Fat Tire (new Belgium Brewing)

After a momentary delay, September’s THEME WEEK resumes.  Day 6 brings the flagship beer of New Belgium Brewing Company’s roster.  Day 6’s brew: Fat Tire.
Fat Tire is the first widely available beer from Fort Collins’ own New Belgium Brewery.  This amber ale was one of the first beers to spark my love and craft beer.  It clocks in with an easy drinking 5.2% ABV.
Named in honor of our founder Jeff’s bike trip through Belgium, Fat Tire Amber Ale marks a turning point in the young electrical engineer’s home brewing. Belgian beers use a far broader palette of ingredients (fruits, spices, esoteric yeast strains) than German or English styles. Jeff found the Belgian approach freeing. Upon his return, Jeff created Fat Tire and Abbey Belgian Ale, (assuming Abbey would be his big gun). He and his wife, Kim traveled around sampling their homebrews to the public. Fat Tire’s appeal quickly became evident. People liked everything about it. Except the name. Fat Tire won fans with its sense of balance: toasty, biscuit-like malt flavors coasting in equilibrium with hoppy freshness.
Fat Tire pours a very light amber color, with golden highlights.  The bubbly head starts off as 3 inches of foamy creme before fading to a half-inch crown.
Sweet malts invade the nostrils as you sniff this beer.  I picked up caramel, and to a lesser degree, biscuit malts with a brown sugar sweetness.  Very faint floral hops are buried underneath.
The taste starts with a slight bitterness that quickly fades into a sweet malt backbone.  Caramel flavors are detectable, along with toffee and biscuit like notes.  It seems like I also noticed some honey in the backend.  However, the flavors lose a bit of their edge as the beer warms.
This thin-to-medium bodied brew dries your mouth, but leaves a residual sweetness.  Definitely easy drinking.
Fat Tire is one of the first beers I had ever had that destroyed my idea of what “beer” was.  And for this I believe that my opinions on this beer are slightly skewed.  However, Fat Tire is a flavorful beer that’s great for a session.
Overall: 8.5 out of 10
As an AMBER ALE: 8 out of 10

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