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Crack open an Old Tuffy: New Belgium made a beer just for Wolfpack fans

New Belgium Brewing

N.C. State now has its own beer, brewed by one of the largest craft breweries in the country.

Old Tuffy Lager will debut next month in North Carolina, the tailgate-friendly fruit of a new partnership between New Belgium and N.C. State. The beer will be available in stores statewide just ahead of football season, ensuring that while games may or may not taste like a Wolfpack victory, they can taste like Wolfpack beer.

An older image of Tuffy, N.C. State athletics’ strutting wolf logo, is emblazoned on 12-ounce cans of red and white. The beer itself is an American lager, clocking in at 4.7 percent alcohol. The name Old Tuffy hearkens back to the domestic beers of old, prior to the current hop revolution, and uses an older Wolfpack logo. New Belgium also brewed a beer with Colorado State called the Old Aggie Superior Lager.

A portion of the beer sales will go to N.C. State, the school said in a release Wednesday, helping to support the university’s fermentation science program and research projects.

This could be a long-term partnership, as the school and New Belgium have a five-year licensing agreement, which can be renewed for an additional five years.

“We are excited to launch this collaboration with New Belgium and pleased to partner with an industry leader that is dedicated to supporting N.C. State’s academic excellence and that also shares our values of innovation, a commitment to sustainability and the importance of community service,” said Chancellor Randy Woodson in a news release. “Among other benefits, the partnership will provide internships, fund ongoing student success initiatives, and help develop an academic program aimed at providing future leaders for North Carolina’s robust craft beer industry.”

Woodson is well acquainted with North Carolina’s craft beer scene. His son Patrick Woodson is a brewer and partner in Raleigh’s acclaimed Brewery Bhavana.

New Belgium started in Colorado in 1991, but opened an Asheville brewery in 2015. According to the Brewers Association trade group, New Belgium is the country’s fourth largest independent craft brewery.

“At New Belgium, we pride ourselves on proving that business can be a force for good,” said New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer in a release. “Supporting the education of innovative and creative minds in North Carolina embodies that spirit and further shows our commitment to the State. We couldn’t be more excited to be working with NC State.”

N.C. State is one of the few universities in the country to offer a brewing program and its own brewery. Collaboration beers are all the rage these days in the world of craft beer, where two or more breweries team up on creating a new beer. With the Old Tuffy collaboration, New Belgium and N.C. State said there will come internships and training for students looking to make a career in the brewing industry.

Recently, North Carolina passed a law enabling colleges to sell alcohol at sports venues. The N.C. State Board of Trustees will consider alcohol sales during its July 10 meeting. University spokesman Mick Kulikowski said that if the board expands alcohol sales, new agreements would need to be approved for which specific beer and wine could be sold in the venues.

NC State University's Brewery in the Pilot Plant is located in Schaub Hall on the NC State University campus in Raleigh, N.C. For the past 5 years Dr. John Sheppard, with the NC State University Department of Food/Bioprocessing and Nutrition Scien

Drew Jackson: 919-829-4707, @jdrewjackson

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Drew Jackson writes about restaurants and dining for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, covering the food scene in the Triangle and North Carolina.
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