Posts Tagged ‘Flat Tire’

Today’s the day that New Belgium Brewing Co. releases its Fat Tire Amber and six other beers in the VA/DC/MD market. To say that this has been one of the most-hyped beer introductions in recent memory would be a disservice to the efforts put forth by New Belgium and their distribution partners. “Hype” only scratches the surface.

Despite a few bumps along the way (I particularly enjoyed placards distributed throughout Northern Virginia imploring aficionados to visit, the release of Fat Tire and friends has been a wonder to behold. And yet …

Whither the NBBC products themselves? I count myself among the puzzled few who just don’t “get” the flagship Fat Tire brew. For years, I’ve had people ask me where they can get this golden elixir that they first had while living out West or skiing at Vail or had smuggled in by a friend. (This reminds me of stories I heard from my dad about Coors Banquet Beer back in the early 1970s.) When, oh when, would this precious brew find its way East?

When I’ve found it available during my travels, I would partake of a pint of Fat Tire just to see if its appeal would finally reveal itself to me. But, if anything, I’ve found this slightly too-sweet, somewhat too-lagery-tasting brew to be less interesting with each subsequent tasting. Yet people continue to tell me that Fat (or as many would say, “Flat”) Tire is the Best. Beer. Ever.

Well, OK, if you think so, then I guess it is for you. Ever the Beermudgeon, I still try not to be a Beer Snob or a Beer Nerd. I’m fascinated to try to understand why many feel Fat Tire is the Holy Grail. Perhaps these are the people who are weaning from Miller Lite, Bud Light Lime and Yeungling. If so, it’s a step forward, I’ll grant you that. But I wouldn’t even place it among the best US craft ambers, such as North Coast Red Seal, New Holland Sundog and Breckenridge Avalanche, to name a few.

Despite all this, there are many NBBC brews I have enjoyed, including their ambitious La Folie sour ale. When trying a sample of their first batch (I believe)at a Smithsonian Associates tasting at DC’s RFD in 2002, I told New Belgium’s husband/wife brewing team that it would be a great component of a unique vinaigrette dressing to rather cold stares. I meant it as a compliment, though I doubt it was received as such.

Anyway, here we are nearly a decade later. Fat Tire and friends have arrived in the DC area, while I am sitting on the beach of an inland Michigan lake sipping a Bell’s Oberon, to be followed by a Founders Centennial IPA, a Two Hearted Ale or a North Peak Diabolical IPA.

Am I missing anything?