During their annual Lost in the Woods event, New Belgium Brewing gives us mere mortals an opportunity to party in their Foeder Forest. If you are not familiar with their Foeder Forest, you must not have ever had college friends visit you and instinctually booked an NBB tour two months in advance knowing you can make a day out of all the free beer and badass stories on the tour. A Foeder is a giant barrel usually used to ferment wine, but brewers got smart and reused these barrels to age beer, making it even more delicious. And when you have 65 of these barrels, it looks like a short, stubby redwood forest; hence Foeder Forest.
But Lost in the Woods is more than just a perfectly on theme celebration; it’s a release party for their newest sour. This years release, Ticket to Paradise did not disappoint. Felix, their golden sour, was re-fermented on pineapples and aged in rum barrels, served on nitro. With lots of pineapple on the nose and a sweet tartness, this barrel-aged sour is true to its name. The sour was not overwhelming, more of tingle on the back of the tongue. The only thing it was missing was more rum characteristics, but that’s the game you play with barrel-aging. Along with Ticket to Paradise, sour classics like La Folie and Le Terroir were showcased, and a few experimental small batch sours.
It wouldn’t be an NBB party without intricate costumes and over-the-top decor. Every year, Lost in the Woods has a different theme coinciding with the new beer and 2019 was the year of the pineapple; is there a better fruit that brings paradise to mind than a pineapple? There were massive bright green, pineapple crowns atop Foeders, actual pineapples on almost every table along with purple orchids, laceleaf plants, palm leaves and those ridiculously adorable tiny, colorful umbrellas. The five bars set-they decorated up throughout the brewery to look like tiki bars, with handcrafted colorful beach signs listing the beer selections. They scattered fake palm trees and string lights throughout creating a tropical, luau vibe. Speaking of luau, there were hula dancers performing every hour. The theme was clear, and the DJ solidified the party atmosphere, while the free-flowing beers kept people dancing.
But what’s a themed party without costumes?! As with the decorations, pineapples seemed to be the most popular costume of choice. My favorite was a dapper couple, Alison and Alex who wore a matching bright yellow dress and vest, covered in small, brown, half-moon shaped cutouts. Alison created the looks herself, having ordered the dress and vest a couple weeks in advance, then individually cutting out and ironing on each shape to look like the perfectly ripe fruit. She topped off her look with a green fascinator, solidifying the classy looks. I went for a winter appropriate beach coverup with white jeans and an iridescent mesh top covering up, you guessed it, my bright orange one-piece swimsuit. Besides pineapples, Hawaiian shirts were everywhere, along with leis, flamingo prints, straw hats and event the cast of Gilligan’s Island.
These well-planned costumes just go to show how expected this event is. Tickets go on sale a couple months in advance, often selling out and people pay $75 to party their sour butts off without the worry of paying for any beer once inside. The ticket includes a bottle of the new sour release, snacks on point with the theme and plenty of Instagram worthy moments.
I want to say a quick Mahalo to the NBB employees who didn’t think twice about the girl walking out with three pineapples; I guess my sobriety and inhibitions got a little lost in paradise.
Thank you New Belgium Brewing, for getting me into my swimsuit during what has been the coldest week of the year.