Fat Tire Amber Ale is, I think, the best selling beer that comes out of New Belgium Brewing. This is a beer that I’ve been hearing a lot about since we started The Brew Club, but its not something that seems to make its way out to New Jersey.
Anyway, I was wondering if this beer would live up to its hype and so I was looking forward to giving it a try and seeing what its about.
Fat Tire checks in at 5.2% ABV, and, as I mentioned, its an amber ale, so it should be no surprise what color it is in the glass! (You can look at the picture to verify if you wish!) It created a bit of an off-white head, but it was gone completely only a few moments after the picture was snapped. There is a remnant foam layer and some lacing appears when the beer is swirled in the glass. Looking closely at my beer, there were many tiny solid particles floating about – almost snow globish in appearance.
The aroma was OK. I found it to be mostly biscuty, lightly malty and it had something that I could best describe as a slight alcohol scent. Sounds kind of dumb, I know, (duh, its beer) but it stood out a little more than I would have expected and it turned me off a bit.
The taste is pretty close to how its described on the New Belgium website… “toasty, biscuit-like malt flavors coasting in equilibrium with hoppy freshness.” except I found it to be much less interesting. The taste was certainly malty, but I found the Fat Tire a little too sweet for my liking. There didn’t seem to be much in the way of complexity to this beer – not interesting at all in my opinion.
In addition, the beer was pretty thin, and the slightly bitter aftertaste wasn’t all that gratifying either.
So, what can I make of this? Well, I’ll say that possibly I can understand why Fat Tire is New Belgium’s best-selling beer. Its not incredibly interesting, (its quite boring actually) but at the same time it isn’t a bad beer. I could see giving this beer to people new to the craft-beer scene, perhaps making it on the ‘best beer for beginners’ list. Its not something that can possibly scare anyone away! So Fat Tire could be a good craft-beer ambassador or ‘crossover beer’.
On the other hand, that’s also what is going to make this a forgettable beer for me. Much like the standard-fare from Magic Hat, this beer doesn’t stand out in my mind as anything special. I’ll likely forget it as soon as I publish this post!
That said, I wouldn’t mind trying other beers from New Belgium Brewing. I really like their corporate culture, employee-owned company, beer in cans, brewery in Colorado, they’ve got to make SOME good beers! Fat Tire just didn’t do it for me.
What about you?