1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

California Route - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
California RouteCalifornia Route

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

52 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 52
Reviews: 15
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 9.72%
Wants: 3
Gots: 3 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
California Common / Steam Beer |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
2013 marks 40 years in business for our Ventura, California-based outdoor clothing company. To celebrate, the good folks at New Belgium Brewing crafted a special lager beer made in the "California Common" tradition - tawny in color, medium bodied, with a malty character and earthy hops. Staying true to Patagonia's longstanding commitment to organic cotton, the beer is brewed with certified organic ingredients.

Fun fact: a recent study found that lager yeast originated in the Patagonia region of southern Argentina, in beech forests where the year-round climate is quite cool. Dubbed Saccharomyces eubayanus, it's perfectly acclimated to the cool temps in which brewmasters ferment their lagers. And while lager beer is said to have originated in Bavarian cellars, native Patagonians made their own fermented beverage with the same yeast back in the day.

The name of our beer pays homage to the California Route on Patagonia's Mount Fitz Roy. First climbed in 1968 by Yvon Chouinard, Doug Tompkins, Dick Dorworth, Lito Tejada-Flores and Chris Jones, the California Route is considered a Patagonia classic, with good rock and fun free climbing in a wildly beautiful setting.

(Beer added by: Zach122 on 11-15-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 52 | Reviews: 15 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by alexipa:
Photo of alexipa


4.2/5  rDev +7.4%

A: Dark yellowish orange, crystal clear, bright white head. Lots of lacing.

S: While pouring from the can I noticed how bold and strong the scent of this beer is. Strong citrus up front, with grainy-hay like malt backing it up. Reminds me of a great Saison.

T: Lot's of citrus hops, but I would consider this malt-forward. Fruity, grainy, even some funk in there. This tastes like a saison, possible brewed at pretty high temps?

M: Mmmmm, creamy and medium-full bodied. ABV is expertly hidden, this goes down smooth.

O: This is a winner, I hope they decide to brew it in larger quantities year-round. This could definitely find its way into my pack on every hiking/climbing trip this upcoming season.

11-27-2013 04:13:36 | More by alexipa
More User Reviews:
Photo of MattyG85


4.16/5  rDev +6.4%

Poured from a 12 oz. can into a New Belgium Globe glass. Date on can is March 23, 2014.

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of white head that settles into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: A crisp, zesty, and balanced aroma with nice hints of biscuit and earthy hops. Pale malt with hints of biscuit, grains, yeast, straw, caramel, and cracker. Surprisingly strong hop presence with good earthy, floral, and citrus aroma. Hints of grass and slight pine. Citrus hints of orange and lemon zest. A very solid and well balanced lager aroma.

Taste: Like the smell, a crisp and zesty well balanced lager taste with good biscuit notes and a strong hop balance. Bready pale malt with notes of biscuit, grains, straw, yeast, crackers, and caramel. A very solid hop balance with floral, earthy, and citrus notes. Grassy taste along with some pine. Citrus hop notes of orange peel and lemons. A very nice zesty taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Crisp, nicely chewy, and smooth. Finishes dry.

Overall: A really solid take on the California Common style. Good biscuity malt presence with a really nice zesty hop balance.

01-21-2014 07:56:21 | More by MattyG85
Photo of seanthornton152


4/5  rDev +2.3%

04-05-2014 15:36:21 | More by seanthornton152
Photo of Cfeezy

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

05-16-2014 00:11:09 | More by Cfeezy
Photo of WoodBrew


3.69/5  rDev -5.6%

The California Route is a good easy drinking beer that has just enough to give it some good flavor...its almost a lighter version of Fat Tire. The beer pours a hazy yellow with white head that is leaving a lace. The smell is faint and carries a light belgian flare. The taste is a well balanced beer that is slightly sweet. There is a hop that provides a subtle pine flare. The mouthfeel is lighter in body with smooth carbonation. Overall this is a very nice sessionalble lager. Good job NB!!!

12-25-2013 00:38:27 | More by WoodBrew
Photo of Schwegler


4/5  rDev +2.3%

01-20-2014 02:00:17 | More by Schwegler
Photo of JohnnyNicks


4/5  rDev +2.3%

03-04-2014 21:42:05 | More by JohnnyNicks
Photo of ironchefkook


3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

01-29-2014 00:03:47 | More by ironchefkook
Photo of Keith_R


4/5  rDev +2.3%

12-21-2013 22:57:52 | More by Keith_R
Photo of BeerFMAndy


3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

12 oz can poured into a New Belgium globe.
5.5% ABV, 23 MAR 2014 on bottom of can.

A - Fine particles haze this unfiltered beer, casting a gently cloudiness through the well-carbonated golden beer. A vigorous pour from the can caps the beer with peaks of rocky off-white head that decorates the globe in a smattering of wispy lace.

S - Woodsy, rustic hops present a California-like aroma while giving the Patagonia beer the outdoorsy nose it needs. Hints of pine needle and grass are reminiscent of camping and play well to the faintly ale-like nose this lager carries; smooth malt with suggestions of sweetness but pretty clean overall.

T - Initially simple, California Route has a base of smooth pale malt complimented by an earthy hop finish. As the journey progresses, sweet, doughy bread notes open up with a tickle of toasted white bread crusts and the hops begin to flourish with more, introducing grass and pine on the back end.

M - Carbonation quickly tickles the tongue as the beer enters the mouth but it's fuller-feeling body has a slightly heavy feel, mid gulp, as the beer's aroma and flavor lend themselves to it being a lighter perceived body. Nice hop balance gives the beer a snap of dry bitterness though, which really helps cut the bigger body back.

O - California Route is brewed in the California Common style, calling itself a lager but, the les crisp, clean beer has an all around ale feel that's inescapable. Hop forward, the earthy tones lend themselves well to the Patagonia name and are backed nicely by an almost bready malt backbone but the beer's relatively fuller feel, even cut by the dry hoppier finish, renders it somewhat burdensome to kick back if you're looking for something thirst-quenching. In the end it's a good beer but

12-17-2013 23:16:00 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of Oscar_The_Rauch

North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev -5.9%

12oz can poured into a New Belgium "globe" glass.

A: 1 finger white head and a bright golden orange color and good lacing.

N: Earthy hop aromas dominate the nose with some subtle notes of fruit and malt.

T: Confirms nose. A crisp, medium-bodied lager with an earthy finish of medium length. It is really rather medium, which is what the "California Common" style should be. In New Belgium fashion, they utilize the pale malt to act as a platform for the hops to shine.

O: I enjoyed this beer. I think they hit the typicity and expectations for the style. Also, the can design and tie-in with Patagonia is pretty tight.

12-21-2013 20:12:08 | More by Oscar_The_Rauch
Photo of mfnmbvp


3.63/5  rDev -7.2%

12 fl oz. can, with best by date March 23, 2014 printed on the bottom of the can. A new beer to me from New Belgium Brewing, acquired at the local Binny's as part of a mixed six pack. Expectations are fairly decent, this isn't a style I am too familiar with, but I have faith in New Belgium.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a nice fluffy two and a half finger head of white foam with good staying power, that leaves nice fat rings of lace. Body is a bright lemony orange color with a slight chill haze. Looks very nice.

S - Smell is very nice and appealing also. Tart citrusy lemon, pine, musty yeast, lightly toasted grains, fresh wheat, hint of corn, and some soapiness.

T - Taste follows the nose: fresh clean grains / wheat, clean bready yeast, light hint of lemony citrus, grassy, with light herbal hop bitterness. I get that yeasty greek yogurt like taste that I've experience in certain witbiers before.

M - Goes down light, crisp, and smooth, with good frothiness, and light herbal hop bitterness. Finishes bready and dry. High carbonation.

Overall, an interesting, appealing, light, and flavorful beer from New Belgium, though maybe not what I would call "sessionable", it has definitely caught my attention and is something I would have again if it were available to me. Recommended.

New Belgium California Route ---3.5/5

12-14-2013 19:06:50 | More by mfnmbvp
Photo of mechamifune

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +2.3%

01-31-2014 20:28:33 | More by mechamifune
Photo of Jameswoody


4/5  rDev +2.3%

12-24-2013 07:05:12 | More by Jameswoody
Photo of oceanpeak


3/5  rDev -23.3%

12-11-2013 21:47:40 | More by oceanpeak
Photo of vkv822


3.94/5  rDev +0.8%

12oz : tulip pint

Lightly hazy golden with a foamy white head.

Surprisingly hoppy, floral, lightly fruity citrus. Light, crackery lager backbone.

Medium, semi-crisp body with medium carbonation.

An extremely well done, hop-forward example of a California Common. Just a easy drinking, hoppy, delicious lager.

12-31-2013 08:30:59 | More by vkv822
Photo of sweemzander


3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

08-18-2014 16:16:01 | More by sweemzander
Photo of Sierrascout

5/5  rDev +27.9%

07-18-2014 18:59:23 | More by Sierrascout
Photo of SocalKicks


3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

12-03-2013 04:48:26 | More by SocalKicks
Photo of nmann08

District of Columbia

3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

12-25-2013 23:24:06 | More by nmann08
Photo of Zach122


4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

12-04-2013 04:36:20 | More by Zach122
Photo of neckbeered


4.75/5  rDev +21.5%

05-12-2014 16:04:23 | More by neckbeered
Photo of herman77


3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

12-30-2013 03:04:40 | More by herman77
Photo of dvmky


4/5  rDev +2.3%

12-07-2013 01:18:38 | More by dvmky
Photo of Zach136


3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

03-30-2014 18:39:08 | More by Zach136
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
California Route from New Belgium Brewing
87 out of 100 based on 52 ratings.