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Fat Tug IPA - Driftwood Brewery

Not Rated.
Fat Tug IPAFat Tug IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

107 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 107
Hads: 397
Avg: 4.3
pDev: 15.35%
Wants: 150
Gots: 98 | 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!
View: Beers (19) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 107 | Hads: 397
Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: 1/2" creamy white and soapy head over cloudy amber liquid.

S: Citrus and pine hops and the smell of malt. Very refreshing and clean smelling.

T: Front loaded with pine and bitter hops, and backloaded with a malty and nutty aftertaste.

M: Medium thickness, and medium carbonation.

O: Refreshing IPA,with piney and purfumey hops. Not a session beer.

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Photo of doughanson78
4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Nice medium golden color with awesome clarity. One finger white head with great retention and lacing.

S: Piney hops with a touch of earthiness. Some caramel malts coming through. Lighter overall aroma.

T: Sweet caramel upfront. Piney hop flavor with touches of earthiness and some floral flavors. Bitterness is medium. Caramel comes back in the finish. Easily a 5 if bitterness was up.

M: Medium light body. Medium carbonation. Oily and slick. Dry finish. Awesome IPA mouthfeel.

O: A great IPA. Bitterness could be higher. Definitely try it if you have a chance.

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Photo of polloenfuego
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a slightly hazy amber/gold with a finger and a half of head. The nose is hops dominant and there are some malts and fruitiness to the nose as well. Taste is where this one really caught me off guard. This was really a surprise, grapefruit, passionfruit, a slight bittersweet citrus and a hops explosion that is not overpowering. This beer went down smooth and easy for a beer that is so "big" and I could see myself drinking too much of this if I had regular access.

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Photo of Docer
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: (4.0)

- Perfect IPA color, slightly cloudy new shiny copper penny color. Thick fingers of white frothy head slowly settle to a spotty thin blanket of froth, and sticky thick lace all about the glass. Super good looking IPA.

Smell: (4.0)

- Nice fruity hops hit the nose. Little light spice, but more citrus, melon as stated, and a fantastic bready malt without an overbearing sweetness. Nice grassy hop presence as well.

Taste: (4.5)

- Oh yes. Lightly sweet, bready biscuit-like malt with a light caramel background. Light honey. The hops are glorious. Nice bitter pine and grass up front, and a fruity zesty finish. This puppy is hoppy, yet very balanced at the same time. I love the bitter zing punch to the tongue. This beer is damn good.

Mouth Feel: (4.5)

- Solid medium bodied brew with a mouth watering bitterness. It's balance, and lack of super sweetness make this beer unbelievably easy to drink. Perfect IPA carbonation, and a chewy feel.. just what an IPA should be like.

Overall: (4.5)

- Very impressed with this beer. It's about time I had some more Canadian goodies. Folks near this brewery are blessed people. I highly recommend this beer, and hope to perhaps see it on draft around town soon. High marks.

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Photo of byronic
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to @Corson for hooking me up with this bottle

Pours a nice hazy gold with white fluffy head. Nose is crisp and hoppy but balanced nicely with malts and fruits. A really nice blend of citrus fruit and hops. Very smooth and thirst quenching. A beer that lives up to it's reputation and exceeded my expectation. Would love to have it again.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.3/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of sukwonee
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
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!

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Photo of dcloeren
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
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.

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Photo of korguy123
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of ericj551
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of DaveBar
4.36/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got on trade! Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a 1" high white head with an aggressive pour. Head stays for over 5mins before film out. Medium gold colour and filtered clear

S- Good hops. Pretty light though

T- WOW this one has a lot of hops. Wet hopped galore. Has that "C" hop presence that I really enjoy. Not too bitter at all. Has a malt base that does not overpower. Not sweet at all which is nice. Looks like these lower alcohol percentage brews have a lot less sugar than a heavy APA. There is a blend of hops that just works together with nothing sticking out or unbalanced.

M- Tart and dry. Nice

O- Very good brew. Overall it's a refreshing brew that is rather complex. Good to see Canadian IPA's are starting to come up now compared to the US. Now we just need to get reasonable distribution to all provinces.

Food Pairing

This nice little brew went very well with........ Roasted chicken wings. Small wings, wash, dip in melted margarine then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Place on the top rack and broil on high for 10-15mins depending on wing size. When the cheese crisps the wings are done!


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Photo of Smurf2055
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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Photo of loren01
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.3/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of smekermann
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Photo of headlessparrot
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours from the 650mL bottle a slightly hazy orange-ish, almost faintly coppery gold, topped by three solid fingers of rocky foam that has surprising staying power, and which leaves a ton of lacing on the glass. A fair amount of visible carbonation.

Smell is inviting: a lot of citrus, a lot of grapefruit, some slightly piney resin, cereal, a touch of biscuity malt. Taste is initially surprisingly soft and inviting before a mouth-puckering blast of bitterness near the finish. More pine in the taste than the smell, but still lots of citrus. A bit of crackery base malt. Slight bile. Faintly oily texture, but light-moderate carbonation and light-moderate body. I'd never guess this is 7% ABV.

For a mouth-murderingly hoppy beer, it's surprisingly light and drinkable in the end. Now, I'm the sort of black sheep who would argue that their New Growth Pale Ale is actually the superior beer because it's interested in being more than just a vessel for hops, but I think you have to take seriously the argument that this is the best IPA currently being produced in Canada.

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Photo of djbreezy
4.63/5  rDev +7.7%
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

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Photo of Bunman3
4.19/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Photo of constantine_272
4.06/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

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Photo of CliffBrake
4.26/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Photo of Bugs318
4/5  rDev -7%

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.

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Photo of souvenirs
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of DaveJanssen
4/5  rDev -7%
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.

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Photo of JayAre46
4.04/5  rDev -6%
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.

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Photo of Ericbeech_87
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Fat Tug IPA from Driftwood Brewery
95 out of 100 based on 107 ratings.