We love to support local businesses, especially breweries. Our dedication to local arises from our love of meeting the people behind the beer, as well as our concern for sustainability issues and our desire to support the local economy. Elysian is a well respected Washington brewery that is aware of its strengths and where it can use a helping hand. In July 2008, Elysian Brewing and New Belgium announced their “artisanal collaboration”.  The Elysian would brew their big batches of Elysian beers destined for wide spread distribution in the New Belgium Fort Collins brewery. New Belgium would use the Elysian Seattle Brewery to craft their special artisanal and experimental beers.

Trip Series

Elysian and New Belgium have been brewing small batches of artisanal beers that are only available on draft in the Northwest. They are calling this collabeeration to increase efficiency and experimentation The Trip.

The first Trip was a Triple IPA.  I missed out on this Trip but here is how New Belgium describes their first collabeeration Trip.

Hop-forward with a Belgian strong yeast, this Trippel IPA opens with citrus and floral tones from generous hopping, then gives way to soft peachy notes implied by the yeast.

The second Trip was imaginatively called Trip II. I am not bad mouthing anyone, I appreciate their creativity where it belongs, inside my glass! Alas I did not actually get a chance to sample a Trip until Trip III.  I have to take someone else’s word on Trip II. Here is what New Belgium says:

…deep, golden ale generously hopped with Magnum and the seldom-used Citra hop, which produces flavors of grapefruit, peach and passion fruit. Spiced with lemongrass and grains of paradise, Trip 2 is fermented with a Belgian yeast strain for a hop-forward ale and swirling fruit undertones.

Trip III was one of my favorite beers at the Fremont Oktoberfest.  Trip III is a sour brown ale that is deep, dark and complex. The sour notes creep up to the edge of being overwhelming but never takes the leap over that edge. When that ale was available on tap, I was following it around town.

I am not familiar with Sahti beer, but that is the style of beer for Trip IV. Sahti beer is a Finnish farmhouse ale where juniper pays a major role. The Beer Advocate has a nice summary on Sahti beer. Trip IV contains oats, juniper and rye. The resins normally associated with hops, come from juniper in this beer.  In the Trip IV, they use ALL of the juniper: bark, powder, berries and the roots. It is the juniper roots that give the coconut notes to this beer. There is also a lot of orange and lemon peel in this beer. At a New Belgium tasting at the Seattle Beer Authority, patrons were split on the Trip IV. The juniper was a bit overwhelming for some in the crowd while others, me included, were digging it. Probably one of the most unusual beers that I have had in a while.

The Trip V is currently on tap at the Elysian. This chocolate cherry beer was released on 2/1/10, just in time to share with your sweetheart. It is a sweet and chocolatey brew. Organic vanilla paste, organic cherry concentrate and organic Peruvian cocoa powder are just some of the quality ingredients instilled in this beer.  I first tasted the Trip V at the Seattle Beer Authority tasting, a week before release.  It was too sweet for me then. Ed was drinking the Trip V at the Elysian last week and I helped myself to a couple of sips. Although it is sweet beer, it had soften somewhat. It wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet to me anymore.  The Trip V tasted more like a beer and less like a Valentine candy to me now.

Not every Trip beer is going to be everyone’s favorite beer and I am glad. I like how this collabeeration between Elysian and New Belgium is jumping into the experiment and giving us some very unique and unusual beers to try.