Jan 18, 2023 - Food and Drink

Taste test: New Belgium changes its iconic Fat Tire beer

The new Fat Tire packaging.

The new Fat Tire beer and packaging. Photo: Courtesy of New Belgium Brewing

Say farewell to the beer that put Colorado on the map.

What's happening: Fort Collins-based New Belgium Brewing announced Tuesday a new recipe and fresh look for its iconic Fat Tire.

  • The smooth-drinking amber ale, once bootlegged beyond Colorado's borders it was so rare, is now a shell of its esteemed self: An unremarkable golden ale.

Why it matters: First made in the Colorado basement of brewery founders Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch, it won a massive following as it propelled the craft brew revolution, made Colorado a brewing destination and inspired a generation of independent beer fans.

  • It is still the No. 16 ranked beer in America, despite slipping sales.

What they're saying: New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer says the new beer is meant to appeal to the next-generation drinker. "There's a lot of consistency between the original Fat Tire and this evolution … it's a bit brighter and crisper," he told John.

🍺 John's taste test: Fat Tire is like an old friend. You can immediately connect, even if it's been too long since you last visited.

  • The original pours a beautiful copper hue, easy-going with caramel and nut flavors that remind you it once counted as full-flavored craft beer.
  • While well-made, the remake is uninspiring. It has a Honey Nut Cheerios aroma, and the flavors of sweet cereal that finish less satisfyingly.

The bottom line: You can probably drink more of them, but do you want to?

Go deeper: New Belgium introduces climate-forward rebrand of Fat Tire beer


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