Durango Skier: Just to clarify, New Belgium makes Fat Tire Amber Ale. The company is not called 'Fat Tire'. Jeff Lebesch, one of the co-founders started brewing Fat Tire (along with Abbey) in his Basement in 1985 (it was the second basement brewery design to be instituted, the first was in California a few years earlier). Jeff and Kim (the co-founders) went commercial with their beer in 1991, brewing from the basement and delivering with an old station wagon to accounts around Fort Collins. Just wanted to make sure you have the real story here.
Of course 'Coolness' is subjective but I would be willing to put the farm on New Belgium being one of the 'coolest' breweries in the world. New Belgium was just named the 'Best place to work' in America by Outside magazine, that in itself is pretty cool I think. Ska is Rad too, I have met those cats (owners) and been to the brewery, they sent me away with some great beer.
I think another really cool thing about New Belgium is their commitment to the places we love (especially rivers), their commitment to our community, and their commitment to the brewing community, as well as their outstanding, unique and adventurous culture.
What is this really about though. I think its about preconceptions people have about Fat Tire. This truly tasty, truly Belgian style amber ale with a perfect balance of hop and malt, born of adventure and of travel is a Colorado classic and its a perfect example of what a beer can taste like.
Yeah, its popular now. So is Jack Johnson, so is Oh Be Joyful, so is the Big South and the Rolling Stones and the Glenwood Wave. Good things should be enjoyed and shared by all, and celebrated. I guarantee it tastes different than some folks thinks or tell you it tastes. Its soul, the New Belgium soul, is intact, it didnt get big and forget where it came from or who made it popular.
I have worked at New Belgium for 5 years, I grew up in Glenwood Springs and have been paddling for over a decade now. If you have any questions about New Belgium please let me know.