will flow all day.
“We’re super excited about this,” Zeuner said.
According to Zeuner, Hot Tomato is a big supporter of New Belgium Brewery, already carrying a variety of its beers on tap. Hot Tomato’s staff also participates in New Belgium Brewery tours every year.
This, however, was the first time Zeuner and Keller brewed a batch of beer together — as a collaboration or otherwise. Koenigs, along with Lauren Salazar, New Belgium’s specialty brand manager, walked them through the process, then got the party started in the New Belgium Pilot Brewery.
“It’s a 10 hectoliter brewhouse built by Newlands in British Columbia,” Koenigs explained, adding that the Pilot Brewery is much smaller than New Belgium’s other setups; and it’s meant to be used primarily for experimental and small-batch brews.
The beer was a true collaboration, too. Zeuner and Keller helped Koenigs in every step of the brew. For instance, they both dumped in the malts and measured the hops.
“They talked us through the process, and they created a recipe for Hot Tomato,” Keller said. “We get all of the beer, though we hope to allocate one or two kegs for [New Belgium’s] tasting center if they’d like it.”
Hot Tomato plans to debut the beer on the Tuesday before Fruita Fat Tire Festival kicks off April 23-26. Two kegs of the red ale will also be tapped at the festival.
“This is our 10th anniversary as a business, so it’s a celebration for us,” Zeuner said. “And it’s Fruita Fat Tire’s 20th anniversary. We’re tapping it for locals first before Fat Tire kicks off, as it’s the locals that hold us together and support us.”
Koenigs, who is an avid mountain-biker in his own right, will be on site for the Tuesday tapping and he’ll stay to enjoy the Fat Tire festivities.
“If we have it for two weeks on tap, I will be amazed,” Keller said.
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