Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Fat Tug IPA | Driftwood Brewery

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
139 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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:
137
For Trade:
2
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 139 | Ratings: 516
Photo of DenisKolkin
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

650 ml bomber served at cellar temperature into a pint glass. No freshness indicated and purchased from the LCBO for $6 CDN.

Appearance - pours a clear light golden color with some orange highlights.plenty of effervescent carbonation. A beautiful finger and a half of rocky white head with impeccable retention. Coalesces into a finger of froth. Awesome spidery lacing too. A great looking IPA.

Smell - hops and citrus, with lots of tropical notes and a slight bitter smelling dankness lingering in behind. Quite weedy, but works here.

Taste - big tropical flavours, some grapefruit up from and a wonderful blend of pineapple. Maybe a hint on cantaloupe and honeydew melon too. Again there's a slight wee direness to the background that is pleasant. Top notch.

Mouthfeel - smooth with a good and fairly substantial body, lots of carbonation and more dry on the finish than you might expect.

Overall - absolute top notch IPA, definitely worth picking up a bunch while it's in stock. Given Fat Tug's great reputation, I had very high expectations and this completely lived up to them. It also probably supplanted Red Racer as my favourite BC IPA, that I've had the pleasure to enjoy.

 1,186 characters

Photo of thehyperduck
4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

650 mL bomber served slightly chilled. I had heard that the LCBO was bringing this in, but did not expect it to be stocked locally. What a nice surprise!

Pours a translucent golden-amber hue, complete with a pillowy, sparkling white-coloured head about two fingers high. Good retention; it seeps away steadily over the next 5-10 minutes, depositing a gorgeous curtain of scattered lace, and eventually receding to a half-cm of dense, creamy foam. Citrusy orangepeel and grapefruit come through on the nose, as do pronounced pine needle and resin notes. I'm also getting a few hints of peach, lychee and honeydew melon, with a touch of caramel.

Oh man, it's been a while since I've had the chance to experience a brand new top shelf IPA. The hops are supported by a respectable shelf of biscuity malts and caramelized sugar sweetness, but this one focuses mostly on the resiny, piney hop flavours. Subtle flavours of apricot, canteloupe and passion fruit are easily lost amidst the resin - and they don't fare any better once you hit the citrus-forward back end, which is dominated by pithy grapefruit and a combination of grassy, floral, herbal bitterness at the finish. Bitter, resiny aftertaste that persists well after each sip. Full-medium body, with delicate carbonation levels and an exceedingly smooth, soft, borderline creamy feel on the palate. No sign of the alcohol really, so it drinks like a dream; this is exactly what I am looking for in this style.

Final Grade: 4.58, a superlative A+. Fat Tug is one seriously good IPA, though I'd venture to guess this bottle is at least a month or two past its true prime. Ah well; such are the follies of transcontinental shipping, not to mention government liquor monopolies. This beer doesn't really do anything particularly unique that I have not seen before - but I cannot deny that it's a truly solid West Coast IPA. Really glad to finally cross this long-time want off my list... and given the reasonable price I'll probably pick up a few more bombers (to tide me over until the next GLB IPA comes out).

 2,065 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.84/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle. Clear golden body. Smells of grapefruit and resiny pine. Smells sweet, too. Tastes of pine. Sweet caramel malt and some toasty malt. Strong bitter finish. Medium to medium heavy. Too sweet for me to really love it.

 229 characters

Photo of vfgccp
3.72/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Beautiful IPA. One of the better heads I've seen on an IPA in a long time. Deep, golden orange body with an amazing bone-white head that pours 3 fingers high with fantastic retention and lace.

S - Cilantro, wet leaves, black pepper, and a touch of rosemary. Light bready malt.

T - Boiled cilantro, bitter greens, touch honey, and melon rinds.

M - Medium body with relatively low carbonation.

O - An old-school, alpha-oil hop forward IPA on the green / vegetative side of the style.

 492 characters

Photo of cfalls
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
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

 313 characters

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

 334 characters

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

Photo of DaveBar
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
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!

Enjoy

 1,150 characters

Photo of headlessparrot
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

 1,074 characters

Photo of Eric_Standard
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Gold with a bit of haze and a fluffy white head.
Smells of hops and summer fruit.
More hops and fruit, flavour-wise. Tastes of grapefruit, apple, assorted citrus notes, slightly malty sweetish front, lingering hoppy bitterness - very good.
Heavy-bodied for an IPA, but very drinkable and quenching.
Quite pleasant.

 315 characters

Photo of Mehinaman
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very good of not amazing Canadian IPA. I heard a lot about it and tried some on draft at the Irish Times pub. I thought it was very good, but I'm not sure I would have given it much thought if I had never read about it before. It's dank, but not extremely hoppy and is very easily drinkable. I will try it again before I head home.

 331 characters

Photo of byronic
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

 345 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

 475 characters

Photo of PacificNorthWester
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Very surprised by this one: pours a satisfying light color. The nose is very hoppy. Through the hoppy bitterness there are enjoyable fruit essences imbued in this brew with grapefruit's presence the predominant one. For a heavier beer this was oddly thirst quenching and crisp. Would buy again when in the mood for a bomber of IPA.

 331 characters

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.

 235 characters

Photo of JeffBlue
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(draft, Rogue Kitchen and Wetbar, Vancouver B.C. 7/5/15) Mellow dank, not overly hoppy for 80ibus, pretty solid ipa. Would be interested in seeing if the character holds up in the bottle.

 187 characters

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 RStansel
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Perhaps the best Canadian IPA I've tasted, with a flavour profile reminiscent of Pliny. Honeydew, passion fruit, pine and caramel; thick, layered, intense, but extraordinarily balanced. Well done, Driftwood.

 207 characters

Photo of Crazycanuck17
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this is hands down the best IPA I've had in Canada. Recently available in Alberta and it's flying off the shelves. It's a well rounded IPA with just the right amount of hops to it.

 180 characters

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.

 349 characters

Photo of Tilly
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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

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

 425 characters

Photo of 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 buschbeer
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

650 ML bottle
Served in a tulip glass

It is amber in color with a slight haze. It is topped with three inches of dirty white head the leaves some decent lacing.

I get some citrus with pine being more prominent then the Midwest IPA's that I am used to. The caramel malt is surprisingly apparent.

The malt is not apparent in the taste. This is an aggressively hopped beer. I tasted some citrus at the beginning, but the pine takes over more with each drink leaving a lingering resiny finish.

Medium mouthfeel

I enjoyed this beer so much while on vacation last September that I had to trade for it. Thanks Rutager!

 616 characters

Photo of hotmailmsn
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

7% ABV, 80+ ibu
A - hazy golden orange, with good amount of white head.
S - biscuit malty, citrus, grapefruit, floral, grassy dry hopped, peppery spice, honey sweet, melon, lychee.
T - welly carbonated. sweetness came first, lingering. cracker, biscuit, bready, cereal flavor. bitterness is all the way thru. long lasting...
O - my fav IPA so far. balance as the sweetness, maltiness, not to mention the bitterness which i enjoy the most!! it has all the things u want from an west coast IPA, plus a very unique malt characteristics!! Everybody has to try it once!! most importantly, it's all year round, u can enjoy it anytime, unlike the other hyped IPA, and you will not regret it.

 684 characters

Photo of nmann08
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

 411 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe