Posts Tagged ‘founders’

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 http://www.newbelbium.com), 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?

BREAKING NEWS FLASH: I guess I should have checked the Virginia ABC website last night before I posted this, but INDEED Founders KBS has received label approval in the Commonwealth, meaning that the distributor, Hop & Wine Beverage, LLC, should be able to start shipping to NoVa retailers within the next day or so.

BTW, the official name of the beer in Virginia is: KBS HIGHLY ACCLAIMED FLAVORED STOUT ALE BREWED WITH CHOCOLATE & COFFEE IN BOURBON BARRELS. Ahhhhh, bureaucracy!

You heard it here first (probably)!

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(The following was originally posted 11:30 p.m., Sunday, June 6, 2010)

Is that light we see at the end of the tunnel concerning the long-awaited release of Founders KBS in Northern Virginia or is it just a steam engine racing toward us to dash our dreams to bits?

A knowledgeable source informed me late last week that officials at the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has given the green light to whatever was holding up KBS on their end and that the Virginia ABC officials should be able to take action soon to allow the sale of the Michigan bourbon-barrel-aged, chocolate-oatmeal imperial stout formerly known as “Kentucky Breakfast Stout” in the commonwealth in the very near future.

When will that be, you may ask? Well, the Beermudgeon got out of the prognostication game a long time ago, especially when it deals with predictioning when (or how) a governmental bureaucracy will act. But we’ve got our fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, think of it this way — the beer’s distributor, Hop & Wine Beverage, LLC, is aging the beer for us in their lovely, temperature-controlled warehouse in Sterling, Va., at no added cost (we hope). When we finally get it, it should be quite lovely.