US brewery promotes all things bicycle

Has cycling/beer nirvana been discovered? If not, a Colorado brewery which promotes all things bike is as near as dammit.

The New Belgium brewery in Fort Collins takes its commitment to environmentalism very seriously, and even has a bike on its logo. One of its products is called Fat Tire and after a year's service, employees are awarded a cruiser bike. Once they complete five years, they're sent off on a Belgian vacation – on two wheels, presumably.

The story of this popular brewery dates back to 1989 when founder Jeff Lebesch pedalled around European villages famous for beer.

He found his calling in Bruges. Seduced by the flavourful local beers, he set about creating his own brand back in Colorardo. Now the third largest craft brewery in America, the New Belgium Brewery is a magnet for tourists and locals.

The overflowing bike rack outside is typical for Fort Collins, a city of 130,000 that employs a bike co-ordinator and operates a free bike library from May to October (you can borrow one for up to seven days).

Inside the brewery, tourists crowd the bar, picking up thematic souvenirs such as technical cycling jerseys and bottle openers made from recycled bike chains.

New Belgium sponsors a number of bike-related causes and events, the largest of which is an annual multi-city bike festival call the Tour de Fat.

The purpose is to spread the word about the myriad positive effects of biking, which include protecting the environment, getting fitter and gaining admission to New Belgium's other creation: a summer bike-in movie theatre in the car park.

For more information on the brewery and its biking events, visit www.newbelgium.com