In the Mix

Fat Tire rolls into Hawaii

February 11th, 2016
JASON GENEGABUS / JASON@STARADVERTISER.COMBottles from New Belgium Brewing Company line the shelves at Bar 35 during a preview tasting earlier this month.


Bottles from New Belgium Brewing Company line the shelves at Bar 35 during a preview tasting earlier this month.

One of the most eagerly anticipated craft brew brands in the United States arrives in Hawaii this week as New Belgium Brewing rolls out a full complement of its beers — including its popular Fat Tire amber ale — in stores as well as local bars and restaurants.

“Craft beer has a lot of potential to grow and expand, especially here in Hawaii,” said New Belgium Brewing regional sales director Scotty Prawalsky during a preview tasting at Bar 35 on Feb. 2. “We feel our beer is going to resonate really well. We’re excited for people to try it and not have to bring it home in their luggage!”

New Belgium Brewing was officially launched in Fort Collins, CO in 1991 by a guy who started out by making beer in his basement. Jeff Lebesch and his wife, Kim Jordan, were the ones who came up with the original Fat Tire recipe, which led the charge to the brewery’s current offerings of more than three dozen different beers.

Yes, Beer Nerds, you can relax. Hawaii will get more than just Fat Tire. Along with the amber ale, we’ll see bottles and kegs of Ranger IPA, Rampant Imperial IPA, Citradelic tangerine IPA and Glutiny gluten-reduced golden ale. Sidetrip, a Belgian-style pale ale, will be available on draft at local bars and restaurants. Another seasonal release, Hoppy Blonde ale, is expected here in March.

Why the expansion to Hawaii now? It’s all about capacity, Prawalsky said. New Belgium has a new brewery built and ready to go in North Carolina, which will be capable of taking care of customers on the east coast that were previously serviced by the original Colorado brewery. Once it’s fully functional later this year, beer brewed in Fort Collins that was once destined for others will now make its way across the Pacific to Oahu, Maui, Kaui and Hawaii island.

A number of events are planned on Oahu to celebrate New Belgium’s arrival, starting Thursday at Bar 35. The Chinatown bar will host a free public event with entertainment by Discord & Rye to go with beer and pizza samples. All New Belgium beers will be priced at $4.50 (bottles) and $5 (draft) before 10 p.m.

On Feb. 17, BREW’d in Kaimuki will host a Tap Teaser featuring the two seasonal beers on draft as well as the full lineup of bottles available in Hawaii. The bar is located at 3441 Waialae Ave. in Kaimuki; call (808) 732-2337.

And reservations are now open for a New Belgium Brewing Beer Dinner hosted by Chef Ronnie Nasuti at Tiki’s Grill and Bar in Waikiki on March 21 at 6 p.m.

According to a menu posted online, the dinner will include:

» Amuse Bouche: Tarte Flambée Duck Confit with melted leeks and Gouda cheese, served with Citradelic cocktail

» First Course: Hibachi Hamachi Kama with spice sprout salad, served with Citradelic tangerine IPA

» Second Course: Pig Ear Frites with green papaya salad and lime fish sauce, served with Glutiny Golden Ale

» Third Course: C4 Oyster with crab/sausage stuffing and taegu, served with Ranger IPA

» Fourth Course: Quartet of stuffed chicken wing, Rampant beer soup, corned beef cheek and foie gras, served with Rampant Imperial IPA

» Fifth Course: Manini New Belgium waffle with char siu duck ice cream and brown butter coconut maple syrup, served with Fat Tire amber ale

Tickets for the five-course meal are $73.79 and available via Eventbrite.
Jason Genegabus has covered the local entertainment, nightlife, music and bar scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

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