Pour Some Out for the Mothership

March 9th, 2012 · 16 Comments · Beer Releases

It’s a sad day indeed. It came to my attention earlier this week via social media that New Belgium Brewing has discontinued Mothership Wit, their organic Belgian-style wit that was available in six-packs. While further research reveals that this news has actually been out there for a while, I was pretty taken aback by the move.

Mothership was the go-to summertime six-pack for my wife and I, as well as a few of our friends. When heading to a friend’s house for a BBQ we’d often stop off for a couple six-packs to bring with. It was almost a guarantee that Mothership would be one of those. This light 4.8% ABV wit balanced spice and citrus flavors with subtle wheat malt, all while remaining perfectly crisp, refreshing, and sessionable. It didn’t knock you out with flavor, but it didn’t skimp on it either. In other words, for us it was the perfect beer to sip on during those beautiful summer days in Seattle.

New Belgium confirmed the move on Twitter this week, saying “Unfortunately, it’s true. Based on declining sales, and making room in the portfolio for new beer, Mothership Wit is getting shelved.” I could see that Mothership might not sell well during the colder months, but I’d be surprised to hear that it doesn’t sell well during warmer months.

A larger contributing factor to the move may be that Mothership was New Belgium’s only certified-organic beer. That means that for this single beer, which wasn’t keeping up with sales expectations, they had to source all organic ingredients, including hops, malt, orange peel, coriander, and lemon peel, all of which had to be stored separately from non-organic ingredients for other beers. Certified organic brewing also requires that the brew system must be shut down and sterilized of all non-organic ingredients prior to brewing, therefore slowing down their overall brew schedule anytime they want to make a batch of Mothership. With their Fort Collins brewery running close to capacity, at least until they open a new East Coast facility in 2015, eliminating the Mothership clears up a lot of capacity and time for brewing other beers.

That doesn’t mean New Belgium will just be making more Fat Tire instead of the Mothership. They have aggressively released new seasonal beers and Lips of Faith beers over the past couple of years, and they want that trend to continue and even expand. In the first half of 2012, they’ll be releasing a collaboration beer brewed with Tomme Arthur of Lost Abbey, as well as some of their fantastic Tart Lychee. Later this year, look for another collaboration, this time for an Imperial IPA with Alpine Brewing of San Diego.

The new beers they have planned definitely help to soften the blow, but I’ll hold out hope that someday New Belgium will be calling out “The Return of the Mothership” for a seasonal six-pack brew, with or without the certified organic label. Until then, any suggestions on what we should pick up for a non-hoppy, refreshing BBQ six-pack this summer?


16 Comments so far ↓

  • Bob Farrell

    Although available in nothing smaller than a bomber, Iron Horse’s High Five Hef is an awesome warm weather session beer.

  • Greg

    It’s not local, but hard to think of a better session summer beer than Leinie’s Sunset Wheat, if you can find it here.

  • Ted

    Though slightly hoppy, I thought their Somersault from last summer was stellar… Hope that’s coming back

  • scoville

    Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat is the perfect summertime session beer IMO.

  • Bob

    While it assuredly isn’t local, Hoegaarden fits the exact description in the article. I love NBB brews, but Hoegaarden sets the standard for witbier.

  • Jeff

    Pike Dry Wit is an excellent local wit.

  • Doug

    the best part of this post was when you said they are making a Imperial IPA with Alpine Beer Co, my favorite IPA producer out there. God damn i love those collaborations.


    It seems people dont really care about organic. It may be time to panic.

  • beerveer

    Blvd ZON or a little Naughty Nellie would be good substitutes

  • Scott

    should be “the go-to summertime six-pack for my wife and me.”

  • Kaiser

    Yep, nice catch, Scott. I’m probably guilty of that one more than I’d like to know.

  • Marti Gwaltney

    I was also glad to hear a collaboration with Alpine from SoCal Their Exponential Hoppiness is wonderful.

  • Jack

    I really loved it in the winter. I thought it tasted very Christmas-y. I guess it’s all the spices in it.

  • rubyD

    i went to the store today, did some grocery shopping, and my roommate offered to buy me a six pack. i immediately make a beeline for the mothership. i couldn’t find it! it wasn’t there in it’s usual place among the other new belgium beers! i ask the guy working the liquor aisle about it. he informed me new belgium discontinued the brew. it broke my heart! mothership wit has been my favorite beer for the past year or so and no other beer quite lives up to it for me. sadness…

  • Jik

    Allagash White, Ommegang Witte, Hoegaarden, Weyerbacher Blanche as far as wit beers go. Also try these hefeweizens Sierra Nevada Kellerweis and Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat

  • Harley Gypsy

    Although I am not much of a beer drinker, I LOVED MOTHERSHIP WIT! It broke my heart to know they pulled this one. I have had one Fat Tire beer, and it was okay. I just haven’t found anything I like to replace the mother :*(

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