You can’t escape FATE

On a return trip, we try the originals, including watermelon ale

Photo by Elizabeth Miller

“Do they still have the watermelon?” Jeff asks excitedly.

They do. Decision made.

As the tour of Boulder’s breweries is now at its end — by the time you read this, Boulder Weekly’s editors
will have finally made the Nederland trip and visited every brewery
with a place to sit down in this county — we’re finding it hard to
decide where to go next. But a return trip to FATE Brewing Company was always in the plans, since the first time we went the brewery wasn’t brewing and the beers on tap were all collaborations with other breweries.

But now, FATE is going full-bore. Thirty taps pour local, national and international beers, with eight FATE originals leading the way. FATE’s own beers are a mix of British/Boulderite (two IPAs and an American stout), Belgian (a pale) and German (a Roggenbier, a Kolsch and the watermelon kolsch).

I’ll leave FATE’s food to our dear Clay Fong, who reviewed the restaurant back in May. But I will say stopping by just for a beer isn’t getting the full experience. But it seems Boulderites already know that; the FATE patio is bustling for lunch hour, to the degree that I wonder if FATE Restaurant and Taproom isn’t a more all-encompassing name.

We’ve all been thirsting for the watermelon kolsch, or, more accurately, kolsch-style ale, since an additional ingredient like watermelon is verboten for a true German beer. The beer is light and not too sweet, with a clear, distinct watermelon taste that, the staff agrees, is a little more like watermelon-flavored candy than the fruit itself, although it’s not overbearing at all.

The only downside, Elizabeth says, is that it ruins everything else, making “all the other beers taste bitter.” So, just get another watermelon kolsch. Problem solved.

Our five samples of FATE’s other beers come in a fascinating piece of ironwork, evidently soldered by hand specifically for the brewery. It’s a clever little taster carrier: FATE’s owners took the restaurant’s distinctive four-arrows logo in cast iron and tracked down taster glasses shaped just right to be caught and lifted by the arrows as the carrier is raised. The four editors present, all “words and ideas” kind of people, are probably a little too fascinated by the physics of it.

The beers it carried to us span from summer brews like the watermelon-less Kolsch, a very clean and sessionable beer, to the imperial IPA, which offers a shorter hops aftertaste than most imperials without sacrificing the hops punch on the nose.

Then there’s the American-style stout, which does a lot of work to redeem the “American” label in my mind. Back in February I wasn’t thrilled with the hoppiness of “American” stouts, but FATE’s emphasizes coffee scent and flavor and pairs it with a slightly bitter finish. It’s among the city’s best stouts, although while it’s hot we’re embracing the summer beers.

And FATE’s just put another on tap, the brewery has announced: a golden Hefewiezen with clove and banana flavors. Those patio tables are gonna stay busy.