Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale | New Belgium Brewing

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Fat Tire Belgian Style AleFat Tire Belgian Style Ale
8,958 Ratings
Fat Tire Belgian Style AleFat Tire Belgian Style Ale

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
After a trip to Europe, New Belgium’s co-founder returned to Colorado from Belgium with a handful of ingredients and an idea. Two years later, Fat Tire – named in honor of his inspired bike ride across the Belgian countryside – pedaled its way into the hearts of beer drinkers. Now considered an iconic centerpiece of the craft beer movement, Fat Tire represents the American spirit of craft brewing ingenuity and an irresistible imagination that reminds us all to rediscover our playful side.

Fat Tire’s unique flavor profile originates from the late 1930s, when local Belgian breweries aimed to satisfy the tastes of visiting British soldiers. English floral hops, subtle malt sweetness and spicy, fruity notes from Belgian yeast made for a balanced yet magical combination. These same characteristics are at the heart of Fat Tire. Classified as an Ameri-Belgo style ale by the revered Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup competitions, Fat Tire blends a fine malt presence, fresh herbal hop balance and a touch of fruity yeast to offer drinkers everywhere a timeless craft beer experience with a rare blend of balance and complexity.

Added by kbub6f on 10-07-2000

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,958 |  Reviews: 2,088
Photo of BeerResearcher
4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As indicated by my rating, this is a Good beer. Here's an Amber Ale that pours a perfect amber color. The off-white head is pretty thin and the lace trails and fades rapidly. The aroma is malty and lightly fruity. The full malt body is caramel sweet and nearly syrupy. A lightly lime citrus and slightly spicy bitterness provide some balance to the sweet maltiness, but I would have preferred a bit more hop bite. This is a nicely made session ale.

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Photo of jcalabre
3.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had this on draught at New Belgium's brewery in Fort Collins, CO.
Appearance: The pour is a clear golden color with a white head
Flavor: It has a slightly sweet flavor with a very nice, malty backend. It's very easy to drink and would make a nice session beer

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Photo of stoutman
3.47/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice refreshing Amber Ale. Not a whole lot of character, maltiness, hoppiness etc, but very well balanced and enjoyable. Plus, they sell the big bottles at the Detroit Tigers games for (only) 7.50. WAAAAY better deal than Bud Light at Comerica Park for close to the same price.

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Photo of Hefe
4.21/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted on 8/21/03

This one provided by a friend who picked it up in Cali while on business. I've been hearing about it for while here on the East coast, mostly from chagrined beer shoppers just finding out that the great brew they had out West just can't be had on this here side of the states.

12 oz. brown glass bottle. With drink by 10/14/03 freshness date.

Appearance: nice honey/gold with red tinges.minimal head, basically just some lacing across the top and around the edges.

Aroma: Grapefruit, malt, and honey, with almost a shortbread(?) nuance to it.

Taste: A touch of sweetness initially with great, malty-citrusy flavors. A bit of a toastiness spreads across the palate after a moment or two.

Mouthfeel: Nice richness, fuller than I expected.

Drinkability: More please!

After finally getting to try it, I'd say It lives up to the hype. Well Done!

Tasted again on 8/28/04 Just an addendum or two. I noticed more of a brioche and brown sugar flavor in the background this time around, more than a hint of sweetness is evident. Nothing that makes me want to change my score, except to bump the drinkability a touch.. Easily accesable and pretty darn enjoyable.

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Photo of LiquidBreadMan
3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a light copper with an average sized head, which lasted a little while. The smell was a pronounced combination of roasted malts and citrus fruit. The taste was reminiscent of the aroma: carmel and grapefruit. Delicious. Mouthfeel was slightly less-than-fully carbonated. I'd have preferred a few more bubbles but this one drank easily either either way.

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Photo of Stubbie1
4.2/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This amber ale poured a nice gold color. It is finished off with a small white head of foam. The foam stayed a spell but is soon replace with a nice sticky lace. The aroma in this ale was unreal. This is my first beer with a bread/dough aroma to it. It was a pleasant surprise and not to overpowering. The taste was a sweet start to a nice malt background. The bread/dough aroma turned to flavor, is absorbed by the taste buds. Nicely balanced flavor with the malts and hops. I could enjoy this beer through out the night. Nice and clean in look, aroma and taste. Very nice!

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Photo of Maestro
3.52/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer is interesting. A friend brought it to me from Denver on the plane. I am not sure if it is fresh or not. The taste is quite yeasty and very odd. But I like it. The head is thin but leaves some noticeable lace. The hops are hard to pinpoint. They are very subdued. The malts are are not very bulky. Not a lot there. This reminds me more of an ESB than an amber but it is decent. There is a slight metallic taste left to linger. I am not sure of the direction of this beer but it is quite different from things I have tasted in the past.

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Photo of alexgash
3.62/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden yellow--not amber, interestingly enough--with an average-sized white head. Smell is of rich malt with some hops. Taste is cookie dough malts with a crisp, tart, bitter finish. Adequately balanced. I'm not a huge amber fan, but this one is drinkable enough!

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Photo of kindestcut
3.54/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I will defer to my review of Fat Tire from the bottle except for a very important difference I could detect. The mouthfeel.

Fat Tire looks nearly identical, although I believe my bartender could have poured the beer a little better to achieve a more substantial head. I'll keep the appearance score the same since I've had several Fat Tires on draft and the head was nearly always pretty good.

As for the mouthfeel, I found the Fat Tire on draft to be more carbonated, which made for a more drinkable beer in my book. All in all, this is a very good beer made a little better.

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Photo of TripelJ
3.38/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle poured into standard pint glass with almost no head.

Amber Ales tend to be unique, and this one follows suit in that respect. First the head, minimal to nothing which put the guard up. Smells a little funky, like someone cooking chicken and dumplings, but definitely an odd smell. The taste provides the "equillibrium" the bottle brags about with a definite mild biscuit flavor with a nice malty sweetness. I do not detect too many hops here, but probably enough just to balance it all out. Worth a try if you are looking for something different or are into amber ales.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.97/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Obtained from a friend of mine who brought it back from Colo. when he was on a business trip. Thanks John!
Initially a pretty standard pale malt aroma with a pinch of flowery hops. This was followed by a very pleasing bisquit aroma. Head leaves too quickly. Color is a nice orange amber and very clear. Flavor is very much like the aroma with the bisquit quality leaving a very pleasant lingering. Not much complexity beyond that. Good balance of carbonation with a fair amount of fullness from the carbonation. Medium to thinner mouthfeel. Slightly rich.
This is an enjoyable and unique beer. Well crafted and highly drinkable. It's popularity doesn't surprised me, it's unique without being excessive.

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Photo of Rumrunner
2.47/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

16 Oz. Pint style glass
This was not my favorite amber ale. I personally did not like it. The appearace is nice. Medium amber with a small head. Nice bubbles when looking through the glass. The smell was better than the taste. Nice biscuit scents with mild hops and a delicate fruitiness.

Here is my problem. The flavor. The biscuit turned to charred burnt toast. All the fruit flavors were gone and the malt took over and crushed the hops. No balance and the burnt flavor killed it for me.

I found the mouthfeel and the drinkability unpalatable. After every sip there was an oily feel in my mouth. This oily feel left a tang flavor that I did not enjoy. This ale did not go down well for me.

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Photo of cokes
3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Earthy pale amber under a virtually non-existant foam.
Bready nose. Doughy mosty, but with underlying toasty wafts.
Pretty straight-by-the-nose taste profile. Biscuit malts up front, leaning towards toasted white bread by the midsection. Supressed flourish of cocoa, and ghosts of fruitiness. Lightly floral hop closure.
Nothing ever stands up and asserts itself. It is not bad, just bland.
Medium light bodied. Easy drinker, but pretty dang boring.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.07/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank on tap at New Belgium BC. 19 IBU, made with Willamette, Goldings, and Magnum hops, Pale, C-40, Munich, and Victory malts. Clear, light caramel forming a thin white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma is fruity, biscuity, toasty, grainy with light must and apples. Taste begins with floral hops, delicate brown toasty malts, and a earthy finishing bitterness. Crisp, extremely brisk mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation and lightly dry finish. The bottled version takes awards for looking nicer, but the draft version has a smoother mouthfeel and more aromatic complexity.

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Photo of alittlehazy
4.18/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark-ish amber color into the glass with only about a finger or so of head at the top which dissipated quickly.

The only smell that really stands out is a nice sweet malt aroma.

Mouthfeel is alright, and I really enjoy the taste of this. Nice and refreshing maltiness that I liked immediately.

This is an all around tasty beer thats good for putting a few down on a relaxed night. I like malty ales and this is one that goes down smooth and has very little problems with it. It might not be exceptional, but it sure isn't sub par.

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Photo of Mark
3.47/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer did not measure up to it's appearance which was a lustrous clear light amber. I thought someone had pulled me a pint of cask ale in the U.K. Head retention was excellent and lace sheeted my imperial pint glass. It was kind of average city after that though. A benign aroma was followed by a mostly malty, lightly hopped flavor. This is a winner for me usually but I expect a little more from U.S. good beer. Not a bad beer by any means but not very distinctive when put up against other domestic ambers.

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Photo of ecoboy
3.85/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Standard in the SW the way Shipyard Export is in Maine, which is a description that won't help anybody.

Put it this way: I visited three hotels in the state of Arizona, and beyond the usual suspects, this was the only ale offered at all three. This is a beer that should be concerned with continuity and consistancy. Having had it in several instances, I did think that the New Belgium people had done a good job with that. The sampling I had first was served too cold, but it is the one I reviewed.

Using Anderson Valley as my baseline for ambers, (I cannot think of one I've had in ME) Fat Tire was lighter in both color and malt flavor presence. It had more hope bite than I would have expected from an "amber" style. I had readied myself for a caramel flavor and had to accept a lingering malt sweetness in the finish.

Maybe I should use Fat Tire as my amber baseline: nothing too special, but nothing out of place. Seemed like a bridge between brown and pale without asserting itself in either direction too much.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.78/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: light copper, brilliant clarity, thick and creamy off-white head on hard pour, great head retention and lacing

Aroma: malty sweetness, fresh grains (crystal malt?), a faint underlying scent of something like moist devil's food cake, bready/biscuity background, twinge of hops

Flavor: bready/biscuit-like initial flavor with a slight sweetness, smooth European hop flavor comes in as biscuits fade out, semi-dry finish with just a touch of bitterness, superbly balanced

Mouthfeel: medium-light body, crisp carbonation, some astringency

Drinkability: very refreshing and quaffable, a good multi-purpose beer (session drinking, binging, after-work savoring, or pairs well with most foods)

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Photo of Reidrover
4.08/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz brown bottle withn the famous fat tired bike on the label.
Appearance is pretty darn good nice clear amber coloured beer, with a largish off white head that shrinks but still persists.
smell is malty..it actually starts to smell like fresh baked biscuits..pretty good.
mmm i like the taste it has a rather creamy consistancy..but i tatse the chocolate type malts and some slight hoping behind actually very nice.
Very creamy smooth on the tongue for an amber..its pretty cool stuff.
An exceptionally drinkable amber..and its even better on tap..good stuff.

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Photo of kwill
3.95/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light amber with a small head that disappeared rather quickly. Smell is like all good amber/reds with a bit of hops.

Taste is a well balanced amber with a bit of hops finishing of the flavor. Mouthfeel has a good bit of carbonation that finishes of clean and a bit dry.

This is one of those classic beers that you can find everywhere, everybody can drink and enjoy, is fairly cheap, and makes a great party drink since you can drink several of them easily. I usually have a few of these in the fridge for all of my friends that haven't quite taken the full plunge into beer advocacy.

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Photo of BigHead
3.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fat Tire is in almost every restaurant out here in Phoenix, so I end up drinking it often rather than succumb to the macros of Bud, Miller, etc. that are on tap. I find it to be a sweet beer, malty for sure. The lack of hops does detract from its overall character, but I am not one to hold a grudge as long as the experience is still a good one. Depending on the pourer, you might get some head...on the beer that is. The copper red color is nice as well as its drinkability. It is a sweet beer so if you don't care for that, then you'll only be able to down a couple. I recommend as a good party beer, unless you get Coors Light and hope for the twins to show up.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.08/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Notes from a trip to Colorado and Wyoming - May 2002 Purchased in Loveland, CO

Color of deep golden yellow with small white head. Smell was very musty of grass and floral hop. It reminded me of that weird powder thats on a balloon just before blowing it up. Taste was almost the same, grainy grass like, citrusy sweet and bitterly dry, kinda like a bad grape. Feel was a little light, and reminded me of a dry wine. Its an average ale.

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Photo of cretemixer
3.58/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear honey gold in color with a nice frothy off-white head. It slowly fades to a dense even layer and is fed by strong carbonation.
Slightly musty aroma. Malty with a hint of corn. There is also a mild hop aroma.
Taste is in line with the aroma. It’s well balanced and has a nice toasted malt flavor.
The head lends to a creamy mouth feel. Medium-light body and there is fairly high carbonation.
Overall, a pretty drinkable brew, especially since my local beer store threw this sixer at me gratis. Thanks guys!

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Photo of marburg
3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

So I walked into Putnam's store today and was picking out some beer for a party when he offered up a bottle of Fat Tire that he had lying around. I'd never had it since it doesn't get shipped out here, so I gave it whirl.

So here's the review: it's freakin malty.

In all seriousness, it's got a strong malt nose and a stronger malty taste. It's a drinkable brew for sure, but the excessively malt-sweet flavor is so potent that I couldn't possibly have more than one or two at a time. Poured will very little head and had a fairly simplistic aroma to it. Tasted like it was barely hopped at all, really. Certainly not bad by any means, but considering The Legend, The Mystery, The Mystique of Fat Tire, I was expecting more.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.84/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fat Tire has a bit of a hype around it, especially in regions, like mine, that do not receive this Colorado amber. What could be the reason, I wonder, why do so many rhapsodize so dreamily about it? Is it the equal or better of world classics from Europe, or does it stand out against America's legendary micros? I was determined to find out...
Fine, bubbly, but brief, head, over a bright amber color. Nice fruity touches in the aroma, and the more I "drink in" the nose, the more I seem to find...tropical fruits, mango, banana?, peach, apricot, a hint of gentle spices, and a whiff of flowers, even. Nice grainy, gritty texture, but overall, very smooth palate. Hops seem to be lying low, and malt does it's part, without taking the spotlight. Slight sourness in the finish, later absorbed by tasty sweetness. Well-balanced, and enjoyable. I can imagine a pleasant session with these.
So why the cult status? I have a few theories. 1. Funny name. 2. There's a bike on the label. 3. It's an easily consumed, delicious ale that accompanies fond memories of seeing jam bands in Colorado, and the perfect thing to stock in the cooler at the post-show drum jam. Enjoy, all you hippies, enjoy!!!

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Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale from New Belgium Brewing
Beer rating: 3.6 out of 5 with 8,958 ratings