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Archive for the ‘Brewer: New Belgium’ Category

New Belgium Abbey Dubbel

September 11th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Brewer: New Belgium, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Style: Dubbel

7% ABV

memo to bosses re: hungover workers

When someone in your employ arrives at the office with two 32-ounce bottles of Gatorade, a large black coffee, and a greasy, greasy bacon, egg, & cheese sandwich, all of which he summarily devours at his desk in under five minutes–well that’s a hungover employee on your hands. Leave him alone for a bit.  He’ll work things out.

Last night I revisited old favorite 123burgershotbeer* with a pal and after an evening of aggressive drinking, found myself near comatose this morning. I needed a three-egg, sausage, and cheese breakfast burrito grease-missile, an extra-large iced coffee, two Propels, and a Diet Mountain Dew just to get me back to sea level, just to get enough synapses firing in my gray matter in order to pen this piece…

You can’t deny your honest feelings, but I still feel somewhat bad for bashing Fat Tire yesterday. New Belgium is a company that obviously takes beer seriously, that’s for certain. Like most microbreweries, I assume Fat Tire is their money-maker, their beer made for the masses, their beer made to fund the rest of the brewery’s more unique efforts. You can’t expect the public to consume high-ABV barley wines, saisons, and stouts in bulk. They need weak little sissy beers for their sensitive and unadventurous palates.  So enter Fat Tire. A beer snob should be concerned when everyone and their mother likes a certain brew. Everyone and their mother doesn’t typically know shit. Everyone and their mother loooooooves Fat Tire.  It’s a maxim I knew yet still didn’t follow.

Thus, I was glad my friend also brought back New Belgium’s version of a dubbel. It looked fantastic on the pour. And smelled just like the brilliant Westmalle. Wow, I was excited. Could an American brewery possible emulate with accuracy a trappist beer?!

Eh…

Not quite. It does not really have a strong flavor at all.  The most mild hints of banana, sweet bread, and malt.   Dubbels should have more body than this.  More bite.  This beer has about as much bite as a newborn still not teething.  The Abbey simply lacks the “oomph” that makes Westmalle so special and world-class.

Having said that, this dubbel was undeniably drinkable and still a very worthy effort.  I wish more American breweries had dubbels. I have a feeling that someday I’ll have a New Belgium I truly love. It’s inevitable.

B+

*Re-review of 123burgershotbeer–The burgers are still a buck and tastier than I recall, I recommend dressing them with this spicy chipotle sauce condiment on the bar. The goofily-named shots still cost a Thomas Jefferson and are still only ordered by the kind of men that say “Woooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” and then give each other homoerotic high-fives post-shot slam. And the beers are still gloriously chilled and three bucks, though poured into deceptively small mugs which I would reckon are only 10 ounces. The waitresses and female bartenders there continue to make 123 a (marginally more) upscale Hooter’s, wearing hot pants so short one can see ass curvature in the back and labium in the front. And, I now realize why 123 has such a pricing scheme. It’s not a gimmick, no, it’s just so the Communist bloc cuties and the modelishly handsome lunkheads manning the bar don’t have to think so hard to compute one’s tab. I couldn’t see, but I imagine the cash register only has three buttons: a giant Fisher Price-sized 1, 2, and 3. Oh, you ordered six beers? The drink-slinging dummkopf goes to the register and mashes the giant 3 button six times before the See n’ Say voice says “18 dollars.”

Fat Tire Amber Ale

September 10th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: New Belgium, Country: America, Grade: C plus, Style: Amber Ale

PREVIOUSLY ON MY TOP TEN MOST WANTED LIST

5.2% ABV

Sometimes you’ve yearned for something for so long that you forget why you ever wanted it in the first place. Such is the case with Fat Tire. I can’t recall why I wanted to try it initially, but I know I first had the desire sometime back in the early oughts when the best beer I’d ever had in my life at that point was probably still Arrogant Bastard.

As I moved through life on my beer-drinking journey, amassing brews like Charles Foster Kane amassed objets d’art to fill up Xanadu, I always had Fat Tire in the back of my mind as one I needed to acquire. Yeah, I knew it wasn’t that highly-regarded, I knew it wasn’t rare at all if one lived in the dozen or so states in the middle of America where it got distribution, but I still wanted the motherfucker. In fact, it was almost a dirty little joke on me that New Belgium stocks this beer in literally all six states that touch and surround Oklahoma–the state of my upbringing and where my parents and numerous friends still live–yet doesn’t distribute it actually in OK. I assume this is due to the Sooner State’s pansy-ass alcohol laws. Thus, I couldn’t even get Fat Tire on my rare trips back to God’s country.

Luckily, a Manhattan friend of mine recently got sent down to Texas for some business. And, after picking up his capo’s shipment of illegal narcotics and firearms run across from Mexico, he had plenty of time to peruse the local beer shops and bring me some Fat Tire back. I should note that I think my New York friends are starting to dread leaving town as I always hint hint tell that about all the great beers in the region they’re going to.

“Oh, you’re going to (city/state/country/area)? You don’t say. Wow, guess you’ll get to try all those great _____ brews. Yum. Wish they distributed those in New York. Guess I’ll never get to try them. But you be sure to have some and report back.”

“Aaron, are you saying you want me to bring some of those home for you?”

“If you don’t mind.”

“I don’t mind. I’ll just be sure not to pack any extra socks, shoes, underwear, toiletries, or reading materials so I have space in my luggage for all your bottles.”

So I finally got to try Fat Tire.

And it bored the heck out of me.

The bottle design is as beautiful as can be and the pour is indeed gorgeous.  Everything was going to plan at least initially.  But the first smells and tastes were kinda weak.  Almost like an apple cider.  A kid’s drink.  Minimal flavor.  It wasn’t bad, just nothing special.  A decent session beer I suppose and if I’m ever in a place that distributes it I want to give it a second shot as I also think my friend’s refrigerator might have chilled this one a tad too much (and I was too dipsomaniacal to wait for it to cool a few degrees).  I’d especially like to give it a whirl on tap.  But, as for now, I really didn’t love my first experience with Fat Tire at all.

Oh well, don’t hate me Colorado…

C+