YES, YOU heard it right: New Belgium Brewing is coming to town for Philly Beer Week. And, yes, that means Fat Tire, the smooth-drinking amber ale with the simple red cruiser bicycle label, will be pouring from local spigots for the first time.
I mention this development for two reasons.
First, based on the number of questions I've fielded about this brand over the years, I'd expect long lines when the Colorado brewery's suds foam here for the first time tomorrow evening at West Philly's City Tap House. Even if you've been there, done that, New Belgium has more than two dozen other drafts lined up for the tap takeover. Among them: Mouth-puckering La Folie, super-strong Cascara Quad, brand-new Snapshot Sour Wheat and Heavenly Feijoa, a Belgian-style tripel it bottled with Montreal's Dieu du Ciel brewery.
Second, the brand's arrival - a temporary, limited engagement while the Colorado brewery tests a local wholesaler - underscores one of the attractions of what is surely the nation's signature beer-week celebration: the Debut.
Beer Week is a showcase for both out-of-towners making their first foray into America's best beer-drinking city and locals drumming up excitement with new products. I turned up no fewer than 80 brands that will make their Philly debut over the next 10 days. See how many you can track down as the seventh installment of Philly Beer Week kicks off tomorrow and runs through June 8.
Here are some of the new flavors in town:
* Surly Furious, Iron Abbey (Horsham, Montgomery County), Tuesday, 7 p.m. As with New Belgium, this Minnesota brewery is testing the local waters, so grab this top-rated IPA while you can.
* Hardywood Park Only Live Twice Porter, Bru (Center City), Wednesday, 10 p.m. This trending up-and-comer, new to the city from Richmond, Va., is bringing more than a dozen varieties.
* Yards Heavy Hands, Good Dog Bar (Center City), tomorrow, 8 p.m. An IPA designed by a dozen former Yards brewers.
* Yuengling Summer Wheat, 12 Steps Down (South Philly), Friday, 11 p.m. A thoroughly authentic German-style wheat beer from America's oldest brewery.
* Neshaminy Creek Beast Infection, Varga Bar (Washington Square), Tuesday, 7 p.m. The Croydon brewery taps its first sour beer, a Belgian-style tripel aged in a port wine barrel.
* Philly Tripel, Dock Street Brewery (West Philly), Tuesday, 10 a.m. Meet the makers of Philly Beer Week's annual Belgian collaboration, Anne Catherine Dilewyns, of Vicaris, and Dock Street's Justin Low.
* Chimay Premiere, Moriarty's (Center City), Monday, 5 p.m. The Trappist brewery's famous dubbel (a/k/a Red) goes on draft for the first time.
* Carton Rickey, Perch Pub (Center City), June 6, 7 p.m. A wild ale made with cherry, lime and juniper, from North Jersey.
* Voodoo/Lavery DulaVibes, Doobies Bar (Center City), Sunday, 5 p.m. A strong (10.3 percent alcohol) IPA collab from two western Pennsylvania breweries.
* Free Will Will.I.Am, Fergie's Pub (Center City), Monday, 6 p.m. A dry Irish stout brewed with pub owner Fergus Carey and local filmmaker Michael Lawrence.
* Doubleheader, Nodding Head (Center City), June 7. The local brewpub will tap several from Ohio's Fat Heads Brewery, including this collaborative IPA.
* Stoudt's Multiple Personality Disorder, Hop Angel Brauhaus (Fox Chase), June 5, 8 p.m. A traditional, pale German-style lager that brewer Brett Kintzer says "thinks it's an IPA."
* Leipziger Gose, Fiume (West Philly), Friday, 6 p.m. A one-off of the traditional German salt- and coriander-flavored wheat beer spiked with orange peel.
* Gose Gone Wild, The Cambridge (Center City), Sunday, 11 a.m. This gose is a collaboration by Maryland's Stillwater Artisan Ales and Westbrook, of South Carolina.
* Frankford Hall Weissbier, Frankford Hall (Fishtown), Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. The German beer hall gets a new house beer by Fegley's Brew Works.
* Andorfer Claudiator, Brahaus Schmitz (South Street), June 5, 5 p.m. A new weizen doppelbock from Germany.
* Cigar City French Toast Brown Ale, Hulmeville Inn (Bucks County), June 5, 6 p.m. A one-off from the Florida Gulf Coast cult fave.
* Funky Buddha Red Velvet Cake, Local 44 (West Philly), June 5, 7 p.m. The other Florida cult fave returns with a big-time tap takeover.
* Pappy Van Winkle Stout, The Twisted Tail (South Street), June 5, 6 p.m. This stout from New Orleans' Abita Brewery, aged in Pappy Van Winkle barrels, may be the closest you get to the rare, super-expensive bourbon.
Also, remember to track down anything from the area's two newest breweries, Saint Benjamin's, in North Philly, and Conshohocken Brewing, in Montco, which opened this spring.
"Joe Sixpack" is written by Don Russell. For more on the beer scene, sign up for his weekly email update at joesixpack.net. Email: email@example.com.