Christmas has come early this year for beer lovers across Ohio as this past Monday we officially welcomed New Belgium Brewing Company into the Buckeye State.
At the surface you may be thinking “Big whoop, another brewery, there are new ones popping up on store shelves every day,” but to better break it down for you: Fat Tire is now available in Ohio. Fat Tire Amber Ale, New Belgium’s flagship brew, is wildly popular throughout the country and demand has grown for it tremendously throughout Ohio in the last handful of years.
I had the pleasure of attending the New Belgium launch party for the Northern Ohio market thanks to an invite from AJ Cammalleri of Heidelberg Distributing of Lorain, which will handle the distribution of Fat Tire and all of New Belgium’s product line throughout Lorain, Erie and Huron County.
It was a great evening of speaking with New Belgium Beer Rangers as well as all the area business leaders who will be carrying their products.
So of course when Monday, December 16th hit (which just so happens to be my birthday), I treated myself to a trip to Huron Market where Tim had some Fat Tire waiting for me, as well as two other unique brews.
New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale 5.2% ABV
Fat Tire pours a nice, clear copper color with a nice white head that doesn’t tend to stick around long. Mild notes of bread, biscuit, grain and malt tend to dominate the nose with a hint of caramel sweetness.
The taste is similar to the nose. Very well balanced with a strong malt presence that produces pleasant flavors of biscuit, grain and a very faint hop finish that produces just a touch of bitterness on the tongue. Very smooth and mild with a soft carbonation and a light, thin body.
Fat Tire is an all seasons type of beer for me. Whether it be the dog days of summer or the heart of a Lake Erie winter, I can enjoy one of these. An excellent transition from the normal mass produced 24 pack you may be used to picking up.
Give this one a try.
Heck, even my wife liked it.
For the first 90 days of distribution, all New Belgium’s beers will only be available via draft or in the 22oz bottle format. A 22oz bottle will cost you $2.99 and trust me, it’s well worth the three dollars and change after tax. Don’t worry though, because sooner than later you will be able to pick up six packs to enjoy.
Sierra Nevada DevESTATEion Ale Black IPA 6.7% ABV
Sierra Nevada created a masterpiece when they tried to compensate for the crummy weather this past spring that ruined their barley maturation on their estate where they grow the ingredients to produce their Estate Ale. Therefore, in the words of Sierra Nevada, “Instead of crying in our beer-or lack thereof-we decided to create something new.”
DevESTATEion pours a deep dark brown that you would swear is black until you put it up to the light. It’s very clear with a wonderfully fluffy, creamy tan head that sits atop the brew brilliantly throughout the drinking experience.
Traditional fresh hopped IPA smells emit of pine and citrus. The aroma is not overwhelming by any means, but is very fresh and delicate. Roasted malt provides a slight smoky flavor along with the heavy citrus and earthy pine flavors up front and finished with a hint of honey and caramel followed by a long, lingering bitterness.
I love Black IPA’s and found this one to not disappoint as it was terrifically balanced and smooth with tons of varying flavors.
Monk's Christkindl 7.1% ABV
Looking for a different type of Christmas beer, Tim at Huron Market recommended giving this one a shot. A different take on a winter seasonal by the German brewerKlosterbrauerei Weissenohe, this Dunkel style lager is a perfect fit for the season.
Pouring a clear ruby color with a thin head, mild aromas of berries and caramel malt please the nose.
The taste is a pleasant surprise as it is much more active and strong compared to the nose. Bitterness upfront followed by sweet caramel malt and chocolate lead way to a wonderful toasted marshmallow finish with a raisin aftertaste.
Monk’s Christkindl is medium bodied with a creamy consistency on a strong malt backbone. A faint bitterness in the finish makes this a very drinkable and filling brew. Perfect for a relaxing night around the fireplace.
Pick one of these up at Huron Market as they are very limited and won’t last long!
Well folks, next time we meet Christmas will have come and gone. I wish each and every one of you the happiest of holidays and would also like to remind you that you’re not allowed to receive presents in jail on Christmas day, so please drink responsibly.