Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fat Tire rolls into Durham

So that’s what all the fuss is about.
Fat Tire, the beloved beer of so many and the long-for beer of so many others, was one of the new beers at this year’s World Beer Festival in Durham, N.C.

And you know, it ain’t too bad.
For years I’ve read about the beer brewed in Ft. Collins, Colo. On message boards, those who've had it swear by it and lament the fact that they can’t get it once they move east. For folks like me who have never traveled to Colorado, such talk creates curiosity. What is it about this beer that makes so many people long for it? There are a lot of beers brewed in Colorado that are available nationally, so why all the fuss over Fat Tire?
During the Brewers Association’s Savor event in D.C. last February, I asked Kim Jordan, the head of New Belgium Brewing, if she planned to distribute Fat Tire any further east than Tennessee. Not at the moment, she said. If I was that interested, she invited me to visit the brewery.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to travel that far (though a trip to Colorado wouldn’t be a bad thing). New Belgium set up a booth at the Durham festival and brought its famous beer. Though the brewery was at the back of the festival site, it was my first stop. And the charming couple working the booth was more than happy to put up with my picture taking and questions.
Like I said, Fat Tire is a pretty solid ale. And as a former North Carolina resident and fan of the many breweries in the Triangle and across the Tar Heel state, I understand where Fat Tire’s fans are coming from.
If I could get sixers of Foothills and Big Boss here in D.C., maybe I wouldn't be as enamored with them. After all, we tend to want what we can’t have. Or maybe they're really as good as I think they are. Of course, taste is relative.
During the festival I heard rumors that New Belgium is considering making Fat Tire and its other beers available on the East Coast. I’d be tickled if they did. But I also wonder whether doing so would deflate Fat Tire’s mystique.
Now, New Belgium wasn’t the only new face at the festival. One of Utah’s very few breweries, Uinta Brewing Company, showed up with a half dozen offerings from its product line, including its Angler Pale Ale. Despite coming from a state known more for Mormons and teetotaling, Uinta produces a quality beer. And unlike New Belgium, I’ve already seen Uinta’s beers show up around D.C.

And now, the rest of the rest from the festival. Normally, there would be more photos, but my battery died and using my camera phone got old fast.

(Wedge Brewing Company)

(Rogue Brewing)

(Hook and Ladder Brewing Company)

(Ft. Collins Brewery)

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