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Odell vs. New Belgium

Bottles wait on the bottling line to be filled at Odell Brewing Company on Wednesday afternoon.
Bottles wait on the bottling line to be filled at Odell Brewing Company.

While I’m no expert on beer, I have spent the better half of my “of age” years trying as many as possible. I recently spent a Saturday biking through Old Town to the strip of breweries off Lincoln Avenue and quenched my thirsty desires.

To compare Odell and New Belgium may seem like an easy job — who wouldn’t want to try multiple brews and rate them in accordance to your taste buds’ preferences? But, since we have two of the finest breweries in the country at our fingertips, it’s a harder task than one may think.

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Taking a turn at Odell first, the initial thought walking in was how new and fancy it was. With stone walls, granite bars, wood paneling, an outdoor patio with a fire pit and recently doubling the size of its tap rooms, this place was exactly what every brewery is thought to resemble.

Then there were the options of trays calling my name. Feeling more adventurous, I decided to try out their “CO-Pilot Tray” with a variety of specialty brews and four-pack series as opposed to their classic line up of 90 Shilling, Cutthroat Porter, Easy Street, 5 Barrel and Levity Amber Ale.

First came the Loose Leaf American Seasonal Ale which was simple, crisp and refreshing. It was hoppy and light, easily one of my favorites.

Next was the Town Pump “Pail Ale” which sat on a strong flavor and aroma filled with flowery hops, dryness and was just a bit bitter. This beer is brewed for the oldest bar in town, the Town Pump Tavern, and it’s no wonder they want it all to themselves.

Then there was the Myrcenary Double IPA which had the most alcohol content of the six flights, coming in at 9.3 percent. It was citrusy with prominence of pineapples and mixes of other tropical fruits. As a fan of IPA, doubling it made it all the better, going straight to my head in just the right way.

My favorite of them all was the Nitro Lugene Double Chocolate Milk Stout. Dark, malty, smooth and creamy, it’s the perfect substitute for any dessert and chocolate lover. Every beer, especially a stout, is better with nitrogen.

The sister of the last one was the Lugene Double Chocolate Milk Stout, which was not as creamy as its counterpart, but still enjoyable. I’ll say it again, nitro is always the way to go.

Lastly, there was the Double Black Hooch Oak Aged Blend which tastes almost like a watered-down whiskey and bourbon with splashes of cherry and malt liquor. It’s an acquired taste that gets better each time.

Taking back  roads and winding up at the seemingly more well-known brewery of the two is New Belgium. As we rode up to the heavily packed building, I stared in awe at the huge metal barrels towering over New Belgium that made me feel intimidated, yet eager to get inside. Bigger in size than Odell, New Belgium had a more classic, outdoorsy feel.

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While New Belgium didn’t offer flights for a taster’s guide, I chose to go with the more experimental flavors from their Lips of Faith series. Ales brewed with Anaheim and Marash chilies: unique flavors, to say the least.

Cigar City was first on the list with a barely-there smoky flavor and sweet and tangy flavor with wood and spicy pepper accents. Slightly hazy, this deep orange brew was a memorable one.

Next was the Yuzu which reminded me of sipping my favorite fruit juice. Its tart and sweet flavors deceive the aromas that initially float from the beer.

Then there was the Paardebloem, brewed with peach juice and wood-aged beer. It had a banana-like flavor with just a pinch of a cherry-like aroma.

Taking my tastes buds to two of the classic flavors from New Belgium, 1554 took the win alongside the Rampant Imperial IPA.

1554 was hard to classify. With a smooth, coffee-like taste, it’s a perfect beginner black lager for those who haven’t been introduced.

Last was the Rampant Imperial IPA which was hoppy, peachy, bitter and refreshing with a dry finish. The Rampant had me begging for more.

To make the final, and very tough, decision between these two breweries so dear to my heart and especially to my sense of taste, Odell would have to be my winner. It’s beers were more invigorating and left me with a clear understanding of what I do and don’t like when it comes to brews.

Odell’s offers tours to the first lucky people to be in line at the bar on the hour from 1-4 p.m. while New Belgium books up quickly, with no openings now until the end of May, so be sure to get your foot in the door early to try out these two unique, classic and individual breweries.

Collegian entertainment staff writer Makaela Bamonti can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com.

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