Time travel on the cheap: Stepping back 25 years with a bottle of Fat Tire, a few trails, and all the memories

            I believe in time travel. I’m not talking worm holes or Deloreans with flux capacitors or the infamous Bill & Ted phone booth, or even time traveling hot tubs.  I’m talking a lot cheaper than that, like the $9.49 (plus tax) variety. received_10156426212384225.jpegOf course I’m talking the price of a six pack of beer. For you see, when I have a beer from my past, it takes me back years, sometimes decades with a wave of memories and feelings. I see familiar faces and friends before the years’ took their toll. Recently, during this epic lockdown in the spring of 2020, I strolled through a liquor store, saw a six pack of Fat Tire and knew I needed to become reacquainted with this old friend once again.

            Having a bottle of Fat Tire is exactly what I described before as my own time travel device. The beer touches my lips and a thousand memories of my youth come rushing back. No plutonium necessary. Just the beer’s pleasant aroma and full flavor. Why Fat Tire you ask? Because in my history, it’s where this blog originates so many years ago.          

 

Once upon a time I had delusions of being a fighter pilot like in Top Gun. Accepted to the US Air Force Academy after high school, I moved to Colorado to pursue my dreams and I instantly fell in love with the state’s beauty, grand vistas, ruggedness, and multitude of trails. On the Academy alone, the 13-mile Falcon trail circumvents some of the installation, while other trails such as the Santa Fe trail outside of the Academy provide long flat stretches to run on. Despite being a cross country runner in high school, it was my time in Colorado where I learned to love trail running, often venturing out on my own for long 10 mile runs throughout the Academy reservation.

 

In the 1990s as ultramarathons and trail running really took off, I was ignorant. While my classmates talked of soaring the heavens, I seemed to daydream of running atop mountains (This could also be an indicator of why I ended up in the Army, but that’s another story). I just ran and ran every trail I could. No GPS watches, no altimeters, no pedometers—just going from A to B and sometimes to C. I didn’t carry water or a cell phone or backpack. Was I crazy? Probably more like stupid. Even Camelbaks were just starting to emerge (I didn’t get my first until Christmas 1998). By the time I said good bye to Colorado and moved to Germany in spring 1999, I was a committed trail runner.

 

            Paired with this trail running was my love for quality beer. I’m not talking the stuff you managed to acquire in high school from that one friend with the fake ID. I’m talking real beer, and the craft beer market in Colorado in the 1990s was legendary! This was when so many small craft microbreweries started off: Left Hand, Breckenridge, and Tommyknocker to name a few. Each week it seemed you could find something new out there to try, made even easier at places like Old Chicago in Colorado Springs with their World Beer Tour. Added to this were beer tastings. In those days a $5 cover would get you in to sample 6-10 breweries latest creations.

 

No tasting cap, no insane mark-ups, or limits on how much you could taste. You went until there was no more beer…and that was the best part because the brewers didn’t want to take the beer home, so it wasn’t uncommon to walk out with a mixed 6-pack of varietals from 3 or 4 different breweries. More than any other beer though, there was New Belgium Brewing Company’s Fat Tire

 

In my circle of friends, Fat Tire stood out as the king of the microbrews. Back then amber ales were all the rage for microbrews, and with them Fat Tire held our spot of #1. Being poor college students, it wasn’t uncommon for us to pool together our change to buy one 22oz bottle to have on a Saturday night—yeah, it was that good. (This was clearly before the days you could even buy cans of it!)  I may have lived all over the world and tried close to a hundred different beers since then, but nothing beats those fond memories of me and my friends with that great beer in the mid-1990s.

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Reunion in 2017

            With all of these things in mind from my past, presently I’ve stocked my little beer fridge with Fat Tire once again. Even though I’m social distancing and in self-isolation, going out for a hard five miles and then opening a Fat Tire takes me back all those years. I see the faces and recount the adventures we had. It was in those precious moments which are the basis for creating this blog and where I found my fondness for great beer and amazing trails. I just hope I can continue to capture those prized memories once more going forward. It really was a time of paths and pilsners and of magic and memories I hope never to forget.

Until next time, stay running and healthy and I hope trails continue to open for all to enjoy once again!20200509_144247.jpg

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