I attended college on the central coast of California—a beautiful little town nestled among the morros and cuddled up around a simple Spanish mission. It was a college town and a retirement town, and that left little room for anyone else. Which meant that San Luis Obispo was just a tad disconnected from the real world…more so than the rest of California. And that meant my peers considered Colorado something akin to the backwoods of Alabama, or Mars. I fought hard to defend my Broncos, my ski resorts, my blue skies and fresh air, my native land as the best in the country. It was me against the Raider Nation.
And then one day, Fat Tire came to town.
I had long touted the beer-centric-ness of Colorado and the amazing micro-breweries that were beginning to make the Centennial State a craft beer powerhouse. But Coors was the only Colorado beer that had made its way to San Luis Obispo. That is, until the cozy dark pub Frog & Peach began stocking Fat Tire. It wasn’t on tap or even in a can or normal bottle. Colorado craft beer made its debut in a 22 oz. glass bomber.
With pride, I’d order a bottle and strut around the bar bringing as much attention as possible to my old friend (growing up in Fort Collins, New Belgium was everywhere. I had gone to school with the Odell kids, and I had hung out in the Colorado breweries before I could drink). I’d share my beer with anyone who asked and praise its complex notes and truly New Belgium-ish characteristics. “This is from my home town,” I’d say with pride. They could not deny the deliciousness, and by the end of my senior year, it was not rare to see handfuls of people lugging Fat Tire bombers to the back patio or clutching them as they swayed to a raucous band.
And that is my legacy.
There is something very beer-ish about fall in Colorado. It’s when we put down our session beers and seek something soul-satisfying and wonderfully flavorful. It’s when the Great American Beer Fest makes connoisseurs out of thousands of beer lovers; though, a vast majority of us never even get to see the convention room floor. It’s when Oktoberfests remind us that beer is a part of our history as well as our future. And it’s most definitely when that instinctual Colorado sensibility takes over: as the leaves change and the air gets all chilly and crisp, it’s time to cuddle up with a good magazine and a bottle of beer.
Make mine a bomber.