What the heck! The first sip I took from my glass of New Belgium Tour de Fall Pale Ale, my face immediately puckered into a souring visage of dismay. HOPS! Fruity hops to boot, although they were of the citrusy sort and accompanied by some very tasty resiny hop flavors, too. Those who have been reading my reviews on an anywhere near regular basis will likely interject at this point, “But Bruguru! You love hops!” And yes I do.
But New Belgium Tour de Fall is a, well, fall beer folks. Autumn. The time of harvest. And perhaps the last bastion of malty beers in America. Just the other night, I enjoyed a full one-liter mass of Paulaner Oktoberfest. It was so packed with nutty malty goodness I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. THAT is what fall means to me, even in fall-themed ales. OK, malty beers and pumpkin beers too.
That’s not the case with New Belgium Tour de Fall, though. From the label:
New Belgium's love for beer, bikes and benefits is best described by being at Tour de Fat. Our love for Cascade and Amarillo hops is best tasted in this Tour de Fall Pale Ale. We're cruising both across the country during our favorite time of year. Hop on!
Ingredients from the website:
Hops: Target, cascade
Malts: Pale, Chocolate Rye, Caramel 80
Special Processing: Dry hopped with amarillo and cascade
New Belgium Tour de Fall has an alcohol content of 6% by volume and 38 IBUs. My bottle is freshness dated as good through 28DEC14. The beer runs $8.99 a six-pack here in Georgia.
New Belgium Tour de Fall Pale Ale pours to a bright orange amber color with a thick foamy head and a big citrus-resin hop nose. Taking a sip, I get just the faintest hint of caramel malt up front, followed far too quickly by the hops, resiny-citrusy hops that lend some very nice piney notes. More resin comes through at the last, too, and some herbal, bitter grassiness as well.
But where’s the malt? As much as I love hops, fall makes me think of Oktoberfest, and that means malt. I want malt here folks, but I have to say the more I drink of this one the more it grows on me. I really like the intercourse between resiny and grassy hops. So, as much as I am missing the malt, I’m digging the hop character enough after all to make up for it.
Definitely a beer I will buy again after all. And in case you were wondering, New Belgium is also offering their Pumpkick Ale this year.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.