New Belgium Brewing's Tour de Fat: A celebration of bikes, beer, and being weird


This may be the greatest number of bikes and costumes a Minneapolis parade has seen since Mayday. At Tour de Fat, bikes, beer, whimsy, live music, and more are served up in a circus-like environment. New Belgium Brewing, the company behind Fat Tire amber ale, has scheduled its annual charity fundraiser for July 26 at Loring Park, and it promises a spectacle.

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Now in its 15th year (and sixth consecutive here in Minneapolis), the all-day event is free to the public, with suds available for $5 a brew. The event will include a variety of activities, from a parade of bikes and costumes, to a kids' "funky bike corral," to live music, vaudeville, yo-yo dancers and, yes, "Port-a-oke," which is described as "karaoke in a fancy port-o-potty."

As for beers, New Belgium is bringing 10 recipes, ranging from the familiar (Fat Tire), to the seasonal (Summer Helles), to the limited edition (Lips of Faith series), and to the rare (Carnie Blood, a blood orange saison made for the carnies of the festival).

Tour de Fat is a festival built around eccentricity, with a common undercurrent: the bicycle. What better city to celebrate the two-wheeler than in Minneapolis?

"Years ago, while visiting the Twin Cities when we were scouting out the potential of a Tour de Fat, we found ourselves using the bicycle superhighway called the Midtown Greenway," says the company's Michael Craft. "We at New Belgium fell in love instantly...the bicycle infrastructure within the Twin Cities sets the bar very high for the rest of the county and defines what thoughtful bicycle infrastructure can to do a city's charm." They will give away a commuter bike to one attendee who volunteers to live without a car for a year, won last year by Sara Kelly.

Photo courtesy of New Belgium Brewing

Photo courtesy of New Belgium Brewing

Last year's Tour de Fat raised nearly $24,000 in town for the Midtown Greenway Coalition, Minnesota Off Road Cycling, and Bicycle Alliance in Minnesota and has raised over $80,000 locally over its history.

Here's a full list of the beers that will be available:

Lips of Faith, Gratzer Ale Carnie Blood, blood orange saison Fat Tire, amber ale FOCOllaboration, pale ale Lips of Faith, Gruit Lips of Faith, La Folie Shift, pale lager Ranger, IPA Snapshot, wheat beer Summer Helles

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