Fat Tire by New Belgium Brewing Co. is a bit of a controversial beer. There are a lot of people that find the beer bland, not very good, and overrated. Naysayers! There are also a lot of people that love the beer because it’s an easy to drink beer and is consistent on taste. I personally fall in the middle. I find the beer to be not exciting in the least, but I also love the consistent taste. Some people have a standard beer they turn to when they can’t decide on something or when they hang out with friends (usually a larger conglomerate non-American company). Patriotic props to American Craft Brewers. For me, Fat Tire is just that type of beer. If there is nothing else to try, I turn to Fat Tire. Another reason I turn to it is that it is the only New Belgium Brewing Company product that you can buy in the state of Kansas in cans. Earlier I did a review of Ranger IPA based on can versus bottle. Well, Ranger IPA is a Colorado exclusive. In cans that is. You can buy the bottles in Kansas. The same goes for Sunshine Wheat. Which tastes like Fruit Loops, but that’s a whole other story. I recently emailed New Belgium asking if they were planning on getting rid of the bottles and if they were planning on bringing the cans of the others to Kansas. They responded and told me they were not getting rid of the bottles and the cans were a Colorado exclusive but might make it here in the future. I personally like the cans over the bottles. I guess one of the problems seems to be people only buy the cans in the summer and switch back to bottles in the winter. I just don’t understand that.
The beer pours a very nice amber color with an off white (probably cream colored I’m sure I would call it ecru or something) head. The aroma is a sweet maltiness with just a hint of toastinesss. The taste is semi-sweet caramel with a bit of fruitiness. There really isn’t any bitterness to it as it is only 18.5 IBU. The alcohol is pretty standard as well at 5.2% ABV. The low IBU and alcohol make this beer really (and easily) drinkable. The other great thing about it (at least for people just stepping into the craft beer world) is that it is not super beer flavored. This is one of those beers that goes well anytime with multitude of things (food, people, places, etc.).
Amber ales are a relatively simple beer. If you consider richly malted well balanced beers simple. They are well-balanced, crisp, sweet, and not very bitter. It is also one of the styles that seemingly everybody has. From coast to coast almost every brewery has one. Here are few examples that you might consider trying.
Annie’s Amber Ale – High Noon Saloon & Brewery
Drop Top Amber – Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.
Ad Astra Ale – Free State Brewing Co.
Amber Ale – Boulevard Brewing Co.
Levity Amber Ale – Odell Brewing Co.
Like I said these are just few.