I’m not sure if they dipped their rear wheels in the Missouri River, but New Belgium Brewing Company’s beers have arrived in Iowa.
New Belgium was slated for a launch party at El Bait Shop, in Des Moines, prior to statewide availability on September 10. In a weird twist of well-oiled logistics, stores received deliveries on Thursday, the 6th, and sales were under way ahead of schedule.
Complete with a custom Iowa label for their flagship Fat Tire Amber Ale, New Belgium also unleashed their Mothership Wit and 1554 Enlightened Black Ale. The Fat Tire label includes a red panel, which reads, “Fat’s Inaugural Great Beer Ride Across Iowa.” New Belgium’s affection for cycling is no secret, and this phrase smiles at Iowa’s famous week-long bikeride, RAGBRAI, or Register’s Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. This summer marked the 35th ride sponsored by the Des Moines Register.
Myself a 2-year RAGBRAI veteran (RAGBRAIs XXV and XXVI), I find the prospect of a relationship between these two lovely entities enticing. A return to the Ride is in my future, and even more interesting if I know I’ll be fueled by one of my favorite breweries.
There’s a lot of buzz about Fat Tire, and a fair amount of backlash, too, in the world of beergeekdom. I’ve felt both. I’ll never forget my first Fattie, on tap in Telluride after a long day of skiing. It was in the early days of my Good Beer Life, and a beer that surged my passion. I drank a lot of Fat Tire, and other NB beers, in my days of living in Arizona. While in North Carolina, I had to rely on trips to the West (mine and others) to sip this nectar. There were a couple of times that Fat Tire didn’t seem to measure up to my memories, and I’ve heard others say the same.
I looked forward to another taste, as I’m sure nothing’s changed but my tastebuds, perceptions and the other beers now available. Has my affection for intense Russian Imperial Stouts simply made Fat Tire seem a little too small? Am I just obnoxious? Do We, the People, raise up breweries and tear them down just like we do politicians and celebrities?
A trip to Fleur Wine and Ale yesterday revealed that the Mothership Wit sold out over the weekend. When I got home, I poured that much anticipated “fair shake” glass of Fattie, and feel strongly that I must have had a couple of bad bottles in my NC days, whether oldish, or poorly handled. This beer was quite nice. It isn’t meant to have the intensity of a full-bodied RIS; it’s an incredible, tasty brew for making everyday drinking a wonderful experience.
My own backlash, thankfully, is over. I appreciate this beer for what it is, and what it has done for craft beer. And I very much look forward to this beer on draught.