New Belgium: Fat Tire (USA: Amber Ale: 5.2% ABV)

Visual: Browned banana skin to gold. Moderate frothy white head.

Nose: Biscuity and ovaltine. Malt biscuits. Lightly bitter. Dried apricot.

Body: Moderate bitterness. Malty ovaltine. Dried apricot back. Banana touch. Some light nettles. Toffee sweetness.

Finish: Malt biscuits and light greenery. Bitterness. Brown sugar.

Conclusion: Murphy was very taken by this beer, and I will admit it is pretty good. It has a very malty ovaltine style and moderate bitterness. Oddly despite it’s inspiration it doesn’t really remind me much of any of the Belgium styles, being much more restrained and aimed towards a session style.

The hoppiness is very restrained which results in a very calming drink, without the weight you usually get with beers of the nightcap style. The dried apricot so common of American beers here gives a nice but understated sweetness along with some ripe banana touches. The flavours contained actually remind me a little of my experience with cream ales in the lightness of character but contains more range than most of the beers of that style I have encountered.  I am not taken to raptures over the beer, and I’m not as enamoured as my fellow road trippers on this one, but it does sooth and puts a decent experience out.

When it does use hops it has an almost nettle like style to them, greenery rather than the more defined hop flavours. It gives a slight growl to the beer without altering the flavours from the malt profile too much.

The main flaws for me is the lightness of the style means it doesn’t shine in any one point, and that the flavours do get a bit dull after a while, a bad sign in a beer that seems intended for the session ale market. It really isn’t a beer I would have more than one of at a time, but for one bottle it is nice enough.

Background: The first review of the Road Trip Of Awesome.  This one seemed to be one of the more common beers of the trip. Its presence was nearly ubiquitous for the trip, this particular bottle was just picked up from a petrol station (sorry, gas station).I’d never managed to get my hands on New Belgium beer before (and oddly apart from Fat Tire didn’t see that many in the USA either) so thought it was worth a shot.