Fat Tug IPA - Driftwood Brewery

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Fat Tug IPAFat Tug IPA

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

99 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 99
Hads: 375
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 7.41%
Wants: 144
Gots: 86 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Driftwood Brewery visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ericj551 on 10-26-2010

Fat Tug is a northwest style India Pale Ale that is characterized by an intense hop profile of grapefruit & melon and restrained malt notes. At 7 % alc/vol and 80+ IBUs this beer delivers layers of aroma and flavor that is sure to satisfy anyone with a thirst for all things hoppy!
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Reviews: 99 | Hads: 375
Photo of LampertLand
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Driftwood Brewery 'Fat Tug IPA' @ 7.0% , served from a growler purchased for $12 , and had on tap or can be found in 650 ml bottle's for about $6

A-pour is a light gold from the growler to a clear amber in the glass with a big frothey off-white head leaving a streaky lace along the pint

S-citrus with a hint of pine , fresh

T-crisp & clean , big malt base , citrus with more pine coming thru in the taste

MF-ok/good carbonation , good full body

Ov-great beer , world class IPA , plus it's local , gotta love the Canadian side of the PNW

prost LampertLand (562 characters)

Photo of Jadjunk
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

"With an extreme power to tonnage ratio, this behemoth delivers a barge load of hops. This unassuming 22 ounce bottle packs 80 IBUs of unrelenting diesel power! Let this Fat Tug pull you in slow and low to Hoppy Nirvana..." Brewed in the style of an American IPA. This beer is one of Driftwood's mainstays.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a pint glass. Served north of 50º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a sudsy froth head of a golden cream tone over a mildly hazy amber body with moderate carbonation. Retention is above average, lacing is medium-dense and clingy. It's an unfiltered IPA, which leads to a slight uncommon haziness. 4

(Smell) Aromas of pine, citrus ream and tropical fruit over a light bready caramel and pale malt base. This isn't a striking or overly bright-smelling IPA but it does have an enjoyable hop aroma, modest in presentation, it stands at par with the malt profile. A mild peppery character is a curious addition, perhaps suggesting a hint of rye. Potency is medium. 4

(Taste) Up front, the malt bill is relatively clean and a touch viscous, with a lightly toasted barley malt, some biscuity malt, questionably rye, and most notably by the sweet, slick finish, a pinch of honey malt, or just honey. There's a good balance between the malt character and hop bitterness, although the hop flavors aren't very charismatic, there's a substantial bitterness to confirm this as a bold IPA. 4

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick first, smooth second. Carbonation plays a mellow role in adding some air to the texture, but keeps very tame, more so compared to American IPAs. Balance is slightly bitter over sweet, although it remains close, with a fuller body than expected. Body is medium/high for an American IPA, medium+ overall. The beer finishes favorably bitter with a clean, very slick and resinous finish. 4.5

(Overall) Victoria's Driftwood Brewery crafts a thoroughly enjoyable American IPA, with a solid malt sweetness and a moderate hop flavor and bitterness to pair, it's a more heavy-drinking IPA than I'm used to, but a treat to savor nonetheless. When in Victoria, pick up a bottle of this! 4.25

Driftwood Brewery's
Fat Tug IPA
4.1/5.00 (2,171 characters)

Photo of ritzkiss
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best before: 01/04/12 - surprise by my lovely wife from her recent trip to Victoria.

Pours a cloudy, orange - almost Nestea like in the way it fades at the bottom of the glass. Thin head, not much there but manages to throw some patches of lacing.

Nose is sweet and tropical, hints of citrus rind and pine. West-coast influenced all the way, aromatic but not perhaps as involved and complex as some exemplars.

Wonderful mix of tropical hops and bittering pine and grapefruit rind in the flavor, leaning to pine. Still a nice caramel sweet backdrop with hints of papaya and pineapple, malt is not too heavy though - lets the hops shine as the star, resiny and full of hop-burp goodness. Just a hint of alcohol in there as well, pretty smooth body, light carbonation. Great IPA, would by my go to I think - along with Red Racer. Canadian standout. (848 characters)

Photo of dcloeren
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Split a bomber with JayAre46. Thanks son

A: poured a hazy burnt orange with a finger of eggshell white foamy head. The carbonation bubbles slowly make their way through the syrup to the top. Head slowly made it's way to a thin film and left some spider webs along the way

S: orange juice, caramel covered grapefruit, pineapple and floral hops dominate. Subtle malt and pine background

T: floral and pine off the bat complimented with orange peel and grapefruit. Not alot of malt to speak of... I wish the caramel scent would be more present on the palet

M: medium to light bodied, alot thinner than I was expecting... Prickly carbonation attacks my taste buds with every sip.

O: this was a good IPA but nothing special. The scent was alot more pleasant than the taste... I woulnt turn down another one of these. (817 characters)

Photo of sukwonee
4.58/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Two 22oz bottles purchased for around $10 (very expensive!!) at a local Whole Foods. There is no best before date or bottled date, but I know this is fresh because I go to this particular Whole Foods about 2-3 times a week (and I picked this up as soon as I saw it on the shelf).

As far as I know, Metro Seattle is the only place in the US that gets beers from Driftwood - so I feel very lucky (this, one along with two others - Singularity & Old Cellar Dweller, is amazing!)

A: It looks good. Nice lacing. One finger head. Burnt orange color.

S: Grapefruit, Pine, Peach, Floral, Orange? maybe

T: Starts with hop bitterness and then followed by sweetness, then finishes with lingering bitterness. Grapefruit, Pine, a bit of peach. Even 2-3 minutes after my last sip, I can taste this beer in my mouth. Well balanced too I would add.

M: Low carbonation (smooth), Medium-to-full body.

O: I really liked this beer. I enjoyed this better than the Red Racer IPA (Which is another great IPA from Canada). Seek this one out! Driftwood is becoming one of my fav breweries with its offerings! (1,091 characters)

Photo of korguy123
4.12/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First bottle reviewed from my CANBIF 2012 box courtesy of Rutager
Bottle into tulip, best by date smudged off completely.

A- Hazy orange pour with a 3 finger foamy off white head. Lacing is glued to the sides of the glass.

S- Massive amounts of citrus and tropical fruits. Grapefruit, mandarin, lime, mango, pineapple with a pine backing. Slightly sweet.

T- Bitter pine, pineapple, strawberry, mango and mandarin. All flavors not as bright as the nose leads on but still in your face. Sweet malt as well helps round things out.

M- Light to medium bodied, good carbonation, with a lingering bitter aftertaste.

O- Very good IPA it's been a long time since I got such tropical flavors in an IPA, something I thoroughly enjoy in my IPAs. Excellent beer. (754 characters)

Photo of ericj551
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I grabbed this at the local liquor store, only to realize it was just bottled today! You can't get much fresher than that, perfect for an IPA.

The beer pours an ever so slightly hazy yellowy copper with a nice foamy head that lingers. The aroma is like sticking your nose into a handful of fresh hop cones, resiny pine, citrus, pungent grassiness and bitter earthiness all meld together, with a nice background of malty sweetness. The freshness really shows, it smells like it finished dry hopping today!

Bitterness punches strongly upfront with plenty of citrus and piney hop flavor. More earthy, and harsh grassiness in the flavor. The finish is bitter and almost pungently sour. The malt is there, but it is well hidden, it only pops up here and there.

I look forward to seeing the beer on draft around Victoria, it is the most brutal IPA I've had from the Island. (877 characters)

Photo of Smurf2055
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Whole Foods.

Pours dark yellow to orange with a good 3 fingers of head.

Smells got grapefruit and citrus. Very well balanced.

Taste has a little pine with a lot of citrus.

Joel from wholefoods described this as "a stand in for Pliny" and I can see why. I would almost say it’s more drinkable. (312 characters)

Photo of loren01
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Picked this up at NW liquid gold. Pours a nice clear orange color with frothy white head great lacing down the glass
S: Wow...this smells really good. Very citrusy, also some pineapple scent in there.
T: Tons of pine and citrusy flavors, just a bit of sweet malt up front but dominated by a bit hop bite
M: Medium bodied beer. Oily mouthfeel
O: This is one of the best IPA's i have had in a long time. Great stuff. (417 characters)

Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The colour is incredible - similar to the yellow orange of wet cedar wood. Poured with 3 fingers of head which quickly dissipated leaving a thin lawyer at the surface. Low carbonation.

S: Bold pine wood resin & grapefruit rind, you can tell the Humulus Lupulus is a member of the Cannabaceae family, there's a subtle hint of cannabis scent.

T: Starts out with a sweet caramel/malts and quickly followed by citrus rind, pine saps and a mild soapy taste. Aftertaste of hoppy bitters lingers and lingers, sticking like chewing on grapefruit rind.

M: Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation.

O: Bold IPA in both flavour and smell. Excellent IPA and delicious with a spicy meal. (679 characters)

Photo of smekermann
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle of this at a BCLS earlier this wonderful evening. Unfortunately, Driftwood doesn't yet date their bottles, so I have no idea how fresh this is. Given that this IPA is somewhat hop-heavy, that is somewhat important and should probably be rectified sooner rather than later.

I'm fairly familiar with this beer. Actually, I guess I should rephrase that: I thought I was familiar with this beer. It had a nice hop profile and proved to be really easy drinking for being 7% ABV, although as time went on, I found it to be somewhat bottom-heavy. The initial mouthfeel was great, but the aftertaste was a bit too bitter and not as crisp as some of the IPAs I'd had from the golden land of Californy. In the interim, I even took a trip down to San Francisco in January and overloaded on some pretty amazing IPAs and DIPAs. I came back to BC thinking that BC IPAs would never compare to the stuff I'd had down there. For the most part, I was right. Central City IPA was a bit too malty and I had to double check the can to make sure I didn't pick up the ESB on accident, the hop profile being less impressive than I had remembered; Switchback IPA was better, with a nice hop profile, citrusy and piny and crisp, although it had a very familiar beta acid bitterness on the end of the aftertaste.

And then I finally found a bottle of Fat Tug IPA. I approached it with apprehension. Before my trip to CA, I viewed it as a great IPA -- one of the best brewed in BC, alongside Hop Therapy (different classes, obviously). I didn't want to ruin that impression. As it turns out, my fears were completely misplaced, because this is an even better beer than I remembered it to be. I'm not sure if it was just because I had a really fresh bottle (and with BCLS, it's really hard to tell, not to mention they don't refrigerate their beers) or they tweaked the recipe or what, but it surprised the hell out of me.

The appearance is a somewhat hazy golden amber with a pretty great off-white head and lacing on the glass. The initial smell is a gorgeous citrusy hop smell, with some bready malts way at the back. The taste is really crisp citrus hops. As you allow the taste to permeate, you begin to notice a fairly solid malt backing that adds a great balance to the beer (something that I'd never really noticed before). The aftertaste was surprisingly light and fairly crisp. Like I said, this was pretty astounding to me as I remember the aftertaste being a lot heavier and way more bitter but, again, I'm not sure if it's just due to the fact that I had a really fresh bottle or if Driftwood tweaked their recipe any. Driftwood plz add bottling dates to your IPAs ok thanks :(

Overall, I'm really glad I revisited this beer. It used to be really good for BC IPAs, now I can say with certainty that it's better than most of the IPAs I've had in the Pacific Northwest and maybe only a notch or so below the best (single) IPAs found in Southern California. This seems like a somewhat back-handed compliment but it really isn't. Trust me.

Edit: as of March 2013, Driftwood has started printing bottling dates on the cap of their beers. Truly the Best Brewery. (3,163 characters)

Photo of djbreezy
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

appearance - brilliant transparent orange, graceful white head, strong retention, beautiful sticky lacing

smell - citrus and grapefruit hop notes, tropical

taste - a burst of tropical hops with pineapple and dominant grapefruit flavors, hop forward with some mild malt body, orange peel on the finish

mouthfeel - medium body, slick, bubbly carbonation, slightly dry finish

overall - flavorful hops that provide a nice grapefruit/orange flavor balance, west coast style ipa, highly enjoyable, unbelievable flavor for a single ipa (532 characters)

Photo of Bunman3
4.19/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Definitely worth the wait. I believe I may have tried this beer several years ago while staying on Saltspring Island, but I can't be absolutely certain... Either way, the complexity of the hops in this brew is truly impressive. What I love is the dry, hoppy, "don't fuck with me, malt" finish. Fat Tug makes no concessions as it happily chugs along. (349 characters)

Photo of CliffBrake
4.26/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Coreylag for the chance to try this one. Cheers!

Bright orange with a long lasting billowy head that leaves gobs of sticky lacing.

Light citrus and caramel aroma. Although the nose is a little understated, there is plenty of flavor to make up for it. Mango and spicy hops, bordering on ginger, with a piney finish. Bright varied hop flavors on a firm dry malt base.

Medium body with good carbonation and a light peppery finish. Overall, a great IPA that is easy to drink and has plenty of hoppy layers to keep the interest high. (543 characters)

Photo of constantine_272
4.06/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange really bright. Over carbonated and maintained a couple millimeters of consistent white foam. Fresh green grass and thick waxy ivy. Floral rose finish. Sharp strong fresh hop bitterness in a floral wet and not dry way. Great ipa. (235 characters)

Photo of souvenirs
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

(from notes this weekend)
650 ml bottle split with a friend.

A: clear gold/copper, two fingers of foamy head that dissipated fairly quickly, leaving lacing up the sides of the glass
S: citrus, especially grapefruit
T: grassy, citrus-y hops, grassy bitterness, pale malts, well balanced
F: smooth
O: I would definitely have this again. (335 characters)

Photo of Bugs318
4/5  rDev -7.4%

A: clear light amber to copper colour, with a fair creamy white head comprised of thick bubbles.
S: Not as aromatic as expected. Mild after another IPA, but some citrus rind, hints of pine wood and some pineapple.
T: Not much malt, as it offers just the slightest trace before piney, resinous dryness, with just a trace of rind and papaya. Fairly bold and lengthy linger.
M: A touch oily, with some creaminess and moderate carbonation.
O: A bold west coast IPA, could use more citrus for me personally, but pretty fine example puff the style. (544 characters)

Photo of DaveJanssen
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz poured into a 16oz nonic pint. Just moved up to Victoria and seeing that this was the top beer of the Great Canadian Beer festival and it is brewed in Victoria, i figured I had to give it a try. Best by February 12th 2012.

Ar: Resin, hop bitterness, grapefruit citrus, mild floral hop, very hoppy and citrus oriented

Ap: Medium off white head, good retention, good lace, very mild haze light copper

T: Strong citrus hops, hop resin, piney, grapefruit, tropical fruit, alcohol hints toward the end, clean pleasant malt base, estery, mango, strong nectarine, excellent fruityness, nice bitterness and resin in the finish, long after the sip is over the hop resin still lingers pleasantly, dry

M: Medium body, resinous, pleasant bitterness, medium carbonation, long finish

O: This is definitely toward the west coast aggressively hopped drier IPA, which i am very happy about. Clean, crisp, solid hop presence and good lingering finish. A very well done IPA. (966 characters)

Photo of JayAre46
4.04/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

shout out to rutager and thank you, 22 oz bomber split between myself and fellow BA and this review is coming from the notes...orange haze with golden shit coming through (i really wrote that wtf) i dunno. 2 fingers of off white head reduced to a layer tight bubbles. did not show great lacing

A - sweet fruits up front, touch of lemony aroma, more citrus and hints of pineapple in particular. Pale malt background very subtle which is submissive to the citrusy aromas.

T - The citrus is much less dominant that was present in the nose, getting a piney sap which is new, hints of orange peel dryness along with a sharp bitterness in the back, again the malts are there...barely... but push for a balance. no alcohol is present.

M - light to medium body moderate carbonation, slight prickly finish

O - this brew is solid and i would like to have it again, the orange peel dryness is a bit too dominant for me but that may vary from batch to batch. Nothing jumped out to me, i hate to say this because the beer is good, but this one may be just another face in the crowd. (1,075 characters)

Photo of Ericbeech_87
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My girlfriend bought me this beer. I'm a big fan of IPA's and she had no idea. The planets aligned and she bought me a beer without knowing.

Appearance - Poured to fairly fine bubble head finish. The head tended to linger nicely for a long time. Drank in a snifter for the first time and I am sold on how great the experience was. Colour was a nice slightly hazy dark golden/orange.

Aroma - Intensely citrusy with big notes of grapefruit. An excellent piney smell revealed probably the best pine smell I've had in a beer.

Taste - Very hoppy with medium body. The maltiness needed to be discovered under those 80 IBU's of hops, but it's there. The carbonation was moderate during the mouthfeel but certainly contributed to the beautiful head. The hops are certainly the showcase for this beer from Driftwood. A nice dry finish with hop bitterness throughout.

Overall - An excellent IPA with brilliant citrusy notes and gorgeous appearance. (942 characters)

Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have reviewed this previously on tap from the Alibi Room in Vancouver. I got hold of an incredibly fresh bottle all the way out in Fernie, BC while I was up from Montana. I must say, this beer's delicate hop character translates incredibly well into bottled form. The hop profile is very untraditional, the citrus is there, but it plays second hand to the more forward melon and mango characters. Usually I can tell what hops went into a beer, this one I am absolutely stumped. For me, it checks almost everything on the list, I have not complaints. It is a one of a kind IPA, and it is the work of brewers that clearly know what they are doing. I hope to see more brewers coming up with unique IPAs like this one. (716 characters)

Photo of Hornet2003
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber purchased from Central City liquor store. Let's see how it compares to the coveted Red Racer IPA...

Appearance: Slightly orange. Poured smoothly to nice creamy head. Dissipates over time.

Smell: Pungent hoppy aroma. Not so much grapefruity like other IPA's. Green, piney hops with some biscuity notes.

Taste: Wow this is hoppy! Lots of grassy, piney hoppiness. Very indicative of a well balanced west coast IPA. Reminds me of Phillips Hop Circle and LaConner IPA.

Mouthfeel: Fat Tug definitely is a showcase for the IBU. All 80 (according to the bottle) come through strongly and boldly. Carbonation is spot on. Slight malty sweetness contrasts beautifully with the bitterness.

Drinkability: If this were available in 6-packs, it'd be dangerous stuff. The alc/vol is high yet subtle in the taste. And the bitterness keeps it interesting.

Overall: Another GREAT beer from Driftwood and yet another sign of the amazing BC craft beer scene. Tons of hops, and different enough from Red Racer to make it stand out on it's own as one of the great West Coast IPA's.

PS. Apologies to Driftwood for the constant comparison to Central City(however it's inevitable these days with Red Racer's reputation). Driftwood is truly an innovator and leader in the BC craft beer movement. This, along with their Sartori, definitely solidifies them as one of BC's best brewers. (1,372 characters)

Photo of IllNate
4.14/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a very clear amber with mountains of off white head, excellent retention. Aroma is hoppy with citrus dominating (grapefruit, and some melon). Taste follows with great hop character, ranging from citrus to pine and earthy at times. Malty background is solid with some caramel sweetness. Mouthfeel is bitter, but extreemly well balanced, I say perfect. Overall a solid IPA, one of my favorite IPAs. (402 characters)

Photo of Tilly
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

My brother brought me back 6 different IPA bombers from BC! This is one of THE better. (They were all pretty damn good. Ontario brewers could take a page out of these books!!!)

Golden blonde hazy pour with a thick foamy head with a strong retention. Aromas of hops, floral and citrus. Tastes not much different. Hops, lemon citrus and pine. Mouth feel is velvet, very unusual for an IPA. Nice back of the tongue bitterness. (425 characters)

Photo of Intrinsic
4.11/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fat Tug is a very nice looking beer. The head keeps growing and growing on top of a amber, creamy, swirling body and leaves beautiful lacing.

The smell betrays the piney hops the minute you open the bottle. This was obviously dry-hopped - to near perfection. The taste is insane. Very, very bitter. Mostly piney hops, but balanced quite nicely with malt. There's a strong citrus element to this as well. Lots of grapefruit in this one. And creamy! The finish is just a tad less than 'dry' despite all the hops. Overall, this is one hell of a beer. If I lived in BC I'd drink this all the time. (594 characters)

Fat Tug IPA from Driftwood Brewery
95 out of 100 based on 99 ratings.