First Draft columnist Collin Castore says the mild Belgian amber ale is entirely drinkable but not quite worthy of the hype.
New Belgium Brewing quietly has become the third largest craft brewery in the country and, as of several weeks ago, made its entrance into the Ohio market.
Much of the Fort Collins, Colo., -based brewery's success can be attributed to its flagship amber ale, Fat Tire, which retails locally for $2.99 for a 22-ounce bottle or $4.25 a pint at some local taverns.
But it begs the question: Does Fat Tire live up to the hype?
It is a slightly toasty, slightly hoppy, mildly malty and ever so slightly Belgian amber that at its core is highly "drinkable". Drinkable is usually akin to an insult in the craft beer world, something reserved for bland, macro-produced American lagers, but here it is actually a pretty apt descriptor.
Will you like it? Probably. It's hard not to. Is it really that great? No, but it will soon be everywhere and, in a pinch, I would definitely choose it over any number of skunky imports or bland light lagers. It is also a good stepping stone beer for those who are willing to explore the world of craft beer.
Fat Tire is an unassuming beer that, for better or worse, has had a mantle of greatness placed on it.
Collin Castore is a founding partner of Bodega, Barrel & Bottle and Seventh Son Brewing Co.