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Posted on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 11:29 a.m.

Fat Tire beer rolls into Michigan and Ann Arbor; will you drink it?

By Bob Needham


New Belgium Brewing Co.

Fat Tire has come to Michigan.

This is big news for fans of the Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing Co. The brewer produces a variety of other beers, including some seasonal offerings, as well as its signature Fat Tire Amber Ale.

Although New Belgium is the third largest craft brewer in the country, it is not distributed nationwide.

So Fat Tire fans—and anecdotal evidence suggests there are many—were delighted in March when the company announced it would begin distribution in Michigan this month (first in bottles, with draft to follow). Although New Belgium's "libation locator" still (as of this writing) shows Michigan in the dry zone, a special Facebook page about the Michigan move says that 5 New Belgium beers go on sale today (Aug. 27), with wide availability, "even Meijer or Kroger."

Being somewhat aware of the hype surrounding Fat Tire, my parents a couple of years ago brought me some Fat Tire Amber Ale from a trip out of state. I'm not a beer expert, but I am a fan. And while I thought the Fat Tire was well done, I couldn't quite understand the cult-like fuss. There are any number of beers produced by Michigan craft brewers that I'd rate higher.

But maybe that's just me—and I am interested to try some of the other New Belgium concoctions. (I see they have a couple different IPAs!)

So what do you think—is the Fat Tire arrival big beer news, or not? And for those with more familiarity with the New Belgium offerings than I have, which ones should I try? Vote in the poll and/or leave a comment below:

Bob Needham is director of entertainment content for Reach him at or 734-623-2541, and follow him on Twitter @bobneedham.


Tom Morson

Fri, Aug 31, 2012 : 11:38 a.m.

Welcome New Belgium to Michigan! I first had Fat Tire when in North Carolina two summers ago and learned then that they were planning 'soon' to be in Michigan. Last week sometime in Ann Arbor I saw their beautifully painted brewery truck painted with the fat tire bike--much like my first Schwinn fat tire bike in the 1950's--when fat tire bikes were the majority and immediately got excited . I like the banana and clove and other subtle flavors and it goes well with all kinds of food.


Thu, Aug 30, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

I ride bicycles so when I spotted an empty Fat Tire beer bottle laying around, I brought it home and put it on a shelf as a knick-knack. Beyond that, I'm a little curious about the brew. I also enjoyed the local B. Nektar Evil Genius mead mentioned here earlier. (Though $10 a bottle - for 500 ml. - is pretty steep for any beverage. ) On the positive side: after sampling this mead, I now understand why ancient Europeans were crocked most of the time. ho-ho!


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

Fat Tire from Belgium. Does it come with the chocolates, the brats and pretzels? Otherwise, I don't do beer. I did try a chocolate beer once. Interesting to say the least.

E Pluribus Unum

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

I like the dark beers so I prefer 1554 and bring a case back with me from Arizona every spring. I have had the Fat Tire and enjoyed it. The Belgium ales are very good.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

used to live about a mile from their brewery in Ft. Collins, CO. I'm a big fan of their seasonals...picked up a Hoptober yesterday. I hope they send some of their Lips of Faith this way as well.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 2:01 a.m.

We drink a lot of it in the Southwest and it's really good.

Linda Peck

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 1:25 a.m.

I would try to buy a Michigan beer if I drank beer. We have a lot of good breweries locally, I understand. Jobs are important to us here in this area.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 11:56 p.m.

There's enough fat tires in this city. I'm sticking with Bell's.

Tom Wieder

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 10:06 p.m.

Can't quite believe I'm commenting about beer, but I'm really happy to see Fat Tire here. I was introduced to it when I started skiing in Colorado in the 90's, really liked it and always have it when I'm out there. Maybe it's the association with the joy of skiing that adds some allure. Anyway, I agree with another commenter that it doesn't really taste like most Belgian beers; it's just another good amber. Is it that much different from, or better than, Killian's Red, Newcastle Brown Ale or Bell's Amber? Without a side-by-side taste test, I'm not sure, but it's a fine beer.

Andrew R. Gorsuch

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

Tom, I totally agree, Fat Tire is best enjoyed when on a ski hill!

Madeleine Borthwick

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:58 p.m.

Won't be trying it. Alcoholism runs in my family on both sides, going back 3 generations, 8 years of sobriety myself.....thank you anyway, enjoy one for me!

Jay Thomas

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

Thanks Debbie Downer.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 2:03 a.m.

We're all aware of the dangers and pleasures of alcohol. I fail to see why you need to testify, but do so if you must, if you find it helps you or others.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:20 p.m.

Great beer. Not a fan of Belgian-style beers in general, but I really enjoy this one Heard the hype about it while in Colorado Springs 2 winters ago. Believed the hype after having several drafts. Great with food or on its own. Been waiting for this day. Besides, New Belgium supports cycling big-time. Do the double and buy it at Morgan & York, another great business that supports cycling. Sorry Oberon, you've been replaced, but you're still on the short list.


Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

how can you possibly be 'replacing' Oberon with a beer you clearly know nothing about? Fat Tire is not a Belgian-style ale. The brewery, New Belgium, brews many different beers including some Belgians. Fat Tire is not one of them. And I won't be buying it at M&Y. That place is stuffy and overpriced.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

Is it on tap anywhere?

David Bardallis

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

October 22 is the date I have for the draft release.

Andrew R. Gorsuch

Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 9:54 p.m.

Draft is the next phase in their launch in Michigan. From what I understand that will happen in October, followed by Six-packs and Twelve-packs on Nov 19th. I think "the fat" is an awesome beer. Toasty, Nutty, a great everyday drinker!

Bob Needham

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

My understanding is, not yet, but soon. (There was something on the Facebook page about this, but now I can't find it -- it said something along the lines of package sales first, with draft to follow shortly)

Chuck Taylor

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

Damn fine article Bob! But I think the cult-like tone you refer to is not surrounding Fat Tire so much, but rather the New Belgium Brewery itself. Come out to Fort Collins sometime for a Tour De Fat, see the mothership, sip on a lips of faith, then try to say you're not excited.

Bob Needham

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

Nice idea! Maybe someday ...


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

I don't care for Fat Tire myself - but then, I'm not big on Belgian-style beers in general. The clove/banana/etc. overtones just aren't my cup of tea. But I know a lot of people love the stuff and bringing in another quality beer choice is always a good thing. Maybe stores can clear out some of that Coors Light swill to free up room on the shelf. I'm sure there's plenty of room in the dumpster for the excess.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

Just because they're 'New Belgium' doesn't mean every beer is a belgian-style Fat Tire, their flagship, is an American Amber, there's no clove/banana/sourness/etc in it. It has a nutty-amber flavor.

Greg M

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

Bob, if you can get your hands on 1554 or Belgo, I'd suggest those (they're my personal New Belgium favorites.) Blue Paddle's pretty good too. I'd put Fat Tire behind those three at least. Still, these guys make great beer!

Bob Needham

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.

clownfish -- Hm, that makes sense. And that's two votes for 1554 ...


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

1554 is one of the best beers commercially available (where available). Their wheat beer is exceptional, if they still make it. Their IPA's are not as good as some already available here, like Two Hearted or, sadly, the now defunct MI Breweries IPA. Fat Tire retains it's allure from the Bad 'Ol Days of few Microbreweries, back then it was superior, now it is average.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

I also like Skinny Dip, their spring/summer seasonal (probably won't make it here til next spring). It's a light yet hoppy.

Bob Needham

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.

Greg, thanks much. Just what I was looking for.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

I had some a little while ago. Some out of town friends spied it somewhere and brought it with them. It was pretty good...very strong on flavor. I'd still probably pick something else over it though. Nothing special stood out about it...but it was quality.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 4:04 p.m.

I'm fat enough. I don't need a beer that reminds me of it everytime I look down to take a drink!

Jessica Webster

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

My two favorite beers are from Michigan brewers (Shorts and Jolly Pumpkin) but I'm interested in seeing what all the Fat Tire hype is about!


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

It's about hype. But do not let that deter you from their other fine selections.