Calling everyone who loves craft beer, music and fun. Get a ticket and head over to the River Arts District for New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat party Saturday, May 20. It’s going to be a ‘happening’ party, from 4 to 9 p.m. at the brewery’s Craven Street Asheville campus.
The party fun includes high-flying acts, music, dance and, of course, the craft beer icon, Fat Tire Amber Ale. There is even more reason to party, because it’s also New Belgium’s celebration of its first anniversary of the opening of the Asheville Liquid Center tasting room.
The Fat Tire Tour de Fat is described as a 33-city tour of “beer, bikes, and bemusement.” Everyone is invited to come in costume for a one-of-a-kind party.
“Expect to experience the unexpected,” said Susanne Hackett, NBB communications specialist. “We’re bringing the party with Third Eye Blind and the Tour de Fat ensemble cast of performers. Ready your eyes and ears for a mix of musicians, circus performers, vaudeville acts, magicians, comedians, and mind-blowing provocateurs. Costumes are highly encouraged — and a mindset to party is mandatory.”
NBB is an employee-owned company with core values including “producing world-class beers,” “environmental stewardship” — and “having fun.” It is well-known that New Belgium Brewing cares deeply about being a good corporate citizen. The company launched Tour de Fat in 2000, as NBB’s “philanthropic festival of bikes, beer and fun.”
“Celebrating our one-year anniversary in Asheville with our first Tour de Fat in the area feels perfect,” Hackett said. “Giving back to communities through the Tour de Fat has always been meaningful to us, and now, having it in our new home makes it even more so.”
A new element for the 2017 season is a top headline act in each city. In Asheville, the alternative rock band Third Eye Blind will perform. The band is celebrating its 20th anniversary of its debut album this summer with its Summer Gods Tour. Third Eye blind will play at Tour de Fat in Asheville just before the band’s tour kicks off.
The May 20 main stage entertainment line-up is: Third Eye Blind; Ian Ridenhour, winner of the May 6 Battle of the Bands; Sputnik, featuring performers, vaudeville acts, magicians, comedians and provocateurs; and Fire Leopard Sedan Halen.
Tour de Fat has expanded to 33 cities across the U.S. and shows will run from May 20 in Asheville, to Oct. 7 in Tempe, Arizona. The familiar faces of the traveling entertainment ensemble from past years will be present at many shows, and this year will include more local and regional acts than before.
“Since 2000, Tour de Fat has raised close to $5 million for non-profit partners and hopes to generate more than $600,000 in support of local causes this year,” Hackett said. “Proceeds from the Asheville stop will benefit Asheville on Bikes, an organization focused on cultivating the culture of urban and commuter cycling through advocacy and celebration.”
Tickets for the Asheville Tour de Fat are $25, plus fees; children 12 and under are free. Tickets are first come, first served, and are available for purchase in advance online or at the New Belgium Brewing Liquid Center in Asheville. Donations for the non-profit will be accepted at the show.
Beer will be sold at $5 for a 12 oz. pour, but no outside beer, liquor, or moonshine will be allowed. A valid I.D. is required for beer purchase. This is a rain or shine event.
For more information about the Tour de Fat Asheville stop, performers or to purchase tickets, visit newbelgium.com/events/tour-de-fat/city/Asheville.
Everyone should be advised that the River Arts District Artists Association is hosting its Studio Stroll, May 20-21.
“We welcome Tour de Fat guests to come to the RAD early and visit artist studios,” Hackett said.
New Belgium Brewing is at 21 Craven St. in Asheville’s River Arts District. Call (828) 333-6900 or visit www.newbelgium.com. To help with parking, shuttles will be running from the Kmart parking lot on Patton Ave. to New Belgium.
New Belgium Brewing began in 1991 in Fort Collins, Colorado, with two home-brewed creations, a brown dubbel named Abbey and an amber ale named Fat Tire, in honor of co-founder, Jeff Lebesch’s 1988 bicycle trip through Europe and the inspiration he drew from sitting at a small bar in Belgium, talking beer.
New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale and many Belgian-inspired beers, is recognized by Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work and one of the Wall Street Journal’s Best Small Businesses. The 100 percent employee-owned brewery is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business. In addition to Fat Tire, New Belgium brews 14 year-round beers — Citradelic Tangerine IPA, Citradelic Lime Ale, Voodoo Ranger IPA, Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, Voodoo Ranger 8 Hop Pale Ale, Dayblazer Easygoing Ale, Tartastic Lemon Ginger Ale, Sunshine Wheat, 1554 Black Ale, Bohemian Pilsner, Abbey Belgian Ale, Trippel and a gluten-reduced line, Glutiny Pale Ale and Glutiny Golden Ale.
By Carol Viau
(Photos courtesy New Belgium Brewing)