I can’t imagine a world without Fat Tire. I know, that sounds a bit hyperbolic, but I don’t think there’s a single beer that has had any greater impact on the world of craft beer in this country. Fat Tire, an easy drinking amber, worked like a wedge that opened the palates of thousands of beer drinkers, prepping them for the wild, wonderful flavors of craft beer to come. Fat Tire is the gateway beer. Or I should say, it was the gateway beer. Considering the vast choices that are on the market today, I’m not sure that Fat Tire holds the same lofty position as it did back in the ‘90s and early 2000s. Back in the day, there was a solid chance that Fat Tire was the first craft beer someone fell in love with. I doubt it’s the same scenario today.
So it makes sense that New Belgium would want to revamp the beer for its 25th birthday. Relax, they’re not changing the recipe (anyone remember the “New Coke” debacle?). New Belgium partnered with a handful of breweries to create riffs Fat Tire. The result is a collaboration 12 pack with five radically different takes on the iconic amber ale. Seriously, it gets weird in this combo pack. Allagash creates a funky version, Firestone Walker hops the shit out it and Rhinegeist turns it into a pale ale. Hopworks Urban Brewery, out of Portland, takes it the furthest by creating a sour apple version of Fat Tire. Sour apple! Oh, Portland.
The 12 packs should be hitting stores soon. Keep an eye out and be ready to rediscover an icon. I think after trying the sour apple version, we’ll all have a greater appreciation for the original.