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Fat Tug IPA | Driftwood Brewery

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
151 Reviews
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BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Driftwood Brewery
British Columbia, Canada
driftwoodbeer.com

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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!

Added by ericj551 on 10-26-2010

BEER STATS
Reviews:
151
Ratings:
564
Avg:
4.26
pDev:
16.2%
 
 
Wants:
155
Gots:
151
For Trade:
2
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Reviews: 151 | Ratings: 564
Photo of DaveJanssen
4/5  rDev -6.1%
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 cfalls
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

L - nice thick head with good retention, somewhat hazy, color a bit dark for an IPA

S - malt, floral, somewhat lacking

T - mostly malt and bittering hops, hints of citrus/pine/pear, dusty finish

F - heavy for an IPA, creamy

O - not my style, but not sure how old the bottle was -- there was some settled yeast

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Photo of nmann08
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From a bottle, unfortunately, wasn't super fresh. The beer pours a translucent gold color with a big fluffy off-white head.

The nose is still extremely pronounced, big citrus, grapefruit, a bit of pine and resin, and also just a bit of cardboard and sawdust must. The flavor is similar, great citrus notes, tropical fruit, resin, but a bit tanic.

Overall, I need to get my hands on a fresh bottle of this.

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Photo of D-HopSupreme
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy straw body with a pearly white head and lots of lacing. The scent brings up strong notes of passion fruit and melon along with citrus, and a bit of a pine character. The taste is immensely bitter with a citrus rind finish, with very little malt character. The feel is alright, with dominant bitterness and a fairly creamy body. Overall a lovely IPA, I'm quite happy by it. Very nice a clean, though slightly heavy.

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Photo of JayAre46
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
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 headlessparrot
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
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 Smurf2055
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
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 Tommo
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is pretty nice ipa. nothing amazing, but pretty good overall. Nice hop flavor with mild bittering hops. Decent aroma and pretty low malt. Overall would buy again

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
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 constantine_272
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
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 NolaHopHead
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bomber. Hazy medium gold pour. Thin white head fades to a ring spotty lace.Toasted bread aroma. Taste starts with sweet bread but balanced nicely by piney resiny hop bitterness. Semi soft slick feel, finishes dry. Good stuff.

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Photo of drdiesel9483
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look - golden color with a good hire head and sticky lacing
Smell - citrus pineapple and mango
Taste - just like the smell but slightly bitter
Feel - medium light body and carbonation
Overall - pretty yummy

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Matt and shared with the father-in-law. Thanks for the chance buddy!

Pours a juicy orange with a nice puff of white that lasts throughout most of the glass. Moderate lacing adds to the appeal. An inviting looking beer.

Smells of tangerine and light wet pine. Touch of crackery malt hovers as well.

Big creamy mouthfeel, cracker and light biscuit malts provide the base for citrus rind and grassy light bitterness.

Overall, this is really enjoyable despite the fact that it's neither overly unique nor stands out in any way other than a really nice feel. Each sip begs another and the creamy light mouthfeel and mellow bitterness is appealing. Bitchin job you crazy Canucks.

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Photo of randylangford
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This reminds me a lot of the Pacific Northwest IPAs that I've had. It has a great gold color with a nice fluffy head. This is malty with a tonne of hops blended into a great hop profile.

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Photo of CHickman
4.09/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy orange color with a 1 finger foamy off white head that was full of tiny bubbles and dissipated slowly, leaving good spotty lacing and foamy rings as it went down.

The nose is full of citrus, with grapefruit, clementine, orange peel, guava and other tropical fruits, followed by light piney hops, candied sugar, graham cracker, fruity candy like gummy bears and some earthy notes. Enough malt and biscuit additions to make it balanced and complex, the aroma releases lemon zest and more fruit notes later on.

The taste is similar to the nose with potent citrus up front including grapefruit, orange peel, clementine, guava, tropical fruits, light piney hops, buttery biscuit, graham cracker, fruity candy like gummy bears, earthy notes and spices such as pepper and coriander. Flavor is a lot maltier and almost cloyingly sweet with wet cardboard and booze soaked grains adding enough sweetness to keep the bitterness mid-level.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth with a medium to lightly chewy body that finishes on the dry side with a lot of malty sweetness mixed with the always present citrus flavors. Tasty enough to hide the 7% ABV and go down easy, this to me was more English IPA than American IPA. Above average IPA that I'd certainly have again.

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Photo of smekermann
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Edit: as of July, 2016, ehhh. I feel this IPA has seen better days. I feel it used to be the flagship for the BC scene, but, I feel like it's becoming outdated once again. I still think it's an enjoyable beer, from a personal point of view, but I've had so much better from around BC - Juxtapose, Frank IPA from Machine Brewing, Fuggles & Warlock's IPAs (Cannon IPA, to start with - and not "officially" an IPA, but their Icarus Mosaic Saison is basically a single-hopped farmhouse IPA, and it's one of the best things I've had in BC since Nectarous)

Anyway, my point is, I'm gonna have to re-adjust the rating for this beer a bit. It's still damn good, and I still go for it when I feel like a chewy IPA to graze on. But it's no longer my standard.

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Photo of Jadjunk
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
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

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Photo of Intrinsic
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

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Photo of Billolick
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, I couldnt find any freshness dating

Pours near clear, medium almond amber, long lasting off white cap, leaves oodles of sheeting, all the way to the top of the glass..

Hop forward nose with tropical fruits

Boldly hopped IPA with tropical fruits, melon, pineapple....softly spiced and quite tasty

well worth a try

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Photo of korguy123
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
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 peensteen
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange colour, nice fluffy white head, good lace on the glass. The nose on this is incredible, bursting with citrus, ornage, tangerine, notes of pine and a good malt back to this. Taste is mostly pine and not how the nose would lead you to believe, slight citrus, grapefruit, good hoppy bitterness, malt is there, good balance here. Medium weight, nice slick hop oil, carb a touch high, good overall feel. Good IPA overall, solid bitterness and quite enjoyable.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a nice glowing orange with good carbonation, nice white cap and some good lacing

S: Melon and citrus dominate but it was oretty subtle overall

T: Starts out with a nice melon note blended and followed by some orange peel, light grapefruit on a caramel bread base. A good but subtle hop bite resides, especially mid body and finish. Booze is nicely displayed but balanced.

M: Medium bodied, balanced, tasty, well carbonated

O: Good to very good. A treat to drink.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

650ml bottle. Always a treat to see a white whale emerge on the barren prairies.

This beer pours a hazy, pale golden amber hue, with three fingers of puffy, and mostly just bubbly off-white head, which leaves a stellar array of spindly webbed lace around the glass as it slowly bleeds off.

It smells of dank, piney forest floor hop bitters, plain grainy pale malt, mixed and muddled citrus rind, a mild flinty stoniness, some ethereal light orchard fruitiness, and a touch of estery alcohol. The taste is more gritty, grainy pale malt, a suggestion of biscuity caramel, peppy pine resin and citrus pith (white grapefruit and underripe navel orange, for the trainspotters), that same flinty essence carrying on from the nose, and a respectful cold steely alcohol, er, warming.

The bubbles are quite innocuous in their quotidian and frothy meanderings, the body a solid enough middleweight, and replete with a hollow-seeming smoothness. It finishes on a strong drying trend, the fruity and bitter green hop essences justifying their purported skin in the game.

Well, the long-term hype machine is justified, it would seem - this is a stand-up, big-boy hoppy IPA, the malt paid only contractual lip service (wait, whut?). Yeah, good 'n hoppy, in a rather complex manner, so much so, that Imma gonna have to procure at least a few more, um, 'test samples' for the coming backyard patio season.

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Photo of IllNate
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
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 smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
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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Fat Tug IPA from Driftwood Brewery
4.26 out of 5 based on 564 ratings.
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