Note from Skinny Pete: The following contains varying degrees of Breaking Bad spoilers.
I'm an occasional beer drinker. I certainly enjoy sipping on a nice tequila by the pool, or a fine scotch such as Dimple Pinch. I've been known to overendulge on red wine and tell a secret or two. But after a long day of teaching, or cooking, I like to unwind with a cold beer from the family fridge.
Some time ago, caught up in the chaos of helping my wife care for our newborn daughter, I was able, for a brief moment, to steal away for a bit of peace. I found myself in a neighborhood bar, alone, which isn't typical behavior for me. I seemed to be searching out new experiences, perhaps an impulse brought on by my fiftieth birthday and a particularly illuminating visit to the doctor. I had been acting differently, taking more chances, not myself. The exhilaration of my new life tempered some by feelings of guilt and shame at what I had done and what I was keeping from my family, but not enough that I was willing to stop. My family, they no longer knew the man I was becoming, had become. It was at this bar that I decided to order a Fat Tire from New Belgium.
I'd never had one before, this was another first. New Belgium being located in Colorado, it made sense that their distribution had brought them to my watering hole in Albuquerque, but I wasn't familiar with the brewery at the time. The unusual name piqued my interest, and the tap handle caught my eye. A red bicycle. It gave me a sense of freedom. The brewery also brought to mind Belgian chemist Jean Louis Auguste Brachet, a pioneer in the human understanding of Ribonucleic acid. I always thought highly of Brachet, the legacy he left behind. I ordered a pint.
I don't have a great deal of time. I still have things to do. I'll end my review of this beer with a handful of observations. This method reminds me of a man I once knew. His name was Gale. He took similar such notes when crafting what he believed was the best cup of coffee ever made. He was an interesting guy. We had a pleasant business relationship for a while.
Pours rich, with traces of red and amber, much like blood after it's spent some time resting in a bathtub, or when being washed from the floor of a laboratory. A finger or two of foam laces the glass.
Smells of bread and malt, some caramel with light sweetness. Pleasant. Hypothetically, had someone previously been witness to a drug overdose, say a young woman in a heroin-induced stupor, and maybe, for the sake of argument, the young woman began to choke on her own vomit, and perhaps, I don't know, this hypothetical someone allowed this hypothetical young woman to simply die as a result of her choice, merely declined to offer any assistance, let nature run it's course—hypothetically, had that happened, then the satisfying aroma of this beer would offer a pleasant distraction to this imaginary someone, allowing him a welcome respite from the complicated feelings stemming from his choice of inaction.
A very toasty and biscuity beer. Hints of malt and grain and caramel. A light sweetness. Tastes far superior to vegetarian bacon.
A lighter body mixes well with the foamy head. Surprisingly crisp with good carbonation. The process of carbonation is fascinating. Carbon dioxide is weakly soluble in water, causing it to separate into a gas when pressure is released. The result in beverages is a bubbly effervescence.
I was very happy to have drunk this beer, and for the conversation I had while enjoying it. I spoke to a nice man for a few minutes. We discussed family. There's that word again, family. The reason we do everything. The reason we can't do everything. But that's all of life, right? It's a lot like beer in that way. It's the constant, it's the cycle. It's solution, dissolution. Just over and over and over. It is growth, then decay, then transformation.