Fat Tire Amber Ale - New Belgium Brewing

Not Rated.
Fat Tire Amber AleFat Tire Amber Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

1,853 Reviews
THE BROS
82
good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,853
Hads: 7,606
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 13.54%
Wants: 187
Gots: 1,496 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 10-07-2000

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,853 | Hads: 7,606
Photo of watermelonman
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This poured with a nice deep amber color, without much head.

Grains come through dominating all aspects of the taste. Carmel is slightly evident, along with a very minor hop profile. It's a pretty straightforward offering, and it's not too bad by any means. (261 characters)

Photo of studentofbeer
3.96/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

New Belgium's Fat Tire is from what I understand one of the great successes of craft brewing in America, with a decent amount of crossover appeal between beer nerds/geeks/snobs and your average drinker. I've also heard it is an overrated brew that's nothing special. When I found some on my recent trip to Texas, I had to give it a shot.

The bottle is very nice--the raised lip at the base of the neck recalls Westmalle. The beer poured out into a straight-sided imperial pint a brilliantly clear honey orange with an almost pink hue. The shortish white head died off pretty fast, but the color in the sunlight is pretty impressive.

A lot of roasted, toasty flavors came through the nose, with banana, roasted nut, burnt malt, apple and soap also figuring in the aroma. It was an interesting scent but not completely inviting.

I let this one sit out a bit so serving temperature was probably more than 50 degrees-- right around cellar temp. The first sip was almost too roasty, with not many flavors peaking through. Coming back for my next sip, a bit larger this time, I found a mouthful of candy sugar sweetness giving way to the darker roasted flavor, which leaves a tobacco taste in the back of the throat.

A bready malt flavor and hints of orange shows up in the middle and in the aftertaste, and the rather thick, oily body coats the mouth.

I had this beer a couple of times during the week in Texas and it didn't taste as good as it did today. I think each of the other times I tasted it the beer was too cold, leaving the roasted flavors intact but killing off the sweet sugar and bread, which made for a pretty unbalanced beer. At cellar temperature it's actually rather tasty, and would make an excellent session beer. Especially for an amber--not one of my favorite styles--Fat Tire does a nice job. The candy sugar/bready tastes put the beer somewhere between Belgium and England, a nice compromise for an everyday offering.

The roasted, toasty flavors still feel a bit oppressive and the slippery mouthfeel lasts a bit too long, but overall it's an enjoyable drink especially at a warmer temperature. Not sure what I would pair this with, although I think it would have been a better choice with the Pad Thai I had last night than the brewery's Biere de Mars, which was overwhelmed pretty fast by the dish.

I can see why this beer has its supporters and detractors, and while it may not be intensely complex as what one might expect from a Belgian pale ale--for instance there isn't much in terms of yeast flavor--it's a good beer that I wouldn't mind drinking for a session, especially if I was feeling burned out on the pale ale American superhop bandwagon of beers. (2,702 characters)

Photo of HiroProtagonist
3.15/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Fat Tire was served from a 12 oz bottle. In a pint glass, the beer was a very attractive shiny and metallic clear amber, and was topped by an ample and resiliant off-white head that left thick and sticky lacing. The nose presented sweet bready malts and a robust, textured grassy-herbal hop bouquet. The taste matched the nose closely, opening up with bready grassy sweet malts with a touch of herbal spice in the transition to a nice orange-tinged crisper and lightly bittered finish...obvious Belgain pale elements.. The body was overly light and fluffy. Fat Tire is an interesting take on the amber style, with nice flavors, but it ends up being overly sweet for my tastes. (676 characters)

Photo of Hunter
3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear amber appearance, typical of the style. Head of off-white foam, less than a finger-thick and quick-shrinking. Carbonation quickly shrinks to zero after the pour.

Odd collection of hops, vegetable, and malt in the aroma. Odd, but not unpleasant.

The malt comes through exclusively in the first taste, with a short backbite of hops in the finish. That vegetable/carrot aroma rears its head again in the aftertaste as well. Finishes pretty clean.

I have respect for New Belgium for being part of the vanguard of microbreweries in the late 80s/early 90s that set the stage for the public to demand more from their beer than Bud or Bud Light. But with the appearance of so many other breweries and their experimentation, New Belgium has been left behind. This, their flagship beer, is a solid, acceptable, drinkable brew, but nothing more. Average marks from me across the board. (890 characters)

Photo of moulefrite
3.41/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The infamous fat tire has now crosed my lips, and I'm still the same guy I was before I tried it?! This was a good beer, no doubt, and it gets me excited to know that folk are warming up to better beer. But I don't think it is a great brew. The pour here was a very light amber and the head and stick were generous, while not more than good. Aromas were redolent of horse dung and the straw that the horse eats-I'm guessing this is the malt-peuuu! Anyway, the mouthfeel was generous and clean. Flavors favored malt and toast, while the hop profile was somewhat weak. The beer was beefy, and whole grainy, and caramely, and at the same time downright barnyardy. Not sure this is a barnyardy that I want to re-visit? Thanks to Ron at Gluntz for the sample! The guy dragged this baby back on a plane for yours truly, and I thank him!! (831 characters)

Photo of HochFliegen
4.07/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fat Tire is a great beer in my opinion. Its deep copper color and biscuit aroma with a hint of berry stand out as in no other beer. The taste is a very smooth and fine blend. Its carmel and biscuit flavor are really something. A full bodied beer. Another great beer by New Belgium. (281 characters)

Photo of budgood1
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours out a crystal clear perfectly amber colour, with a tight bone white head. lotsa lace too. a pretty non-descript aroma shows off some bready and yeasty aromas...nothing spectacular. the taste can best be described as bready and doughy...lots of malt character without having to think too hard. there is a hint of hop bitterness present, but not to get in the way of the malt profile. this seems to me the quintessential session ale, or a perfect beer to wash down some pizza with. medium to light bodied. nice mouthfeel. malty notes linger in the aftertaste...just a nice, very drinkable amber ale. a selection i would recommend as crossover brew...solid flavour, little bitterness, a great beer to pair with food.

thanks goes out to beerangel for the sample! (768 characters)

Photo of CrescentFresh
3.42/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A little less carbonated than my favourite brews (Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada) but still very good. It has a mellow hop aroma and goes down well. It is one of the few beers (BMC swill excluded) that has to be cold for me to drink.

Another good point is that it's available everywhere. Easy to get.

3.5 out of 5! (315 characters)

Photo of ark57
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It pours a crystal clear amber with a small, but puffy head. There is a restrained hop aroma with some maltiness. The taste is fruity and nutty with some biscuit notes in the light to medium, smooth body. It finishes with a slight dry bitterness. It is an above average session beer, but nothing stupendous. For me it is not worth seeking out while I live halfway across the US from its distribution, but it was not bad. (420 characters)

Photo of BrewMan82
2.96/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a red/gold amber with a short-lived white head. Aroma is subdued - a bit of malt and slight hoppy acidity. This beer tastes extremely smooth and easy - nothing about it is on the fringe, just smooth simple maltiness with little hop flavor - light and somewhat bready. Slight carbonation, but smoothness helps thicken up the mouthfeel. The aftertaste, like everything else, is slight and short-lived, but not a turnoff. This beer is extremely easy to drink, but I found it to be too simple - just didn't have enough oomph in any way to keep my interest. Well done - but not my style. (588 characters)

Photo of chaduvel
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Golden red/amber in color, decent white head. Smell is apetizing and of cookie malts and a whiff of what I'll call new belgium hops. Taste is cookie malts with a kiss of those hops. Some lasting bitterness but smooth. A better than average beer but it goes down easy and tastes great. Great name too. (300 characters)

Photo of woemad
2.68/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this on tap in the bar at Denny's near Spokane International Airport (I work there - me and my coworkers went to Denny's because it was the closest open place at midnight). I'd never had it, and the remainder of the on tap selection was peopled with the usual suspects.

My pint was a pale gold color, with a miniscule white head. It reminded me of the disappointing Fish Pale Ale I'd recently had. There was no lacing to speak of.

Smell was rather weak. It mostly consisted of a vague malt sweetness. I detected a slight citrus note that might have been hops, but it was hard to say, it was so slight.

Taste wasn't much of an improvement on the smell. Very blandly malty, with a tiny bit of hoppiness at the end that provided for a little crispness. It didn't taste gross, it was just very, very bland.

Mouthfeel was a little thin, but then again I sort of thought it would be.

This is drinkable in repeated pints because it is very undemanding, though I personally found it too bland to be interested in more than one. This seems to be very popular amongst those who have very little experience beyond the big 3, so I guess it could be a decent gateway beer. I was once talking about beer with my brother. He says his fiance's favorite beer is Fat Tire, then added, "She's not really into flavor." From what I understand, New Belgium uses the profits from this to finance their other, far less commercial beers, so in that light, I'm glad to have helped keep them in business. However, unless I find myself in another place where this is the best choice, I see no reason to have another. (1,607 characters)

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.32/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

One can gather a good account of this beer's qualities from other reviews so rather than be redundant I'd like to share a story, which I hope will show just how special this beer is.

I first had the Fat Tire in June of 1999 at a graduation party in Chicago. Around 8 O'clock that evening with some friends arrived with several dozen cases in the back of their dodge. It turned out that they had driven to some place in Missouri the night before to stock up on the brew for the occasion.

I immediately fell in love with the stuff and was disapointed to learn that it was unavailable anywhere in my area. I asked my "buddies" if they would sell me a case, and despite having literally hundreds of bottles of fat tire they all exclaimed no. That was just the beginning of my experiences with Fat Tire hoarders.

After moving to liberal Madison three years ago, I was happy to discover that many of the city's Yippie types keep a tire or two lying around for special occasions. Even these typically generous folks, however, wouldn't share much with me, "the fat tire's to prescious man. get you own man."

I put an end to that last month, though, when I picked up a good quantity of Tire in Colorado Springs on a road trip. Refusing to sucomb to the meiserly ways of those who introduced me to the beer, I have sworn to give it away freely and to any who appreciate a solid brew., although perhaps sometimes with a price.

Last week I made my friend Thomas, one of those yippie types that I was talking about earlier, clean my kitchen for a Tire. Despite the grime build up in the sink, and the rotten potato that was sprouting a virtual tree in the corner, Tom thanked me for the brew and offered to help paint my garge for a similar payment in the future.

To date, I can not think of single other beer that so many people will drive so far and go to such great lengths to obtain. Sometimes beers just have a quality that go beyond taste, and they are those beers that become the thing of legend. (2,010 characters)

Photo of Lupe
3.72/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy amber color with a small off-white head that quickly disappears. Some lacing is left behind clinging to the sides of the glass. Toasted grain and biscuity aroma with some hints of fruit. Sweet bready/biscuit flavor along with toasted grains. Hops show up to balance out the sweetness. Medium in body, smooth and creamy. Highly drinkable, but nothing spectacular. Great session beer that has enough flavor to keep you interested. (433 characters)

Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good amber beer from a very good brewery. Fat Tire was on-tap just about everywhere I visited in the Phoenix downtown area recently. Clearly it is a local favorite, and I can see why it is so. The clear amber body sports a nice cream-colored head that laces partially down the glass. A nice aroma of malt is accompanied by decent understated hop notes.

The flavor is a bit more bitter than I reckoned, but not in an overstated manner. Clearly, this is a mature formula brewed to please a large audience and it does so very well. A pleasing feel and good drinkability are attributes of this brew. (600 characters)

Photo of MuddyFeet
4.17/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was told I would like this beer before I tried it. My buddy was right. It comes in a neat bottle with glasswork around the neck and a swell drawing of a bicycle. The aroma is of hops and fresh corn (wierd I know, but thats what it smells like). The corn aroma continues with the flavor and tastes like grilled corn. It is slightly sweet but rounded well with hops. I could drink this beer all day and be quite happy. (418 characters)

Photo of charlesw
2.7/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Staight-up average amber. I mean, it seems to hit all of the criteria for a red/amber ale - but it just doesn't do any more than that for me.

Lightish amber color, very clear, thin, creamy head - which doesn't last. You can just taste the malt and caramel - but only just. A bit light in the mouth - not like it's overly carbonated or anything, it just doesn't have enough body to it to suit me. I guess I'd call that medium body :) Just a hint of hop bitterness.

Hmm. Part of why I give this such a poor review is that I did side-by-side tests with this and 5 other ambers. There was one that was simply terrible, but other than that one, this one was at the bottom of everyone's list of favorites out of those sampled... (728 characters)

Photo of beertaster13
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The appearance of this beer is a light amber with a quickly disapearing white head. The smell is of a roasted malt with a hint of hops, some caramel notes as well. The taste is pretty good, roasted malt with not enough malts in the kick. Feels full but flat in the mouth, a drinkable beer but too expensive for just an average beer. You can get way better for about the same price or less. Just a little above average, as far as ale's go. (438 characters)

Photo of aracauna
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I can see why this is such a big seller. It's got enough malt to have a little flavor, but the caramel is light and not too sweet so it's a definite quaffer. It's crisp and clean with a short finish. It's not very complex and not interesting, but not bad. (255 characters)

Photo of MobBarley
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This ale pours a nice orange-copper with lots of carbonation. A healthy but airy head rises quickly and displays some impressive legs. Lacing is abundant. A nice looking amber. The smell is syrupy at first before moving along to some mediocre flowery hop notes. The taste is more akin to a red ale in my opinion, and has a nice bready profile up front. A mild bite of hops fills in the middle before the bready sweetness engulfs it once more. Mouthfeel is a little thin but o.k. for the style. Drinkability is average due to the lack of distinctive qualities. A slightly above average amber. (591 characters)

Photo of mickeymac
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've never seen Fat Tire in LA but found it on-tap and in bottles on a recent trip to San Antonio. I enjoyed it a bit more from the bottle but wasn't blown away by either. It's a more or less middle of the road amber with just a bit more sweetness than most. Hops seem to be a bit on the light side. I'd like to find some of the more adventurous New Belgium brews soon. (369 characters)

Photo of gnaussea
3.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hmm... I'm a bit torn. At times I've had this brew and enjoyed it thoroughly, but the flavor collapses if you've had something sweet before it. Either way, it pours an orange amber with a quickly subsiding white head. Smell is the best attribute. The spices are very notable over a strange, somewhat tosted malt that is not depicted by the color. Flavor is much the same. Hops are heterogeneous throughout the flavor, layered on top of the totasted malt flavor, but overall, the taste is thin. I'm disappointed as I love some other NB's but this doesn't stand up very well to scrutiny. (585 characters)

Photo of RootedFool
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a six pack at the North Coast Co-op in Arcata, California.

Pours luminescent amber with a light orange sudsy head. Some stray striations of lacing left on the glass.

Smell is of earthy malts and bright bready notes.

Well-rounded breadiness (or the "bisquit" flavor so often mentioned in other reviews, and on the bottle too) is the first characteristic I taste, followed by a distinct yet down-played undercurrent of hops.

The aftertaste returns to the opening flavors of bisquit and malt.

So, in other words, the flavor of this beer comes full circle. Don't worry, I won't compare it to a bicycle wheel.

Happy to see New Belgium Brewing around here a lot lately -- they're becoming one of my favorite breweries! (742 characters)

Photo of Todd
3.36/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fat Tire ... what a great session and cross-over to craft beer beer. Light, bright amber in color, creamy white lace head with a sweet grainy / biscuity aroma. Taste is unobtrusive, very mild, very slight bitterness with plenty of sweet, toasty grain flavor. There's a somewhat undesirable husky, tannin grain flavor that's very biscuity, but you get used to it. Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy on the palate, even. Biscuit finish.

Nothing stellar, but it is what it is and does a good job at that. Did I say that this beer is biscuity? (543 characters)

Photo of Beaver13
3.01/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The Fat Tire poured a golden orange with a creamy white head that had decent retention. It had a slight bready aroma...not much there. It was pretty mild tasting. Some tones of toffee and toasted biscuit. It had a noticable metallic finish. A fairly bland amber. New Belgium has MUCH better to offer! (300 characters)

Fat Tire Amber Ale from New Belgium Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 1,853 ratings.