Beer and Cheer: 2 Below Ale

2 Below New Belgium Brewery Fort Collins Argh, no matter how hard I try, I just can't get into the beers from New Belgium Brewery. Fat Tire, Mothership Wit, 1554, 2 Below Ale: I've tried them -- repeatedly -- in an effort to figure out what I'm missing, and what everyone else is buying.

After all, New Belgium is Colorado's largest craft brewer and its second-largest homegrown beer maker (behind Coors, of course). But no matter what I try, I just don't buy New Belgium's popularity. The beers don't make me think of hops or of malt. They make me think of, well, barley. Fizzy, muted barley with a weird aftertaste.

When I sip 2 Below, I can sense the malty goodness that other brewers use to create their winter warmers, and the hops that give so many beers that beautiful bitter bite. But while I desperately want to like this popular brew, the flavors in 2 Below remain hidden behind the "barley" -- and that, I'm afraid, makes for a blue Christmas. - Jonathan Shikes

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