What is twenty five years to most people?
It’s way more than the average age of kids attending Colorado State University. It’s a quarter of a century, which is crazy, but that’s math. We’re not mathematicians, but we’ll believe them.
Do you know what else is twenty five years old? New Belgium Brewing. We’ll let that sink in for a bit.
Yes, one of the pioneering founders of the craft beer movement has just hit the age where they aren’t eligible for their parents’ health insurance. But we digress.
New Belgium has long since been pioneers of the craft beer industry. Who else started sneaking bottles of Fat Tire when they hit puberty? We know you’re out there. Geez, Fat Tire pretty much is the lifeblood of New Belgium. It’s what you order when you’re visiting relatives and there’s nothing else on the menu. If you’ve been drinking it since the beginning, you’ll swear the flavor changed when they started pasteurizing bottles. You’re a Fat Tire pro, and you know it.
So, for the anniversary of making it 25 revolutions around the sun, New Belgium has thrown everyone who loves Fat Tire a curve ball. They’ve “craft-beer-ized” the Fat Tire brand and in some ways brought things full circle.
Starting now, you’ll be able to find “Collabeeration Packs” at your liquor store. What does Collabeeration mean? It means that New Belgium has worked with 5 other breweries to produce Fat Tire in new, fun and otherwise ridiculous ways. Because why would they mess with greatness? Let other people do that.
Thanks to the local Colorado Springs Beer Ranger Travis Flett, we got a box of the brand spanking new Fat Tire and Friends mix pack and here’s what we thought of the beers. We knew we were in for a treat, but it defied expectations. To help with disseminating each beer, we brought Darcie from The Little London Show, another show on KCMJ to help get a good feel for each of these beers.
Fat Hoppy Ale — Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Holy crap this is hoppy. Apart from new Belgium’s collaboration with Alpine brewing a few years ago, this may be one of our favorite all time hoppy beers from the big NB. Firestone Walker pulled no punches out of the gate in making this the “hoppy” version of Fat Tire. Serve this blindly to any craft beer fan and they’ll be begging for more. Mosaic, Citra, Mandarina Bavaria…need anymore buzzword hops? This beer is good.
Darcie says: Too hoppy, but the malt helps balance it out.
Fat Funk Ale — Allagash Brewing Company
“We got the funk…we got the funk…” Wow! Rob and Jason at Allagash really pushed the envelope with this one. Utilizing the De Dolle House Belgian yeast, they created a monster. Lots of spice add to the malty backbone of Fat Tire, but don’t overpower it. The notes of spice make this a version of Fat Tire that could be enjoyed at any time of year.
Darcie says: “pairs well with both cranberry jelly as well as a s’more”
Fat Sour Apple Ale — Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB)
Now, we’ve been fans of Trinity Brewing and Epic Brewing’s collaboration Wild Apple Saison for years now, so we sort of knew what to expect from HUB doing a similar experiment with Fat Tire. Sadly, this was the one beer that fell short of expectations. The description details a “snap of tartness, courtesy of Lactobacillus,” yet we’re still waiting for the snap. The apple is there, but after the initial fizz on your tongue, where you’d expect the lactic tartness to kick in, we just got a wash of apple juice. Don’t get us wrong, this is a great beer, but the promise of “sour” we felt was lacking. One interesting fact is that this is the only beer in the pack that is certified USDA Organic.
Darcie says: “Didn’t live up the aroma. More sour please!”
Fat Wild Ale — Avery Brewing Company
When we first heard of this project, we thought having a wild ale, a funky ale, and a wild ale would be almost too much. Avery has convinced us otherwise. If you’re at a party where one of these is cracked open, reach for the orange bike. This beer is full of flavor, complexity and everything you’d expect from an Avery version of Fat Tire. Avery used Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Drie, some fruity hops and the usual Fat Tire malt bill to create an incredible beer.
Darcie says: “When I think of craft beer, this is what comes to mind. Amazing beer.”
Fat Pale Ale — Rhinegeist Brewery
“Fat Tire to the X, P, and A.” Oxford commas aside, Rhinegeist decided to take the Fat Tire recipe and throw a little new-school ideology at it. Using Belgian yeast alongside European and Colorado (yay colorado!) malts, they created a beer that has the maltiness of Fat Tire, but with the fruity flavors imparted by Belgian yeast and some dank hops. Damn this beer is good.
Darcie says: “I wish this was sour. It’s juicy, but I want it to be sour-juicy, not hops-juicy.”
Fat Tire Amber Ale — New Belgium Brewing
“It’s time to celebrate the beer that was conceived on a bike 25 years ago in Belgium. Fat Tire’s perfect balance of biscuity malt flavor and hoppy freshness has always cruised with Belgian imagination and inspires us onward. Kickstand up! The future needs good beer”
Fat Tire is comfort food for the beer world. It’s mom’s mac and cheese, a clean, comforting experience. This is why you started drinking craft beer. This is why we started drinking craft beer. This is why the world is a better place.
Thank you to New Belgium for making Fat Tire. It has kickstarted a generation, even before crowd funding was a real thing. You’ve taken the craft beer dream and continuously made it approachable, accessible, but more than ever, you’ve made it fun. Keep doing what you’re doing. We love you. Cheers!!!