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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: 395
Avg: 4.3
pDev: 15.35%
Wants: 150
Gots: 97 | 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: 395
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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Photo of Beervana
4.74/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Reviewing this beer within a week of bottling.

Pours a glowing coppery-orange colour with frothy off-white head. Nose is a wonderful mix of fruity and piney, some grapefruit, orange, a touch of sweet pineapple. Taste is west coast through and through; very bitter, a good hit of pine resin, mainly bitter grapefruit though, almost rind-like. Mouthfeel is slightly on the heavier side and a bit sticky, the bitterness definitely hangs in the mouth, carbonation is perfect.

Overall, one of my all time favourite IPA's. When you take into account the availability, price, and ease of finding this beer fresh, it's probably the best we have to offer in BC, maybe even in Canada. Cheers to Driftwood for being so far ahead of the curve with this one!

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Photo of LampertLand
4.51/5  rDev +4.9%
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

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Photo of jwchestnut
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of my all-time favorites from my one time home - a month old bottle brought by a generous friend from Vancouver. Beautiful amber orange color. Lovely white head with tight bubbles that fades into a ring around the top. Nose is full of citrus fruit, a little pineapple and mango, lots of pine needles and a sweet biscuity malt. The taste follows the nose but heavier on the pine flavors and a little grassy maybe - very well balanced with no flavors dominating the palate and a gentle bitterness at the sides of the mouth. Smooth mouthfeel, medium carbonation. Again, so thankful to have this one brought as a gift - very smooth, drinkable and one of my all time favorites. Highly recommended.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.21/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled November 26, 2013.

Beer is clear amber, with a small off-white head. Head fades fairly quickly, leaves a bit of lace,

Nose is very juicy and hoppy. Orange is very strong, with some grapefruit. Quite a citrus scent. Also a tropical component. Some caramel malt is there, providing some balance.

Taste is similar to the nose. A good mix of citrus and tropical fruit flavours, with a tilt towards the tropical this time. Grapefruit, papaya, mango, orange. Moderately bitter. A fairly robust malt component for the style, a nice caramel base, providing a notable sweet balance. Very good.

Medium bodied, strongly carbonated. Oily and a bit chewy. Good, but the carbonation could be turned down a bit.

Overall, very good. Not quite as explosively good as I had hoped for, but very enjoyable and something that I could imagine drinking a lot of- it goes down very easily. More malt than expected, but I like it.

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

Fat Tug IPA is a clear, copper wire coloured ale with the complexion of ghee (clarified butter). Such a tone, though clean, turns transparency into mere translucency; it's like looking through a block of ice. Its head is built like a wrestler - stout and thick - and piledrives foam onto the glass.

The nose boasts papaya and mango in both their fresh, vividly citric as well as candied, dried states. There's also an accompanying cast of grapefruit, melon, lime, lychee and even a spritz of guava. It is a market of exotic, tropical fruits with an overlay of dank, grassy herbals.

The flavour is so full of pine needles, lawn clippings and orange wedges that all the honey and eggbread flavour from the malts goes largely unnoticed. Even as far as sweetness goes, the candied citrus and guava notes are right on par with any notions of caramel or toffee.

For the craft beer lover, hops reach the brain's pleasure zones via the same neurological circuitry as salt, sugar, or fat - it's an innate craving that provides an immediate hit. And like the latter, sometimes you just can't get enough. Fat Tug IPA certainly hits that 'bliss point'.

It was some time before Canadian brewers offered the same kind of juicy, citric IPAs that made their American counterparts famous - those days are over. Between Driftwood's Fat Tug and Central City's Red Racer, I don't think one even has to leave the province of British Columbia!

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Photo of sasky7777
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A great IPA. The aroma is filled with complex citrus notes with a bit of pine and graininess. It is quite refreshing, and the alcohol at 7% was not noticeable and it had a dry finish. The malts are in the background, and it is a hop heads beer that should be tried.

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

On draft at Malone's, Vancouver.

Soapy, sticky white froth that rings over an amber-blonde body.
Mandarin, flowers and hemp nectar on the nose - crazy fresh.
Fair whack of caramel, mango and shortbread with resin, ruby grapefruit and passionfruit hops.
Grapefruit zest finish and catty Simcoe linger.
Crisp, chewy, light leaning towards medium.

Good fruit, good caramel, real IBUs. A bit thin, though, and doesn't live up to the nose. Not a world beater, but a superior all-arounder.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.94/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep amber color ale with a large off-white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of citrus and grapefruit hops is quite powerful and enjoyable. Taste is also a great mix between some citrus hops with a good amount of grapefruit notes, medium bitterness and some light caramelized malt with a touch of residual sugar. Body is about average for style with good carbonation. Very well brewed but I would preferred a bit less residual sugar with a dryer finish.

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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 SebD
4.49/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: It has a nice hazy golden/orange color to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderately slow and leaves great lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of citrus, grapefruit and pineapple (very tropical), piney resins and sweet caramelly malts.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some nice citrus and grapefruit notes, some pineapple, a nice resiny pine bitterness, some breadiness and sweet caramelly malts.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a very nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with great flavors and aromas.

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Photo of Jadjunk
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
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

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Photo of leaddog
4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle; bottled on June 28, 2013

Appearance- Pours a light copper with a finger of bubbly white head.

Smell- Caramalts, citrusy hops, pine resin, grapefruit, and tropical fruits.

Taste- Citrusy hops followed by caramalts and tropical fruits. Has a pleasant bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall- An excellent American IPA by Driftwood. This is amongst the top of the IPA's I have sampled from BC. Great to have sampled this fairly fresh. Worth a try if you stumble across it.

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Photo of Jfriz25
4.49/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Slightly murky yellow with hints of orange. Nice white head that leaves great lacing.

Smell- Sweet malt, pine, and a little booze. It's always a good sign when the smell wafts out of the bottle as soon as you open it.

Taste- If I had a complaint it would be that it is a touch one note, mostly pine. It is impressively crisp and dry with zero booze despite being 7%

Mouthfeel- This might be the highlight of the beer. I love a nice crisp clean IPA and this certainly fits the bill. It is heavy enough to be satisfying but light enough where it isn't coating your mouth.

Overall- Really glad I got to try this one; it definetly should be in the conversation of best IPA. It reminded me most of older Pliny where the tropical fruit is gone and the pine starts coming through.

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Photo of 1stOffender
4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my favourite BC beer of all time. It was the first real IPA I ever had and nothing can prepare a person for what that introduction is like. The intensity and balance of the citrusy, hoppy grapefruit and melon was like meeting a beautiful woman...you'll never forget that first time. In fact, it was Fat Tug that led me down the road of loving craft beer and the desire to try everything else in a brown bottle with the hopes to re-live that experience over again. Thank you Driftwood and thank you Billy Miner Pub. I love you both...

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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 Thunderpants
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow what a beer! The best IPA I have ever had, and to this day I still haven't found one that compares. Amazing intense hoppy profile with hints of fruity flavours and a touch of malt.

If you like hoppy, then this beer is for you, but be careful at 7% alcohol this beer will get you going in a hurry. I only recommend 2 per sitting then try something else.

Currently my favorite beer!

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Photo of IllNate
4.14/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of maximum12
3.85/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Rutager for sending this extra from one of my favorite locals in North America, Vancouver. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife while watching the end of The Truman Show, which happenend to be our first date. Well, second first date. Nevermind.

Pour is an unclear but not hazy orange with gentled carbonation. Nose is a fall cornucopia of fruits: honeydew, grapefruit, orange, pale malts. Going in the correct direction.

Fat Tug begs for a comment, so I'm not going to make one. Lovely hops on this babe, reaching out & giving the tongue a good shlap of bitterness, followed with fainter flavors of pine, citrus. The bitterness doing the tugging here. Nice pale malts, light sweetness. Drinkable. I could do this bomber.

Nice IPA that showcases bitterness, but without a whole lot of complexity. Luckily, that's my favorite part of an IPA. Very good beer.

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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 drpimento
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, excellent beer! Poured at a good temperature with a decent sized, foamy, cream-colored head that settled after a bit and some lace. Color is a clear amber with lots of tiny bubble trails. Aroma is hop, malt, caramel, wet grain. Flavor's where this really shines: similar to nose, but so much richer with just enough sweet to perfectly match the already balanced bitter and carbonic tang, plus pine resin, a little grapefruit, toast, toffee, wheat. Body and carbonation are perfect. Finish is like flavor, of average length, and super drinkable. Wish I had loads more and that we could get it here in La Crosse, Wis.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A very pale amber body, somewhat cloudy, but with nice orange hues, and beautiful rising carbonation. Head is three fingers deep and large with a big giant cap and off white in color. Speckled lacing peppers the glass all over.

Great dry pine hop nose on this. A real nice aromatic sense of citrus orange zest hints at the back. Spritzy. Faint sweet malts too. Fantastic bouquet.

Palate manages to take a back seat and let the smells do the talking. Soft palate with a somewhat juicy body. Hop angle seems dialed down a bit, but a good simple light toasty sugar malt brings up much of the flavor profile. A real nice soft body, airy in feel, with little carbonation. Hop angle seems subdued with a quick bitter, and a light aftertaste and prickly sensations.

Overall the nose brings the impression of greatness, but it becomes just a good solid IPA in it's own right. Tasty!

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Photo of superspak
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating but this should be pretty fresh. Pours lightly hazy golden orange color with a nice 3 finger dense off white head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Thick soapy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big pineapple, mango, lemon zest, orange rind, herbal, floral, pine, grass, and earthy spiciness. Excellent aromas with great balance and hop complexity. Taste of big grapefruit, orange rind, pineapple, herbal, floral, pine, and earthy spiciness. Good amount of floral bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, pineapple, herbal, pine, floral, and earthy spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Great balance and complexity of hop flavors; with a nice bitterness/sweetness balance as well. No cloying flavors on the finish at all. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with nearly zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic IPA! Excellent hop complexity and balance; very smooth and crisp to drink. Extremely enjoyable.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Another awesome bottle from Rutager in a recent trade. Thanks for the stellar box man. Much appreciated!

From a bomber into a snifter
Best by 13 December 2012
IBU: 80

APPEARANCE: Pours a two finger, thicker looking, fluffy white head with great retention. Head slowly fades to a full wisp and coats the top of the glass. Light burnt orange in color, perfectly clear with no carbonation. A splotchy wisp remains until the close and leaves some decent lacing down the glass. Looks great.

SMELL: Big nose full of pale malts, honeydew melon, pineapple, mango and tangerine aromas. Lots of tropical fruits and plenty forthcoming. Great stuff.

TASTE: Follows the nose nicely. Pale malts, caramel, and lots of tropical fruits up front. Pineapple, orange and tangering through the middle, then a good dose of piney, bitter hops at the swallow. Bold and lingering aftertaste of bitter piney and floral hops, sweet melon and pineapple as balance. Lots of bitter hops linger on the palate. Very flavorful for sure, but just need a slightly fuller body for top marks.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, goes down fine and finishes dry. Could be slightly creamier and fuller, but nothing wrong here.

OVERALL: This was excellent and definitely lived up to expectations. Great nose and amazing flavors, though the average palate sold it short somewhat. With a creamier and fuller body, the flavors would come out a little more and you'd have a world class experience on your hands. As it is now, it's simply an amazing beer that I would love to drink in mass quantities every summer. These guys know how to brew hoppy beers. Thanks again Rutager. Top class stuff!

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Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.56/5  rDev +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.

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