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Fat Tug IPA | Driftwood Brewery

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
139 Reviews
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Fat Tug IPAFat Tug IPA
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Driftwood Brewery
British Columbia, Canada | website

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:
139
Ratings:
516
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
15.65%
 
 
Wants:
155
Gots:
138
For Trade:
2
View: Beers | Events
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Reviews: 139 | Ratings: 516
Photo of Smurf2055
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
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 Tommo
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
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 -5.4%
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 -5.1%
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 BarrytheBear
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
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 -4.7%
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 smekermann
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
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 -4.2%
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 -4%
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 -3.7%
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 -3.7%
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 peensteen
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
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 -3.5%
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.

 476 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

 1,397 characters

Photo of IllNate
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%
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 -3%
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 papat444
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a gift from my aunt that my brother brought back on a recent trip to their place in Surrey.

Poured from a 650ml. bottle, best before 02/23/12.

Appearance: A hazy light orange body with foam filling half the glass. Settles to about 2-3 fingers. Clings to the glass very well.

Smell: Lush fruit, slight pine, some bitterness, resiny, and mango.

Taste: Lots of mango here mixed with a bit of orange and low on pine. Has a bit of a sweet spot.

Mouthfeel: Hops are there, bitterness is felt (mostly in aftertaste) but the malt is strong as well.

Overall: An IPA that packs more flavor than bitterness but still very well done.

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Photo of liamt07
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle sampled at Volo, poured into a flute glass.

Poured a golden yellow, filtered with a great fluffy and sticky offwhite head. Webbed lacing and solid retention. Nose is big on the citrus hops, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, with some understated pineiness in there as well. Sits atop a solid caramel malt base. Great nose. Taste is quite bitter initially, more pine and less citrus than the nose suggested. Really wasn't expecting this given the nose, but was pleasant otherwise. Prickly carbonation, and good drinkability. A nice IPA, wish I could've had a bigger sample of this.

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Photo of Florida9
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Mostly clear orange-amber in color. Forms a voluminous off-white head that slowly reduces to a thick quarter inch of foam. Lots of lacing.

S: What a wonderful aroma and quite unexpected. Full of tropical fruits, mango, grapefruit, pineapple and citrus. A slight bit of toasty malts, but this is really all about the hops.

T: Unfortunately, not quite as good at the aroma would suggest, but still quite nice: starts with a bit of toast then turns to a strong grapefruit character with notes of melon, mango, and citrus. Finishes with a bit of fusel spice - odd for a 7% beer, but it is what it is.

M: Medium bodied. Appropriate carbonation. Moderate bitterness.

O: I can say I really wasn't expecting much out of this beer, but I was pleasantly surprised. Great aroma with a nice, hop forward flavor profile, a moderate bitterness, and a great balance made for an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Moose90
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from 22oz bottle

A — Pours a clear amber color, there is a copper and almost reddish hue to it. There is a nice and puffy off-white colored head on top of it, leaves behind nice lacing.

S — Smells nicely hoppy and bright, lots of citrus fruits here, grapefruit, lemon, little bit of mango. Lots of a sweet malt foundation as well.

T — Tastes much like the nose, lots of grapefruit and lemon, little balancing undertone of malt.

M — Medium bodied, long lasting finish.

O — Good overall, not sure it's one of the best, but it is certainly a solid IPA.

 573 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a hazy medium to dark honey orange in color with moderate to heavy amounts of fine active carbonation and some moderate copper + golden yellow highlights. The beer has a two finger tall foamy tan head that slowly reduces to a medium sized half finger thick cap towards the center of the glass surrounded by a thin film covering the majority of the remainder of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of pine/resin/dank hops with moderate aromas of citrus/grapefruit rind and herbal hops over the top of grainy malts.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of grainy + caramel malts with a moderate amount of brown sugar sweetness. That is followed by moderate to strong flavors of citrus/grapefruit, citrus/grapefruit rind, pine/resin/dank, and herbal hops which contribute a moderate amount of lingering bitterness.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Chewy with a hint of dryness in the finish.

O: Very enjoyable and I wonder how great this one would be really fresh... Really nice hop flavors and aromas with a nice combination of citrus and pine. Easy to drink with well hidden alcohol and a pretty decent balance of initial sweetness and lingering bitterness.

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Photo of LazyL
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nothing special about the colour, a very pale orange, but nice off white head that stook around for a while.
The nose has honey and grapefruit notes, subtle pine, orange maybe vanilla.
The taste is great. The label says shwack o' hops, and they are right, but at 80 IBU's they arent over the top. Creamy, well balanced, bitterness is pleasing and not overpowering.
This is a good beer. Red Racer might have just gotten a little more competition.
Driftwood is definately becoming a player. Recomended next time your craving a little hop.

 537 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Mason jar at Cask Days.

A - White foam settles to a persistent cap, leaving behind specks of lace. Transparent golden body.

S - Pine and grapefruit hops, with a touch of tropical fruit and a lightly browned sugar malt backdrop.

T - Hops dominate the flavor profile, with pine and grapefruit being the stars of the show again. Malt is a bit more neutral here, with a surprisingly aggressive bitterness rearing its head. The 80+ IBUs listed seems about right.

M - Medium body, with a soft, pleasant texture, low carbonation, and a dry finish. Some lingering hop oils on the palate.

D - A good IPA in the Sculpin vein. I'd buy this if it were available locally, as I think it's stronger than any of the Ontario year-rounds. Still, I think Castor Yakima was the superior beer.

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Photo of Bunman3
4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
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 HipCzech
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 650 mL bottle poured into a small tasting glass.

Appearance: Nearly clear deep gold yellow, with a frothy cap of off white head. A good foam cap lingers and leaves nice patches of fine lace.

Smell: Grapefruit juice and rind, pine combs, apricot, candied tropical fruit (mango, pineapple), savory herbs and slight dank. Underlying malt sweetness sneaks in occasionally.

Taste: More hop punch: tropical fruit and melon more to the forefront with grapefruit bitterness followed by dank pine in the close. Sweet cereal malt carries throughout to provide some balance. Finishes crisply bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, slightly oily feel and light to moderate carbonarion.

Overall: A solid New World IPA - very hop forward, but still balanced by both malt and complex fruit hop notes.

 793 characters

Fat Tug IPA from Driftwood Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 139 ratings.
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