|Fat Head’s, Cleveland, Ohio 2011
What's in a name?
If I'm being honest here, I have to say I hate the name "Fat Head's". For me, it just doesn't conjure up an award-winning microbrewery (or as they now say
"craft brewery"). I know the concept comes out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and that the original Fat Head's is located there, but I don't know....even the logo
is annoying. I mean what's wrong with Badger's Drift Brewing Co or Raven's Wood Brewing Co or Fletcher's Cross Brewing Co or Martyr Warren Brewing Co
or Upper Marshwood Brewing Co (I admit, I'm a big fan of "Midsomer Murders").
Well, name aside, it's all about the beer and Fat Head's delivers incredible beer with always two on cask.
So....presenting Badger's Drift Brewing Company....
1) Head Hunter IPA (7%) on cask.
In a recent email to Tom Stanier at CAMRA, I said this is possibly the finest IPA I've ever had. You could smell the grapefruit before the glass hit the table.
On the palate, it was as smooth as silk with a not-too-overpowering hop bitterness. More grapefruit later on with piney flavours and a slightly peppery finish.
Absolutely delicious and quite honestly, a world classic. 15/10
Simcoe, Columbus and Cascade hops are used. Head Hunter won the Silver Medal at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival in the American IPA class
(out of 142 entries!).
2) Up in Smoke, smoked porter (5.7%) on cask.
This got the Silver Medal at the 2009 Great American Beer Festival. Smooth, creamy, smokey with lots of roasted flavours. Had an odd finish of rancid
beetroot, although to be fair, porters have never been my cup of Rose Lea. 5/10
3) Keller Kolsch (5.6%).
Unfiltered, crisp and fruity. Lemon on the nose and quite lemon-curdy in flavour with a marshmellow finish. Ideal for those late summer days. 7/10
4) Koko Head Chocolate Coconut Cream Stout (5.1%).
Made with Belgian chocolate, the initial nose was of cat litter - flavour wise, creamy with more toasted flavours of coconut and almonds. A bit on the thin side
for a stout, but very tasty, rather like a liquid Bounty. 7/10
5) Hop Juju Imperial IPA (9%).
A hopped up monster. Deep, rich, tangy, intense and VERY bitter. A delicious cracker of an Imperial IPA served in a 10oz snifter. 10/10
6) #1 Saison (6.8%).
This went on tap while we were there so this was as fresh as a pint could get. A Cleveland take on a French Saison, this had lots of tasty spicy orange
flavours balanced with bizarre flavours of bubblegum. The nose was very sweet and bubblegum-like. Interesting. 8/10
7) Oatmeal Stout (5.6%) on cask.
I've always been fond of Oatmeal Stouts and this one was right on the money. This had aromatics of roasted malt with exceptionally smooth-as-velvet and
creamy toasty flavours with some chocolate in the finish. Beautiful! 10/10
8) St.Fatty's Ale (5.1%).
Celebrating St. Patrick's Day, St. Fatty's was in the Irish ale tradition - malty, quite creamy but not overly distinctive. It didn't have the character and was less
malty and less biting than neighbour's Great Lakes Brewing Co benchmark on Irish ales, the classic Conway's Irish Ale. 5/10
9) Fest Bier (5%).
With imported German malts and German Noble hops, this was a very tasty, smooth and rich pilsner with a nice balance of sweet malt and the dry German
hops. Nice tangy finish and most refreshing. 8/10
10) Voodoo Monkey Chocolate Stout (6.5%).
Here's the "official" description: "A luxurious chocolate stout brewed with 70% cacao dark chocolate from Belgium, whole vanilla beans and milk sugar for a
rich creamy stout. There are clearly supernatural forces at work here - we are not sure what they are - so it is assumed to be Voodoo Magic".
Me, I thought it tasted like a pint of Daddies Sauce. Probably good poured over a lovely savoury steak & kidney pie. Still, I did pick up a colourful Voodoo
Monkey t-shirt. 2/10 for the beer, 10/10 for the t-shirt.
11) Gudenhoppy Pils (5%).
A delicious unfiltered pilsner, again made with all imported German ingredients: Pilsner malt with Perle, Hallertauer and Spalt hops. This gave us a smooth,
quite peppery and bitter pilsner - tastes of Lemon Jif in the finish. 8/10
12) Bumbleberry Honey Blueberry Ale (5.1%).
Dare I say, a bit of an odd one - this. Bumbleberry is made with tart blueberries and Olmsted Falls honey from Jorgenson's Apiary - nice to see local
resources being used. Lots of blueberry in the flavour with the sweet honey balancing out the tartness of the blueberries. I picked up a strange taste
towards the finish of sweaty socks mixed with cashew nuts, before the blueberries took over at the end. As I say, a bit odd. 6/10