Daily beer project

Fat Tire

Posted in American Craft Beer by dailybeerproject on March 1, 2010

I took a long weekend and headed out with the family for a little out-of-state road trip, which meant opportunities to try some beers not available at home as well as to try “full strength” beer on tap. Since I like to ride mountain bikes and New Belgium does a lot to support mountain biking, trying Fat Tire amber ale was high on my list, and the restaurant where we ate Saturday night had it on tap (they also served alligator, which is neither here nor there to this project, but I thought I’d mention it since I’ve never eat a reptile of any kind before).

Fat Tire is awesome. In fact, it may be the most awesome beer I’ve had. I don’t know. It is really, really, really, ridiculously good, though. Good enough that I went to the store the next day and bought some in bottles to take home. It’s also available in cans–perfect for camping–so I’m not real happy about the fact that it’s not available where I live. As far as what makes it awesome, it’s hard to say. I think it’s just that all the flavors are good, and there’s nothing that isn’t good about it. No aftertaste. No bitterness. Just the right amount of hops and malt and smoothness. It’s just yummy, yummy beer.

Problem is, we were sitting outside at the restaurant where I had the Fat Tire, and it started raining. So we walked back to the hotel and went to the hotel bar where I tried an Alaskan Amber Ale. Which is also good. They’re both ambers, but quite different from one another. The Alaskan is good. I wouldn’t rate it awesome, but it’s good. It’s got a kind of smoky flavor to it that I didn’t expect and that I’m not sure how I feel about, but it was still a tasty beer.

Last night we went to a Mexican restaurant that offered a broad selection of bottled macrobrews. I could have played it safe and ordered Negra Modelo, but in keeping with the spirit of this project, I opted for Modelo Especial instead. We can get this at home, but it’s a 4% abv grocery store beer. I liked the Especial better than the other Mexican lagers I’ve tried, Corona and Tecate, but it’s not as good as Negra, and I think Negra stands up to Mexican food a little better. Especial is good with chips and salsa, though.

After the Especial, I ordered a Coors. Like Budweiser and PBR, Coors is a thirst quenching beer, not a tasting beer. It doesn’t taste bad by any means, it just goes down easy and fast. I wouldn’t turn one down if offered, but paying $5 for a bottle at a restaurant is not something I’ll ever do again.

Summary thoughts: I’ll admit that before taking this trip, I had a bit of apprehension about how I’d respond to “full-strength” beers and whether I’d notice any bitterness. I noticed none at all. I’m torn, however, about whether I’m ready to start lobbying the legislature for changes to our liquor laws. But that’s only because we have some really fantastic local breweries making 4% abv beer. I don’t know whether they’d do well if they had to compete with New Belgium and Sierra Nevada, among others, for sales of beer on tap and at the grocery store. As much as I’d like to be able to get Fat Tire at home, I don’t know if it would be worth it if it put Squatters or Bohemian out of business.

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9 Responses

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  1. Alex/Watcher said, on March 1, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Fat Tire is Awesome Wife’s favorite beer (and I enjoy it as well). Whenever one of my road trips crosses the state line I am obligated to bring some back home.

  2. mtb w said, on March 1, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Fat Tire is just incredible. NB also makes a great wheat beer, excellent when warmer weather rolls around (but you must put a orange slice in it).

  3. etiberius said, on March 4, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    I used to think Fat Tire and the rest of New Belgium’s regular beers were great, but now I’ve lost my taste for them. It might be because I haven’t had them on tap much, but they just don’t seem particularly interesting. Don’t get me wrong, they are all very drinkable but just not special.

  4. […] High Life Posted in Uncategorized by dailybeerproject on March 18, 2010 I’ve tried Coors. I’ve tried PBR. I’ve tried Budweiser. Figured I may as well round out the big […]

  5. […] Negra Modelo is also a Mexican lager, but it’s not a typical Mexican lager like its sister, Modelo Especial. I would think most brewers would set their sights a little higher than a typical Mexican lager, […]

  6. […] beers. Full Sail seems to capture that perfectly. Any twinges of regret that I can’t get Fat Tire locally have more or less gone away since trying this. Awesome through and […]

  7. Catching up « Daily beer project said, on August 22, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    […] Belgium Mighty Arrow: I was in Wyoming for a bike race a couple weeks ago. My wife bought some Fat Tire to have at the finish line, which was awesome. But it was a stage race, so the next day I decided to […]

  8. […] charge a premium for it. And it tastes good. It’s not the best amber I’ve had (Fat Tire gets that distinction). It’s not even the best local amber I’ve had (Dead Horse gets […]

  9. New Benelux? « Daily beer project said, on October 20, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    […] two offerings in the folly pack, Fat Tire and Ranger, I’ve reviewed before. Read about them here and […]


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