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Green and gold out the door: New Belgium releases Old Aggie

Hundreds poured through New Belgium Brewing’s doors this weekend with one goal: to try a lager.

Old Aggie Superior Lager is New Belgium’s latest concoction, released with and inspired by CSU. The beer will be offered year-round but distributed only in Colorado.

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New Belgium bartender Ariel Starkweather pours a glass of Old Aggie at New Belgium Brewery on July 1, 2017 during the launch party. (Erin Douglas | Collegian)

While the Fort Collins community has a well-known love for beer, patrons were crowding the brewery on Saturday to show their love for another city pride: Colorado State University.

New Belgium and CSU have been “kindred spirits” for a long time, according to New Belgium brand manager Adrian Glasenapp, so a beer was, naturally, the next step.

“We started talking about the idea of making a beer together given the relationship,” said Glasenapp, who worked on developing the Old Aggie brand. “So, the idea floated around for a while, and it came to fruition here today.”

The beer itself is a classic lager — it’s easy enough to drink for a newly of age college student, yet tasteful enough for a beer enthusiast. Glasenapp said a lager was an easy choice.

“We wanted something that was easy drinking on game day with a pretty approachable hop profile, yet true to new Belgium’s core beers,” Glasenapp said.

New Belgium accomplished their mission based on the crowd’s reaction Saturday. Many guests commented on how easy it was to drink – but even more took selfies with the can.

Old Aggie merchandise such as t shirts and pint glasses were available at the Old Aggie launch party at New Belgium Brewery on July 1, 2017. (Erin Douglas | Collegian)

“It looks like what the beer represents – the old Aggie,” said Christine Houdek, 1996 alumna, whose husband, Ryan, added that it, “takes people back to their roots.”

A long anticipated game day was a major contributor to the partnership. With CSU’s new on-campus stadium opening this fall, which the brewer made a $4 million donation to in 2016, the beer revolves around a relationship with the athletic department. A portion of the proceeds will go towards the University – 2 percent for athletics, 2 percent to the fermentation science department and 2 percent towards alcohol education at CSU.

The beer will be served at the new stadium – obviously at the New Belgium Porch – and even the posters have a rendering of the field in the backdrop.

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We’re excited to see this environment here today with people having a good time, sharing in community,” said Steve Cottingham, deputy director of CSU athletics. “And, hopefully, that’s what athletics does is bring people together and build that sense of belonging.”

The logo uses a traditional CSU color – orange, with a modern mascot – the ram. It derives its name from the old name. Before the University changed its name and colors in 1957, it was called Colorado Agriculture and Mechanical College, or Colorado A&M, and the Aggies proudly sported pumpkin and alfalfa. A CSU alumnus at a long-time New Belgium partner design firm in Denver created the logo.

A CSU alumnus at a long-time New Belgium partner design firm in Denver created the logo, which incorporates new and old CSU branding. (Erin Douglas | Collegian)

“We wanted to give a nod to the history of the University and incorporate the ram mascot,” Glasenapp said.

Ethan Harris, a trombone player for Guerrilla Fanfar, a New Orleans brass band, plays in the 85 degree weather on New Belgium’s outdoor stage. Guerrilla Fanfare played the Old Aggie launch event at New Belgium on Saturday, July 1. The band members said about half their band is Colorado State University alumni and the other half are University of Colorado alumni. (Erin Douglas | Collegian)

The brewer employs over 100 CSU alumni, according to their website and Glasenapp, and New Belgium has made significant contributions to the University in the past two years. In 2015, New Belgium Brewing co-founder Kim Jordan gave a $1 million grant to CSU’s newly established fermentation science and technology program – and now, New Belgium brewers teach courses in it.

“Being one of those (100 alumni), it’s an amazing opportunity to collaborate with CSU, and we’re really excited about the cool things to come this fall when the athletic season kicks off,” Glasenapp said.

New Belgium’s yard is a destination for locals every weekend, but this Saturday it was a party. The band not only played, they danced. Lines didn’t just wrap around the bar they went out the door. Kids, dogs, alumni, students and servers crowded the porch, draft room and yard.

A New Orleans brass band, Guerrilla Fanfare, played the event and a free bike giveaway was hosted at the end.

“I think it’s one of the best launches for a beer I’ve seen,” Christine Houdek said. “It got me here.”

Old Aggie is available in Fort Collins as of Saturday, July 1, and will be available across the Front Range and in Denver on Aug. 15. It is available 12-ounce and 24-ounce cans.

Beer facts:

  • ABV: 4.7%
  • IBU: 18
  • YEAST: Lager
  • CALORIES: 141
  • HOPS: Cascade, Chinook, Liberty, Nugget
  • MALTS: Pale, Munich

Collegian Editor-in-Chief Erin Douglas can be reached at editor@collegian.com or on Twitter @erinmdouglas23.

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