Friday, June 5, 2009

The McBone Beer Journal; Fat Tire Ale


Confession time: I have a weakness for beer in cans. If I'm going to drink a crap beer, like Budweiser, I want it to be can, so that when I'm done drinking I at least have something to smash against my forehead. Now the beer in question is not a crap beer, and when I saw the big blue box of can-conditioned ale and the familiar, unforgettable label with the red bicycle, I knew I'd be forking over $15 for a case of Fat Tire.

Fat Tire in cans! I had tipped many a bottle of this heavenly brew in my Boulder, Colorado days, but here was one of my all-time favorites, stacked five cases high in my favorite liquor store in West Lafayette, Indiana. Truly there must be a god (but probably not).

Knowing that the New Belgium Brewing Company has high standards for excellence, I wasn't surprised to read that, to ensure the fresh quality of their beer, a carefully measured dose of yeast is added to each can. But there was more! and verily my heart swelled within the confines of my ribcage to read that the brewery is wind powered (to assure a low carbon footprint) and employee owned (to assure a certain percentage of dirty rotten red stinking commies).

I cracked open a can and poured to find the perfect amber glow, and just enough foam to leave a lovely lacing on the glass. The nose was a swirl of butterscotch, but I didn't waste much time sniffing.

A sip of Fat Tire does not explode in the mouth, rather it gently proffers a bounty of delights. While dozens of beers claim to be "perfectly balanced" (usually code for "tasteless"), here's one that actually is. Generously malty and toasty, but not so much that you would call this a winter ale. Hoppy and crisp, but not so assertively hoppy that it tastes like a glass of grapefruit juice. Fat Tire is an earthy, caramel, buttered-toast and apple ale with just a twinge of lemon. It's refreshing, yes, but it gives you something to chew on as well. Sweet and bitter. Delicate and complex. Yin and yang. That's balance, offering much, but forcing nothing, and leaving the drinker with a perfect sense of inner tranquility. Shanti, shanti, shanti

Would it be too much to call Fat Tire one of the World's Great Beers? Hell no.

McBone Beer Rating: 5.0 McBones.

nwb

6 comments:

Kid Shay said...

A fitting tribute to a fine, fine beer. By the way, that label is no joke: Fat Tire tastes great after a bike ride.

Nate and Jeff Bowler, Co-Captains said...

I hope to crack open a Fat Tire with you someday soon, my friend.

nwb

StevenLink said...

I haven't tried Fat Tire in cans, but my Colorado days also saw lots of it and other New Belgium brews. Try the 22 oz. bottles of 1554 and Mothership Wit (organice wheat), too. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Fat Tire is my least favorite of all of New Belgium's brews. But now that you've described it so well, I'll have to give it another try.

Nate and Jeff Bowler, Co-Captains said...

Yeah, I've never had a New Belgium brew that I didn't like, although I admit I'm having trouble distinguishing them now, since it's been a few years. I guess I'll just have to start drinking it again. Rats.

nwb

Darin said...

My Colorado days also consisted of many an empty Fat Tire bottle. When I was moving back to the other side of the Mississippi, I took more than a full case with me since I knew I wouldn't find any in Ohio. These days in San Francisco, I don't drink too much, but when I want to partake in a perfect ale, it's a Fat Tire. I've never seen those can, though, but would gladly crack one open if given the chance.

Nate and Jeff Bowler, Co-Captains said...

It seems like all of my friends have gone through a strange phase that can only be described as "My Colorado Days." Coincidence? Methinks not!

nwb