Fat Tire has crossed the bar into my hand plenty of times, but I have never officially analyzed its properties until recently.
Basic Info (via Fat Tire website)
Fat Tire is named in honor of the co-founder’s bike trip through Europe. Belgian beers use a far broader palette of ingredients (fruits, spices, esoteric yeast strains) than German or English styles. Fat Tire won fans with its sense of balance.
Hops: Willamette, Goldings, Target
Malts: Pale, C-80, Munich, Victory
Aroma: Sweet biscuty and caramel malts, subtle notes of fresh fennel and green apple
Mouthfeel: carbonation and light sweetness finish on your palate
Flavor: Toasty malt, gentle sweetness, flash of fresh hop bitterness. The malt and hops are perfectly balanced.
Visual: Clear, amber and bright with white lacing
I drank multiple bottles of Fat Tire recently. The beer is accurately described as a clear, amber shade. I did not pick up on the sweetness described, but I whole-heartedly agree that this beer strikes a nice balance of hops and bitterness.
I am not very familiar with the International Bittering Units (IBU) and from my research I found that beers with under 20 IBUs are considered to have no apparent hops present. Most beers have an IBU ranging from 20 to 45 and have mild to pronounced hops. Beers with an IBU of 45 or above are heavily hopped and can be quite bitter. As in most tasting scenarios, the apparent bitterness of the beer is subjective to the taste of the drinker. In this case, even though the IBU was 18.5, I still felt that there was a slightly pronounced bitterness to the beer.
I enjoyed a burger with the second Fat Tire I drank, and I felt that the toasty flavor of the ale paired nicely with the burger and the saltiness from the kettle chips I was eating as well.