The Brewski Report Reviews New Belgium Brewing’s Fat Tire Ale and Eating Road Food for a Living.
File Date: 3.25.2010
File Name: Free Doesn’t Always Equate To Wise Choice.
The Beer: Fat Tire
Type: American Amber/Red Ale
Stats: 5.2% ABV
Brewer: New Belgium Brewing Company
Web Site: http://www.newbelgium.com
Country of Origin: CO, USA
Brewer Info: As our aspiring young homebrewer rides his mountain bike with “fat tires” through European villages famous for beer, New Belgium Brewing Company was but a glimmer in his eye. Or basement. For Jeff Lebesch would return to Fort Collins with a handful of ingredients and an imagination full of recipes. And then there was beer. Jeff’s first two basement-brewed creations? A brown dubbel with earthy undertones named Abbey and a remarkably well-balanced amber he named Fat Tire. To say the rest was history would be to overlook his wife’s involvement. Kim Jordan was New Belgium’s first bottler, sales rep, distributor, marketer and financial planner. And now, she’s our CEO. The other side of the New Belgium story isn’t as romantic as bicycling through Europe, but it gives testament to our dedication and hard work. And it goes like this: Jeff, an electrical engineer by day and tinkerer by nature, builds a homebrewing kit in his basement out of repurposed dairy equipment. His Belgian inspired brews garnered enough praise from friends and neighbors that Jeff and Kim take their basement brewery commercial in 1991.
Brewer Brand Hype: Named in honor of our founder Jeff’s bike trip through Belgium, Fat Tire Amber Ale marks a turning point in the young electrical engineer’s home brewing. Belgian beers use a far broader palette of ingredients (fruits, spices, esoteric yeast strains) than German or English styles. Jeff found the Belgian approach freeing. Upon his return, Jeff created Fat Tire and Abbey Belgian Ale, (assuming Abbey would be his big gun). He and his wife, Kim traveled around sampling their homebrews to the public. Fat Tire’s appeal quickly became evident. People liked everything about it. Except the name. Fat Tire won fans with its sense of balance: toasty, biscuit-like malt flavors coasting in equilibrium with hoppy freshness.
Label: Tried this one as a draft beer. No bottle to read while I drink.
The Brewski Review: Drank this one on a business road trip. The glass was tall and the beer was cold. It was good. Being sent out on the road can have it’s advantages. Food and beverages paid for by the company. A great deal if you like to eat out. But, unlike others, I try not to eat out much. Eating road food for 3 or 4 days in a row becomes quite unappealing. No matter how healthy its claim, I always feel as though I’m doing more damage to my body than good. Couple this with my low salt diet and only then you can understand my quandry: eat like a rabbit or eat tasty food laced with two times the DRA of calories and sodium. I can also keep this in perspective by considering truck drivers and other individuals who don’t stray too far from the interstate system or have time to seek healthier alternatives than gas station food. Yikes! It’s even more challenging for them to keep their arteries from clogging. Slice it anyway you want, I could never be a road warrier. Night after night of late night dinner and drinks is not something I could physically do for extended periods of time. So, I give a thumbs up to anyone who can manage this feat. You have a much stronger constitution than myself. And, what a perfect segway from talking road stories and business travel than drinking a beer called Fat Tire. Fat Tire was a little sweet to my palate but I like that. Overall, it was good with just the hint of bitterness. Give this one a try all you legions of road soldiers. I think you’ll like it. Keep the tires fat and not your gut: eat smart and drink in moderation (but not while driving).
Drinkability: Enjoyed this one.
Appearance: Pale Amber.
The Buds: Sweet. Mildly bitter.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.25 out of 5.