Beer 30: Fat Tire 1554 Black Lager

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1554_lWelcome to the next edition to our blog series, Beer:30. It has been widely known that when people travel for work, they usually try to find a good beer while on the road — whether it is local to that particular area or a beer too good to pass up, no matter where you are. Or, maybe you have tips that a beer drinker should know when traveling or looking for a good beer. Tell us here.

Believe it or not, beer can bring people together — in responsible libation. We would encourage you to participate, as well. Have a beer you really like that perhaps the rest of us should know about? Again, tell us here. We hope to contribute something every week or so; be on the lookout!

Our next entry in the Beer:30 blog is from our friend, and beer connoisseur, Steve “Wheels” Wieland. This guy knows his beer. In fact, he brews his own.

I find myself in the little town of Chestertown, Maryland at the only hang out in the area called the Blue Bird Tavern. Cool Place, everyone knows your name, even if you’re a stranger to these parts. But a friendly crowd, typical bar flies with nice smiles. I peer over at the 10 tap system and see a handsome selection. I see one that I have not had, New Belgium FAT TIRE 1554 BLACK LAGER.

The bartender tries to explain the beer to me but I am still intrigued. I ask for one, even after her explanation. The beer pours dark with a tight tan head. The aroma of licorice, toffee, roasted malt and just a hint of lager sweetness. I pull New Belgium’s website looking for when they came up with this beauty.  To my surprise I discover that originally this beer was released over two decades ago only to have the original recipe get lost in the Fort Collins flood of 1997. Due to demand New Belgium recreated the beer in 2002 after years of research and development.

I lift the glass and take my first sip. At first the beer is dry, then sweet smooth creamy mouthfeel coats my tongue. I taste chocolate, black figs, and hints of black licorice and toffee. The sweetness in the aroma is not present in the wonderful flavor. The beer leaves you with a taste of satisfaction with such a nice balance of dryness. I peer at the glass and see a great foam lacing all over the inside where the beer used to be. It was so good it tasted like another, so I go for number 2 and 3!

Dark malty lagers are something I have not explored until tonight. I can imagine sitting in front of the fire sipping this all night with a few ginger snap cookies.  A manly meal like nice grilled burger or a peppercorn steak would pair excellent. Even just sipping while enjoying a late evening cigar would be really nice, take a six pack!

I score this beer at 89, Beer Advocate gives it a 86 (very good) rating. Drink this beer at about 45F. Enjoy responsibly.

Steve WielandSteve Wieland is the Mid-Atlantic Regional Sales Manager for NTI, an avid homebrewer and beer geek. He can be reached at

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