CSU Hillel New Belgium Tour!

To break up the long fall semester CSU Hillel recently hosted their annual brewery tour for seniors, graduate students, and young professionals at the New Belgium Brewery. 

A group of around 20 students, past and present, joined with CSU Hillel staff and leadership to take a tour of the New Belgium brewing facility. Leading the tour is one of a small group of Jewish New Belgium employees, Tamar Banner. 

Tamar, originally from New Jersey, made her way out to Fort Collins in 1997 after learning to brew beer back in Connecticut at college and hasn’t looked back. 

Tamar guided us all through New Belgium’s production facility and brewing processes. Tamar’s specialty is overseeing various brewing processes. Her official title is “beer traffic controller” which sounds funny but beer is a serious business and we all want the best people like Tamar to ensure high quality beer.

Inside New Belgium’s bottling facility.

In addition to serving top quality beer, New Belgium over the years has fostered one of the highest quality work environments for employees. Many of New Belgium’s philosophical beliefs make Tamar, her co-workers and fellow community members proud to produce and drink New Belgium’s beer. 

“For me it’s an honor and privilege to go home at the end of the day and enjoy something that I’ve made myself. But also at New Belgium we have our own version of the popular accounting principle “triple bottom line,” which focuses on a balance of taking care of employees, customers and the environment. At New Belgium our version is the belief in people, profit and the planet. It’s the idea that we aren’t just motivated by profit, but also helping our workers and community.  It’s why we work hard to reduce our carbon footprint as well as being lucky enough to have our own on site health clinic, generous benefits and more. We pride ourselves on these beliefs and not keeping them secret but sharing them with the business community,”  said Tamar. 

Many aspects of New Belgium’s triple bottom line belief fall in line with Jewish values that CSU Hillel strives for, including Tikkun Olam and sustainability. 

“Absolutely, it is similar. I went to a Jewish day school and we learned about Tikkun Olam and it’s an important value I always have. One of the things New Belgium gives employees is one hour of paid time off for every two hours you volunteer, so it’s always been important to me to volunteer. It’s nice to know at the end of the day my company values volunteering and giving back so much that they even want to offer us paid time off to do so, and I think that’s really special,” added Tamar.

CSU Hillel director Alex Amichilavskiy chats and shares a beer with others.

Because Tamar has been brewing beer for 17 years, 10.5 at New Belgium,  I needed an expert to explain the differences between U.S. and Israeli beer. 

“The hard part for Israel is that the ingredients aren’t really there, so it’s hard for them to get the hops. Also it is warmer and the climate there is more suited for lighter lagers instead of IPA’s. That’s why we see more beers there like Maccabi and Gold Star in Israel, they are lighter lagers like Coors,” said Tamar.

Part of Tamar’s knowledge is from her time spent in Israel when she moved their to open up a brewery in Tel Aviv. Although it didn’t work out, the experience was invaluable to her career and has only expanded her knowledge of beer, as well as the global beer market. 

The tour was fun for all that came and included conversations about Jewish life in Fort Collins.  The group of emerging and young professionals greatly enjoyed the tastings of beer and the fun environment at New Belgium.

“I really enjoyed it; the slide towards the ends was a lot of fun too. It was nice to hang with friends and get free beer,” said senior Hillel leadership member Lindsay Robinson. 

A group shot of the seniors and young professionals on the tour. Tour guide Tamar Banner  farthest to the right.

My name is David Kravitz. I’m a senior journalism major and this semester I’m writing stories for Hillel. I love to tell stories and write. I’m originally from Washington state. I enjoy cooking, writing, laughing with friends and enjoy dogs more than people. 

CSU Hillel serves as an important bridge from the Jewish kid world to the Jewish adult world. We empower students to become leaders, and provide a warm and welcoming home-away-from-home for every student. Additionally, at CSU Hillel we take pride in cultivating a strong community with our weekly shabbats, sustainability projects and community mitzvahs around Fort Collins, as well as, helping our students learn about Judaism and Israel in whatever capacity most comfortable to them. To learn more about CSU Hillel visit our website and make sure to follow us on social media on Facebook at CSU Hillel and Twitter @CSUHillel.