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California Route - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
California RouteCalifornia Route

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

54 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 54
Reviews: 15
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 9.46%
Wants: 3
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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
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Ratings: 54 | Reviews: 15 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce can - $1.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The bottom of the can is dated 23 MAR 2014.

Appearance: Pours a very lightly hazed, dark yellow body with just under an inch of white foam. Not particularly much lacing.

Smell: Agreeable biscuit nose, a thin, thin sliver of caramel sweetness, and hop notes scented of citrus fruit, flowers, and dried herb.

Taste: Lightly biscuity, lightly toasted grains with a thin layer of incorporated sweetness. Citrus, floral, spicy-edged herb hop notes. Medium-light bitterness. Soft yeastiness. Drying, modestly spicy finish with a mild, lingering fruity lemon flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Refreshing, easy-drinking.

Photo of wrightst
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of flagmantho
3.89/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz can into a pint glass.

Appearance: yellow-orange hue with a moderate haze and moderate effervescence. Head is two fingers of fluffy eggshell foam. I think it's quite attractive!

Smell: grainy malt with evergreen-scented hops and a moderate, chalky yeastiness. Pretty spot-on for the style, I would say. I quite like it.

Taste: grainy, yeasty and a little bit hoppy. It's sweeter and less hoppy than the aroma; I admit I like the aroma a little bit more, but it's still quite good.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good roaminess. Good carbonation here yields a satisfying creaminess which I quite enjoy.

Overall: a pretty damn good example of the California Common style. Typically, New Belgium's brews aren't in my palate's wheelhouse, but this is a pretty successful and drinkable brew.

Photo of WoodBrew
3.69/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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!!!

Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of sweemzander
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Zach136
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of MattyG85
4.16/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of Keith_R
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Localdrinklax
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of herman77
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of rawfish
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Pours from the can a clear gold, a white cap of foam grows up to two fingers with good retention and spotty lacing.

Malt aroma is a clean biscuit and soda cracker and hops are a mix of grassy and light floral character. Very clean.

Taste is headed by a clean doughy and cracker malt flavor, only slightly sweet with intermingling hay, lemon citrus and a hint of clean yeast imparted pepper notes.

Medium to light bodied with nice creamy carbonation. Finish is clean and crisp. No hint of alcohol, near perfect.

Well balanced and constructed, a very clean and easy beer. Would love to see more of these for hiking and camping in the spring and summer months.

Photo of vkv822
3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of spoony
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz can (stamped March 23, 2014 on the bottom) into a nonic.

A-A normal pour produces about two fingers of pillowy, off-white head. Retention is decent at one-minute-plus. The lacing is pretty good with the sticky head leaving its mark all the way down the glass. The brew is murky and light-golden/straw in color.

S-The smell is a nice mixture of semi-sweet, doughy/bready malts and grassy/floral hops. I get a little bit of biscuit in there, too. For a pale lager type beer, the aroma is pretty intense.

T-The taste tracks the smell closely with earthy straw, grass, and lemongrass playing off of the doughy, bready malt base. A little bit of citrus creeps in there, as well. The finish is slightly grainy. Nice balance.

M-The brew tends towards creamy with lower-than-average carbonation and a wet feeling. The finish dries up and moves more towards crisp. Easy drinking.

O-This is one of the better beers from New Belgium that I have had in a while. It is drinkable, balanced and intriguing. The beer is low enough in ABV that I don't need to stop after one can on a school night, but packs enough flavor that I can stop after one can on a school night and leave satisfied. I hope they bring this back somehow.

Photo of ortie
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Lemke10
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours a hazy, yellow color with a foamy, off-white head. The aroma has a slightly bitter tone with hints of yeast. The taste is a smooth, mellow lager taste this well balanced in hops and malts. This isn’t anything that will wow you, but it is very drinkable and well made.

Photo of Jadjunk
3.71/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

"To celebrate 40 years of fun hogging, New Belgium and Patagonia, Inc. have crafted this medium-bodied, unfiltered organic lager in the 'California Common' tradition." Brewed in the style of a California Common Lager/Steam Beer. One time collaborative canned release by New Belgium with Patagonia outdoor wear.

Poured from a 12 oz. can to a pint glass. Served above 54º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a foamy pearl-white head over a moderately hazy amber-yellow body. Retention is very good, lacing is light and spotty. 4.25

(Smell) Lightly sweetened pale malts with a clean caramel grain malt. Hop potency is very bold, with earthy, spicy hop aromas and a moderate bitterness. Balance is equally in favor of bitterness and sweetness, with high accessibility. The aroma is very sessionable, potent and appealing. 4

(Taste) Up front, expect a very light, mildly sweet pale biscuit malt, joined by a mellow earthy hop profile with a mild peppery bitterness. California Route finishes with a notable lager lightness despite some meager complexity from some muted lemon and biscuit. Very drinkable, although not all flavors come through as boldly as they do in the aroma. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Lightly chewy, mildly acidic, otherwise clean. Carbonation generates some froth and fizziness. Body is shy of medium for the style, light+ overall. Alcohol presence is light. 3.75

(Overall) While I don't care about Organic endorsements, I found California Route to be an enjoyable, easy-drinking lager. Those looking for more flavorful lager options outside of the macro choices should consider trying the California Route. 3.75

New Belgium Brewing's
California Route Organic Lager
3.71/5.00

Photo of RuckusDu
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of neckbeered
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%

Photo of CSO
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

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California Route from New Belgium Brewing
87 out of 100 based on 54 ratings.