Patagonia & New Belgium Brewing Make a New Beer: “California Route”

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Patagonia clothing company is celebrating their 40th anniversary by creating a new beer with New Belgium Breweing (think Fat Tire Ale) called California Route Organic Ale.

The only problem is that you’ll likely never get to drink any of this new beer unless you’re a Patagonia employee or good friend of one.  They only made a very small amount of these beers for their anniversary.  That said, we’ll see what we can do to get our hands on a few sixers of this stuff and give it away at Squaw this early winter.

The California Route on Fitzroy, Patagonia, Argentina.
Yvon Chouinard on the first ascent of the California Route in 1968, the climb that inspired the name of our beer. Southwest buttress of Fitz Roy, Patagonia, Argentina. CHRIS JONES

Teaming up with New Belgium Brewing to Celebrate Patagonia’s 40th Anniversary

2013 marks 40 years in business for our Ventura, California-based outdoor clothing company. To celebrate, the good folks at New Belgium Brewing crafted a special lager beer made in the “California Common” tradition – tawny in color, medium bodied, with a malty character and earthy hops. Staying true to Patagonia’s longstanding commitment to organic cotton, the beer is brewed with certified organic ingredients.

Fun fact: a recent study found that lager yeast originated in the Patagonia region of southern Argentina, in beech forests where the year-round climate is quite cool. Dubbed Saccharomyces eubayanus, it’s perfectly acclimated to the cool temps in which brewmasters ferment their lagers. And while lager beer is said to have originated in Bavarian cellars, native Patagonians made their own fermented beverage with the same yeast back in the day.

The name of our beer pays homage to the California Route on Patagonia’s Mount Fitz Roy. First climbed in 1968 by Yvon Chouinard, Doug Tompkins, Dick Dorworth, Lito Tejada-Flores and Chris Jones, the California Route is considered a Patagonia classic, with good rock and fun free climbing in a wildly beautiful setting.

Patagonia and New Belgium – More than 1% in Common

When the idea of crafting a special celebration beer was first kicked around, our friends at New Belgium Brewing immediately came to mind. Their beer has quenched the thirst and brought smiles to the faces of countless Patagonia friends, customers and employees at special events around the country.

The nation’s first brewery to incorporate wind power for electricity, New Belgium Brewing is also the first brewery to join 1% For The Planet, an organization co-founded by Patagonia that connects businesses, consumers and nonprofits through environmental philanthropy. New Belgium is the third-largest craft brewer in the United States and is recognized for its environmental commitment as well as its progressive business practices. New Belgium has developed a set of interwoven programs that include employee ownership, open book management, high involvement culture and, of course, drinking good beer together.

Patagonia would like to thank everyone at New Belgium Brewing for their hospitality and partnership on this project. Check out the slide show above for a behind-the-scenes look at the project and the New Belgium campus in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Yes We Can

Aluminum cans are becoming more and more popular with craft brewers. They have high recycled content and are easily recyclable – aluminum can be recycled and back on stores shelves in as little as 60 days. Bottles are beautiful, and offer environmental benefits of their own, but you can’t beat the convenience and durability of canned beer, especially when it’s kicking around in a bag full of climbing gear.

I’m thirsty. Where can I get some?

California Route Organic Lager is a special run, limited edition project. You might find a six-pack somewhere near your local Patagonia Retail Store but it’s pretty rare. We’d love to go big with it, but our attention remains focused on building the best outdoor clothing available.

If you made it to this page, however, chances are you have a can in your hand. So here’s to you, our loyal friends and customers, we couldn’t do any of this without you. Cheers and thank you!

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