California Route
New Belgium Brewing Company

California RouteCalifornia Route
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
California Common / Steam Beer
ABV:
5.5%
Score:
86
Avg:
3.88 | pDev: 9.54%
Reviews:
15
Ratings:
55
From:
New Belgium Brewing Company
 
Colorado, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  3
Gots
  2
SCORE
86
Very Good
California RouteCalifornia Route
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 15 | Ratings: 55 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by mechamifune:
Photo of mechamifune
4/5  rDev +3.1%

More User Reviews:
Photo of Seantronz3030
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

 711 characters

Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of xmorgan
5/5  rDev +28.9%

Photo of flagmantho
3.9/5  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.

 807 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
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

 1,768 characters

Photo of sweemzander
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of wrightst
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of jpro
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of vermilcj
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of vkv822
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

 312 characters

Photo of Jadjunk
3.74/5  rDev -3.6%
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

 1,683 characters

Photo of herman77
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of maltlikker
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of lsummers
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of backslide311
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of Localdrinklax
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of Lemke10
4.14/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

 280 characters

Photo of MattyG85
4.16/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

 1,243 characters

Photo of rawfish
3.92/5  rDev +1%
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.

 661 characters

Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of WoodBrew
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
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!!!

 494 characters

Photo of RuckusDu
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of alexipa
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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.

 704 characters

California Route from New Belgium Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 55 ratings