Tour de Fat 

The good folks from New Belgium Brewing are bringing their Tour de Fat to Boise this Saturday. The event kicks off with a bike parade from Julia Davis Park at 11 a.m. (Registration starts at 10:30-be there early.) Zany costumes are highly recommended by the sponsors, and riders return to the park at noon when the kegs will be tapped and the entertainment begins.

Captain Ballyhoo and Maestro Mateo (not their real names, I hope) will be coming up from the brewery to lead the event. Sideshow entertainment includes the amazing feats of the incredible Tobias the Mystic Man and Lief Olson. Music provided will be Devotchka, Born in the Flood and Oakhurst. The beer will flow freely and food will be offered up from Old Chicago and Hyde Park's Parrilla Grill. Last call is 5:30 p.m. and all profits to go to the Southwest Idaho Mountain Biking Association.

This is the sixth year for the Tour de Fat (but just the fourth for Boise). As the name implies, the event highlights New Belgium's ever popular Fat Tire, a good intro for those looking to try something beyond the big industrial brews. But the rest of New Belgium's portfolio is even more interesting. Their Blue Paddle is a hoppy pilsner with good body, closer in style to Pils Urquell than a Belgian pils. The 1554 offers up a dark lager with mocha overtones and an impeccably clean finish. Both the Abbey (a Belgian style double) and the Trippel echo the brews they're based on with rich, spicy flavors and ample kick. Hopefully, they will all be available at the event.

Stella Artois-Final Update

When the makers of Stella broke precedent by bringing bottles of their famous brew to Boise just four months after introducing it on tap (everywhere else they make them wait a full six), I wasn't all that excited. Frankly, I found the draught version to be a bit on the dull and sweet side. So I challenged Stella fans to try a bottle against a Pils Urquell or a Czechvar. Well, I took the challenge myself and now I understand the hype. The brew in the bottle is significantly different from the tap version-a nicely hopped, imminently quaffable pilsner with better carbonation and a crisper finish than draught. In short, a world-class brew-count me as a happy convert.

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