After hundreds of beers, thousands of votes and more than a few hangovers, we have found America's Next Top Beer
. We enlisted the aid of the some of the beer world's sharpest minds and sampled the finest brews this land has to offer. But in the end, one copper-colored Colorado craft beer towered above all others. And now, thanks to your votes, Fat Tire Amber Ale
is America's Next Top Beer.
"It's a complete honor," said Tyler Foos, who has introduced countless visitors to Fat Tire and all of New Belgium Brewing's offerings in the tasting room of their Colorado brewery. "It's amazing and humbling. There are so many great craft beers out there."
Brought to the table by user comments, Fat Tire was carried through the nomination round by it's ardent fan base, and then went on to trounce our experts' hand-picked finalists in the championship round of voting. When all the numbers were crunched, the Colorado-brewed amber ale actually raked in twice the votes of the runner-up, San Diego standout Stone Pale Ale
Fat Tire actually found its inspiration in Belgium, where founder Jeff Lebesch fell in love with that country's distinctive brews during a bike trip. Lebesch tried to recreate those flavors -- notes of fruit and floral elements balanced with hints of hops -- in his Colorado basement, and the New Belgium Brewing Co.
was born. The company now brews more than 20 different varieties of beer, but Fat Tire remains New Belgium's calling card. "It's had a lot of amazing staying power," Foos told us.
So what's the appeal of this amber elixir? For some, it's a bit of homegrown Rocky Mountain pride. "I found it living in Colorado, but have missed it since moving to Virginia," Asylum user kevo
"I live at the Mothership, Fort Collins. There's nothing sweeter than a visit to the brewery for Lips of Faith samplings," Fat Tire fan Diana
But for others, the company's progressive business practices -- from their employee-owned culture
to their use of wind power and additional energy-conservation efforts
-- are as appealing as what's in the bottle. "Fat Tire is an amazing beer made by not only the most amazing wind-powered brewery, but what I believe is the greatest model for a company in the United States," Asylum user Caleb
said. "If only everyone could adopt their philosophies what a world it would be!" Diana added.
"I've heard people say, 'I want to support you now that I know how you do business,'" Foos acknowledged.
Ultimately, however, it's all about the beer. As Caleb gushed, "[New Belgium Brewing is] just an amazing place that makes amazing beer."
"For of a lot of people, I think Fat Tire is their first love," Foos said. "They go on and try other beers, but they always come back to it."
And now, their little secret is America's Next Top Beer.
But think of this, beer-loving friends, not as an end but rather a beginning. Whether it's Fat Tire
or Lagunitas IPA
, B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher Oatmeal-Imperial Stout
, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
or any one of our 24 top-shelf finalists
, we hope you found some new brews to explore. Between our nominees and your suggestions, we've spotlighted dozens of excellent craft beers, so don't blame us if you spend your summer drinking lame beer.