New Belgium’s new Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale is more than just a simple partnership with Ben & Jerry’s. As an ice cream lover, I naturally wanted to know more about the beer. To learn about this iconic beer, I visited the New Belgium brewery in Fort Collins, CO and met Morgan Bargine, who had the scoop on the cookie dough beer.
Bargine is a Liquid Center Representative at New Belgium and gives two guided tours of the New Belgium Brewery every day. She was bartending that night and was nice enough to answer some questions about the beer.
I first tried the cookie dough ale when I met a friend at New Belgium brewery. She told me to try the beer and see what it tasted like. It was one of those times where I knew what it tasted like, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Once she told me, the taste was undeniable. You couldn't forget that it was cookie dough beer even if you tried.
The chocolate chip cookie dough ale is the second of the Ben & Jerry's series. It was released just a short month ago and Bargine expects it to be around for another six to eight months. Last year, they released a Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale, which was very well received. “I think the brown ale was more of a safe start,” said Bargine, who feels that the chocolate chip cookie dough ale is more adventurous.
I'm someone who is close to New Belgium and has always lived in Colorado, so I'm in a little bubble where I don't realize how big New Belgium brewery is. I finally understood when I sent a Snapchat of the beer to my friend in Wisconsin. She replied and told me her roommate wanted to try the beer because it looked really good. Fort Collins is well know in the beer scene and has many breweries within their city limits.New Belgium has become even more well know, being that it is the fourth largest brewer of craft beer in the nation. It's no doubt that the popular brewery teamed up with a popular ice cream company to create a beer that people around the country are wanting to try.
The idea of which flavors pair well with which beer came from a pour-over from an event the first year New Belgium partnered with Ben & Jerry’s. They poured beer over different ice creams and invited the community to take part.
The chocolate chip cookie dough beer took a while to perfect. They worked on different mock-ups before they decided on the cookie dough. They put the ale into special kegs and had employees go try the different samples to decide which cookie dough recipe was the best.The winner has a majority of Tahitian vanilla and brown sugar, and it’s briefly filtered through cocoa powder to get a light chocolate flavor. That chocolate chip cookie dough aftertaste? Bargine said that’s really just the vanilla and brown sugar tricking your mind.
Bargine said the partnership with Ben & Jerry’s is more than just a fun, limited-time beer once a year. It really comes down to the environment. She explained that New Belgium is now recognized as one of the most sustainable breweries in the United States. Many years ago, the brewery decided that they wanted to increase their certification of being sustainable and looked into becoming a certified B Corporation.
According to the B Corporation, or B Corps, webpage, “B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.”
Bargine explained that people from B Corps evaluate businesses based on how much waste it uses, how much it recycles, and even what kind of hand towels businesses use. Not only are they looking at how well businesses are treating the environment, but how well it is treating its employees.
When New Belgium was learning about how to become a B Corp, they were learning about other B Corps. “So the reason why we paired with Ben & Jerry’s is because for many years, much longer before us, they’ve been a certified B Corporation,” Bargine said.
The knowledge that the ice cream company was sustainable was intriguing to the brewery and they realized the pun. They both sell pints, just different types of pints.
Not only is the New Belgium and Ben & Jerry’s partnership creating unique ice cream beers, but they’re also raising awareness for the Colorado nonprofit organization Protect Our Winters (POW). They are funding climate change research and seeing why Colorado doesn’t get the same precipitation during the winters as it used to. “I think the whole idea was that we would do this collaboration together and a portion of what we’re selling is raising awareness to POW so we’re both in it to protect our winters,” said Bargine.
For the brewery, it’s more than just beer. It’s about bringing in people that wouldn’t normally drink beer but enjoy the chocolate chip cookie dough ale. It’s about finding new challenges in their products. It’s about raising awareness and funding research for climate change. It’s about helping the planet and becoming more sustainable.
This beer won't be around for long, so if you're dying to try it, you'd better hurry!