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The Beer Friends write, review, and discuss Craft Beer as fans instead of experts.  They share their unique voice and affinity for craft beer through multiple platforms and offer a range of media to join their craft beer conversation.

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Filtering by Tag: Fat Tire

Hashtag Battles Season 2 - Week 7!

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! In the spirit of competition, Beer Friends would like to invite everyone to our second season of NFL hashtag battles! Using hashtagbattle.com we will pit two breweries against each other when their NFL counterparts are facing off on the gridiron. Are you ready for some football? And drinking? And #hashtag battle?!?!?!

What's a hashtag battle? When you're drinking a beer of a brewery competing in the battle, throw a #hashtag of the brewery and tweet it (or setup your foursquare or untappd to push to tweet and include the #hashtag) and we'll use hashtagbattle.com to declare a winner after the Monday Night football game on ESPN. Support your team, support your beer, drink local and hashtag battle!

Week Six -  Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers (#shinerbeers vs #newbelgium)

This week features two of the biggest egos in football, one in the owners' box and the other as a sophomore quarterback.  Pepper in a little ID and super ego and we have a Texas-sized omelette.  Let's see who wins this battle, not on the field but whose head can fit inside the stadium.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones often overshadows the football team he owns.  The self-proclaimed "America's Team" was flying high with a few superbowl wins, iconic cheerleaders and a hat almost as famous as Indiana Jones'.  Jerry Jones was once quoted as saying that Cowboys stadium needed a retractable roof so God could watch his Cowboys play football - well, God has changed the channel after a few struggling seasons, the Texas version of Mark Sanchez, and clock management techniques straight from Alice in Wonderland.   The Cowboys have been more of a brand than a football team in the past few years - finishing 3rd in the NFC East the past two years, but Jerry Jones just keeps talking.  This week the biggest mouth in Texas proclaimed that the Cowboys still have the Superbowl in sight this year.  At 2-3 they'll need a lot of help already, and even God stopped paying attention.

Shiner from the Spoetzl Brewery is a Texas sized classic.  In a state filled with Cowboys and watered down beer selections, Shiner shines bright and gives hope through the dust kicked up in the daily rodeos.  With a wide variety of brews - including a Shiner Bock with the iconic Big Horned Sheep, a Black Lager and the seasonal Oktoberfest, Shiner continues to grow and attempt to show them Cowboys the real American way... of craft beer.

The Carolina Panthers had a lot of promise coming into the season.  Rivera is a defense minded  coach and Cam Newton had the Golden touch - not in wins but stats which eventually translate, right?  After a rough sophomore season start, we find Cam Newton playing more like Clark Kent than Superman.  The Panthers have one win against the Saints this season (but who hasn't beat the Saints this year?  - Sorry didn't see you there Chargers...)  and loses by 6, 29, 4, 2 - so they are getting closer.  Can Cam Newton turn the ship around and play well enough that the Carolina faithful aren't looking to draft a replacement Man of Steel - those Batman movies were pretty good, right?

New Belgium is a Colorado Brewery, right?  Not anymore!  The Denver Post reported in April that New Belgium is building a 175 million dollar brewery in Asheville, NC to better serve the East Coast - to which we EST'ers cheer loudly.  Ranger IPA is a fantastic brew (one Beer Friend said it was his favorite IPA of all time... Phil), and Fat Tire is legendary in areas without access to the brew.  The Lips of Faith series is an excellent addition to the brewing line, and wonderful seasonals keep me looking forward to every time the weather changes.  Belgo is a newer Belgian IPA that seems to be getting good reviews and one of their classic beers always impresses.  With this strong GABF contender year in and year out moving to North Carolina, hopefully the Panthers can take note, or just have some really good beers.

Let the battle begin! Tag with #shinerbeer or #newbelgium, the battle begins Sunday morning and ends Monday night… drink to support your teams!

Beer Review 113: New Belgium Fat Tire

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! Today is the third in the series of the New Belgium Reviews (Dig - Belgo).  New Belgium has recently announced a new $175 million dollar brewery in Asheville, NC and the Beer Friends are terribly excited about it - so we decided to find and review some of their brews to get the East Coast (mainly New England and NYC Area) ready!  Fat Tire is certainly the most popular brew from New Belgium and the name was inspired from the "fat tires" on the mountain bike that the founder Jeff Lebesch rode through European village on his career-inspiring beer tour.  History!  Colorado Beer Tour!  Expansion for Delicious Beer!

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BFF4 - FINAL FOUR!

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! Wow!  This was a tournament to remember... but it's not over yet!  We had Imperial Stouts battling in Brad's Colorado/Michigan Bracket, Newcomer Nebraska showing veteran poise in Paul's Bracket, a California clash of Speakeasy and Stone in Phil's bracket and a epic duel between Captain Lawrence and Cape Cod in the Northeastern Graham bracket.  This was truly one for the ages.  Now we are down to four, four delicious beers with huge fan bases and twitter feeds to back them up.  Four beers enter and one will come out as the 2011 BFF4 champion, with their banner hung in the rafters (next the New Belgium's Fat Tire - last years winner).  Who will be victorious?  You decide!  This round we have completely open and unlimited voting.  If you really love that beer, prove it - hit refresh (cmmd+R on a Mac or ctrl + R on a PC) and vote the day away.  If you spent your March hiding your CBS March Madness broadcast window when your boss walked by - this is much easier.  Polls are open until Monday April 11th at 11:59 EST.  Vote often!  Prove your love - and we don't know who's voting so no commitment issues!  Beer!

For a our take on this round check out our latest video and the vote!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJqLg3b8rRo]

Founders Breakfast Stout was originally a #3 seed out of Brad's Colorado and Michigan bracket.  This is a complex stout with plenty to offer, sweet enough to drink more than one, but with a 8.3% ABV you probably shouldn't.  This beer is only available seasonally from Sept to December so on those first days of football (college of course because the NFL no longer exists) start looking for this coffee and chocolatey rich stout.  Also keep an eye out for the Kentucky Breakfast Stout (bourbon barrels) and the rare Canadian Breakfast Stout (maple barrels) because these two variations are worth the extra cash!

The Breakfast Stout is up against a strong competitor in Nebraska Brunette Nut Brown Ale.  This is a very easily drinkable brown ale that has been getting support since the early rounds and promises to be a fearsome foe in the Final 4.  This beer's resume speaks for itself, it has won Gold, 2010 US Open Beer Championship (English Style Brown Ale), and Bronze, 2010 World Beer Championship, (English Style Brown Ale).  Will Nebraska Brewing be able to add Beer Friend Final 4 Champion to this list?

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The East vs West match up finally comes to a head !

Phil's Bracket seed #5 Speakeasy Big Daddy IPA takes on Cape Cod Red the #2 seed from Graham's Bracket.  Speakeasy is the sweetheart brew from the Western Region, coming in at the 11th hour to defeat Stone Brewing's Arrogant Bastard Ale for its slot in the Final Four.  Cape Cod has it's work cut out for itself as the Western crowd seems pretty attached to the Big Daddy.

However, Cape Cod Red comes in hot off it's very exciting victory over Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold.  It was a wild back and forth slug fest that went on for days culminated with Cape Cod Beer raising it's arms in victory. Obviously Cape Cod's troops are mobilized, but will they be able to fend off the surging Speakeasy brew?

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BFF4 Second Round - Brad's Bracket

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! Dreams are broken and the strong move on... who ever thought the Rocky Mountain IPA had a chance against Breakfast Stout or (the biggest upset) Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout over Bristol's Laughing Lab, not to worry Bristol fans - Mass Transit pulled through over the strong year-round available Founder's Porter.  Can Yeti continue it's run?  can Bell's pull through as the two seed continuing to a 1 vs 2 match-up?  Vote and decide!

The 1 vs 8 match up has last year's winner Fat Tire advancing to play 471 Small Batch IPA from Breckenridge Brewery.  This is Breckenridge's first year in the BFF4 and they had a strong showing... can they be a Butler and bring down the #1 seed?

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The 5 vs 13 includes the biggest winner in the Colorado/Michigan bracket vs the upset minded Equinox Brewery Nova Pale Ale who squeezed by Odell's - Cutthroat Porter (even on nitro pour?  Nova must have a big following...).  Can the magic continue?  Or do they become like Villanova and get bounced from the tourney?

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The 6 vs 3 matchup features no surprises - Oskar Blue's Dales Pale Ale vs Founders Breakfast Stout.  Both are strong and excellent examples of a well crafted beer... Both are in my favorite go-to beers... I'm so torn!

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The 7 vs 2 match up features the ever popular Bell's Oberion vs the little known (and well liked) Bristol Mass Transit.   These are two lighter beers going head to head so expect a high scoring affair.

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BFF4 - Brad Bracket First Round

Brad

Hello Beer Friends Nation! It's that time of year where EVERYONE is swept up in the madness... yes - Beer Friends Final Four Beer Bracket is BACK!

Forget Louisville in the First Round and bubble teams, we're talking ales in the First Round and drinking the suds...

This year we (kinda) followed a regional bracket match up instead of the style like last year.

Brad's Bracket includes beers from Colorado and the Michigan area (somehow Great Lakes snuck in there...).  Vote your favorite brew through and pick that Cinderella team, sorry, stout.  Pick the winner and hold it over your friends heads until the next year (Brooklyn's Dark Matter anyone?) Beer!  Voting!

The 1 vs 16 match up pits Last Years winner, New Belgium's Fat Tire against a stout from Boulder - Avery's Out of Bounds Stout.  The Out of Bounds was delicious when infused with coffee, but Fat Tire seems like the fan favorite - should be interesting.  See more of this entry for voting!

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The 8 vs 9 match up has Breckenridge Breweries 471 Small Batch IPA against Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter.  This is a interesting choice because Edmund Fitzgerald is a multiple award winner - but the selection committee always gets a few wrong (they failed the "eye" test?)

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The 5 vs 12 match up sees Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout against Bristol Laughing Lab.  This is a Colorado knock down drag out... Yeti is known all over the US and Laughing Lab all over Colorado - both delicious beers - I'm guessing multiple overtimes.

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The 4 vs 13 match has upset special all over it.  Odell Cutthroat Porter against the ultimate mid-major in Equinox Nova Pale Ale.  These two breweries are miles apart (if even a mile) but the beers couldn't be different.  Dick Vitale is watching this one as a "upset special!"

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The 6 vs 11 match up has another two close breweries duking it out.  Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale against Boulder Beer Companies Cold Hop.  Both beers are available all over the US, but only one beer became available at my local grocery store which puts their RPI in the 20's!

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The 3 vs 14 match up is another mismatch.  Founders Breakfast Stout against Fort Collins Brewery Rocky Mountain IPA.  While Rocky Mountain IPA is a great beer, Breakfast Stout is built to win.

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The 7 vs 10 match up could go either way.  Two completely different beer styles in Bristol's Mass Transit against Founder's Porter - but great brews in their own rights.  Will the up-tempo smooth play of Mass Transit triumph over the slow down pace of Founder's Porter?

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The 2 vs 15 match up could be another upset special.  Bell's Oberion vs Ska Brewing Company Pinstripe Ale.  Oberion is a summer time favorite but Ska is quickly moving up the popular breweries ladder.  With Ska Brewing Company now available in cans... will this be enough for the 15 over 2 upset?

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Featured Brewery: New Belgium Brewery

Brad

The New Belgium Brewery was founded in  Fort Collins, Colorado in 1991 when the company's Brew Master took his home brewing to the next level.    Since then, New Belgium has grown into one of the more popular breweries in a state producing many top craft beers.   While you can’t find their stuff out on the East Coast - yet, you can certainly find it in any store in Colorado and the surrounding states. The flagship beer for New Belgium is Fat Tire, an amber ale that is famous throughout the Colorado beer drinking community.  According to New Belgium’s website, Jeff Lebesch got his inspiration for beer while traveling through Belgium on his bike equiped with “fat tires,” Jeff returned to the states with ideas and ingredients that forever changed the Colorado beer landscape. New Belgium’s mission statement can be found here, and you can see the principles applied in every bottle they brew.

As this Beer Friend toured the brewery a few years back, I was overwhelmed with the sense of social responsibility.  Having toured one giant brewery in Colorado (Coors in Golden), I found the personal touches at New Belgium refreshing and this attitude forever changed my philosophy on beer.  An employee owned business, the brewery uses wind power and recycled water to make and bottle their beer.  After being with the company a year, employees are offered a stake in the company and their very own cruiser bike, complete with “fat tires”.

The Beers: While not the first New Belgium beer, Fat Tire has assumed the flagship mantle and is always a go-to beer.  Soft on the palette this beer never disappoints, just a smooth beer for any time of the year.

Sunshine Wheat is the wheat beer of the company and this Beer Friend can remember plenty of Greeley summer days sitting on the porch with a six pack and a book.  Light and refreshing, this beer almost brings the sunshine out.

2 (degrees) Below is the New Belgium winter beer which this Beer Friend had on his recent home visit.  Light on the typical winter spices, this beer finishes light and reminds you to have another on a cool winter night.

Check out www.newbelgium.com for more beers and food pairings.

Overall this brewery had a huge impact in the development of this Beer Friends’ beer philosophy.  While we all enjoy beer for different reasons, this company enjoys beer and makes a difference – asking the question: Why can’t we all?  The best example of the New Belgium way: “Producing world-class beers” is actually number two on the company’s list of Care Values.  The top value? It is a value that reminds all New Belgium employees how lucky they are to be making beer that makes a difference – “Having Fun.”

Beer Styles: Amber

Brad

With seemingly thousands of varieties of beer available – this Beer Friend started to ask what’s the difference between each?  The differences between a Stout and hefeweizen are obvious – but what about everything in between?  The Beer Friends decided to explore this and start defining beer styles and types, but also giving our two-cents about each type.  This Beer Friend starts with Amber Ale, which is my go-to beer at any bar. The Amber ale is a type of Pale Ale.  While Pale Ale will be described in a later post, I’ll give you the basics so we can tell how Amber Ale is different. Definitionally, pale ale is only pale in color compared to the typical porters that were common in England in the early days of brewing.  Pale Ale is typically a bitter beer with it’s more potent selection of hops, so much so that while breweries called it Pale, customers called it bitter.

Amber Ale is typically a beer with a coopery color, with more red than basic pale ale, but not enough brown coloring to be a brown ale.  The taste of a Amber can vary but still has a hoppy bitterness to it which defines it as a Amber ale – under the pale ale family of beers.  A good Amber, in this Beer Friends opinion, will have a excellent balance between the hops and malts to create a smooth taste.  If your looking for a spicy beer try an IPA -- no room for that in a Amber.

Two favorite Amber Ale’s of this Beer Friend are both from Colorado, New Belgium’s Fat Tire and Bristol Brewery’s Mass Transit.  While Fat Tire is one of the darlings of the Colorado craft beer scene, Mass Transit flies below the radar. Despite the lower profile, it is one of this Beer Friends’ top five beers and is -- sorry mom and dad -- the thing that brings him back to Colorado from time to time.

Look for future in-depth reviews of Fat Tire and Mass Transit.