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Fat Tug IPA | Driftwood Brewery

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Fat Tug IPAFat Tug IPA

Brewed by:
Driftwood Brewery
British Columbia, Canada

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

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Reviews: 147 | Ratings: 554
Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.56/5  rDev +6.8%
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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4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a tall two finger head that is very light tan in tone. Body is a golden Amber hue. Nose is nicely malty but definitely brings the the hops all over the place to balance. Overall it smells great. With first sip I am amazed at how well the malts bring the hops to your tongue. So much balance and drink ability yet an awesome hoppy brew.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.54/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Black Raven imperial pint glass. Pours a medium orange amber with a one finger fine off-white head with good retention and nice lacing. Whooee, a delicious aroma of herbal hops, pineapple and light fruit wafted from the glass as I poured this ale, one of the more complex aromatic IPAs I've run into. The flavor does not disappoint from the tempting pour. Caramel malt, intense piney and herbal hops tapering into a citrusy malt and hop finish leaving pleasant hop aftertaste. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. Very nicely done and could give many imperial IPAs a run for their money. Good job. I've really enjoyed everything from this brewery.

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Photo of TDotScott
4.54/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a wine glass. No freshness date visible.

L- A shade darker than gold, with medium-low haze. A huge, bone white, moussy head sticks around a good while. Good lacing.

S- C hops. Citrus, tangerine, resin. Some pine. Strong aromas, and nothing from the malt.

T- some malt sweetness teams up with those tangerine flavors on the front. Next comes classic C hop tastes of pith and pine. After this, a lingering and somewhat harsh, resinous bitterness lasts and lasts.

F- spritzy. Really spritzy. Too carbonated for style, but once it de-gasses, the dry finish is great.

O- maybe not the best Canadian IPA, but solid all the same.

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Photo of 1stOffender
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
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 portwood
4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smell: orange peel, grapefruit, pine needle, slight musty/dank note. Taste: bittersweet, creamy mouth feel & carbonation. Finish: pine resin, caramel, fruity hop bitterness. (bottled 10/20/15)
Nicely balanced between bitter, sweet, resiny, juicy citrus flavors.

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Photo of LampertLand
4.51/5  rDev +5.6%
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 dirtylou
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, consumed during the super bowl


from notes

appearance: served in my delirium chalice, glowing orange-amber body, frothy beige lace

smell: fresh citrus zest, some of that lovely NW pine, tangerine, honey, black peppered cracker

taste: bright fresh flavors - citrus zest, ruby red grapefruit, spruce and pine, pepper, crackery malts, the perfect touch of sweetness and alcohol. The hops are clean and fresh - another fantastic IPA from north of the border

mouthfeel: fresh and vibrant

overall: great stuff

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Photo of Derek
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The much anticipated IPA from Driftwood...

A: Clear gold with a white head, great retention and lacing.

S: Huge, perfumy aroma. Plenty of tangerine and grapefruit rind, floral, pine and a little cattiness.

T: Pine, grapefruit rind, nectarine, tangerine, assertive bitterness, candied pineapple, sponge toffee, mild alcohol, great stuff!

M: Moderate body is smooth, with a modest carbonation and a light hop acidity.

D: If you're a hop head and think 7% isn't sessionable, THINK AGAIN!

This is right up there with Red Racer... a hop lovers dream. I'm not sure if there's quite as much finishing (aroma) hops, but there's plenty of flavour and a bit more bitterness.

An all-around great brew!

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Photo of wordemupg
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle poured into tulip april16 2011

A clear orange copper with decent carbonation feeding a solid two fingers of off white that retains quite well and leaves lots of scattered lace

S citric hops are very apparent, pineapple, grapefruit, tangerine, lemon, lime and the list goes on in terms of tropical fruit. There's also a little spring forest both pine and just a little spruce, zero booze and just enough malty toffee to keep the hops from having complete control

T thankfully it mimics the smell quite well but with more citric rind opposed to the fruity flesh, pretty solid IPA going on here and I'm proud of the fact this is from my preferred side of the border because it could hold its own against anything from state side

M medium bodied and has a nice bitter bite without stripping the enamel off my teeth, flavors linger and the carbonation's just right

O zero flaws and close to perfection in many areas, I could drink myself stupid with this beer without thinking twice if I only had the chance here in Alberta

this really is a kick ass IPA from "our" West Coast, an IPA and 1/2 perhaps and oh so worth seeking out. An entire bomber went down in no time flat and if I had regular access to this I'd be drinking it daily. If your an agent reading this DO WHAT EVER YOU CAN TO GET THIS BEER/BREWERY IN YOUR ALBERTA PORTFOLIO, if your just a geek off the street drink this every time you get the chance. Did I mention chickenm is the man for getting this bad boy into my filthy hands?

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Photo of SebD
4.49/5  rDev +5.2%
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 Jfriz25
4.49/5  rDev +5.2%
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 Hornet2003
4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber purchased from Central City liquor store. Let's see how it compares to the coveted Red Racer IPA...

Appearance: Slightly orange. Poured smoothly to nice creamy head. Dissipates over time.

Smell: Pungent hoppy aroma. Not so much grapefruity like other IPA's. Green, piney hops with some biscuity notes.

Taste: Wow this is hoppy! Lots of grassy, piney hoppiness. Very indicative of a well balanced west coast IPA. Reminds me of Phillips Hop Circle and LaConner IPA.

Mouthfeel: Fat Tug definitely is a showcase for the IBU. All 80 (according to the bottle) come through strongly and boldly. Carbonation is spot on. Slight malty sweetness contrasts beautifully with the bitterness.

Drinkability: If this were available in 6-packs, it'd be dangerous stuff. The alc/vol is high yet subtle in the taste. And the bitterness keeps it interesting.

Overall: Another GREAT beer from Driftwood and yet another sign of the amazing BC craft beer scene. Tons of hops, and different enough from Red Racer to make it stand out on it's own as one of the great West Coast IPA's.

PS. Apologies to Driftwood for the constant comparison to Central City(however it's inevitable these days with Red Racer's reputation). Driftwood is truly an innovator and leader in the BC craft beer movement. This, along with their Sartori, definitely solidifies them as one of BC's best brewers.

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Photo of biegaman
4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
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 DaftCaskBC
4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

M: Medium thickness, and medium carbonation.

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

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Photo of 6pkhbt
4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an exceptional beer and among the best IPAs I've ever had. A fine evolution as well as, to my taste, it was nowhere near this good when it first came out. Nice clean sweet malt character without the overuse of darker coloured malts. Beautiful citrus hopping with some pungent higher alpha content. Slight protien and yeast haze that roughs up and dulls the hop clarity somewhat however.

A beautiful beer when fresh and that is the key. I've had huge variability with the bottled version from fresh and delicious to oxidized and returned. I personally can't abide oxidized character in hoppy beers so I watch the date code carefully now which unfortunately here is a best before type instead of a production date type. The latter is much more informative, but I should be thankful I have one at all.

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Photo of RStansel
4.46/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of Damian
4.46/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Drank on tap at Alibi Room, Vancouver, British Columbia
Served in a pint glass

Gorgeous appearance. The crystal clear, golden-amber body was topped by a tight, frothy, bright white, finger-tall crown. Outstanding lacing. Thick rings coated the glass from top to bottom and lasted until the liquid was finished.

The aroma was terrific. Super hoppy and fruity. Peach and apricot came through big time right off the bat. Good dose of mango as well. Bit of citrus. Orange zest was noticeable. As the beer warmed, the citrus notes took over.

Citrus came through even stronger in the flavor. Loads of juicy orange and orange peel. Some peach and mango notes as well. Grapefruit appeared on the back end and carried into the finish. Slightly bitter, rind-like notes were detectible. Hint of pine too.

Outstanding mouthfeel. The liquid was medium bodied for the style and contained a fine, frothy effervesce that tuned silky smooth on the palate. Plush and pillowy soft.

Driftwood Brewing's Fat Tug IPA is a beer I had on my radar while traveling to Vancouver, and it most certainly lived up to its reputation. This is a fantastically well done hop bomb that combines some of the best elements from both East and West Coast US breweries.

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Photo of souvenirs
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
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 draheim
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle (best before 8/27/2012) into a tulip. Pours a slightly hazy golden orange w/ a rich thick frothy white head. Light passes through this beer in the strangest way, looks like a cats eye gemstone. Big chunks of sticky lace cling to the glass. A beautiful beer.

Aroma is tropical piney citrusy hops. Tangerines and pineapple too. To me, this beer smells exactly like Pliny the Elder - I'd have to do a side-by-side to detect any differences. In fact, aside from the slight haze (Pliny is usually very clear), this beer looks a lot like Pliny, complete w/ a head more reminiscent of a Belgian tripel. So far I'm very impressed.

Taste is just what I expected from the aroma. Pale dry biscuity malt, tropical citrusy hops that bring lots of orange and grapefruit, and a slight honey sweetness too. Finish is sharp, bitter and clean. A nice hint of booze too.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, a little oily.

Overall this is undeniably a great IPA - right up there w/ Pliny, Duet, Pure Hoppiness... impressive. The only downside here is the $10 price tag.

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Photo of doughanson78
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Tilly
4.42/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of andrenaline
4.42/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fresh from a recent Kelowna trade, though nearing its Best Before Date.

A - Pours a slightly hazy golden copper orange colour, solid two fingers of head with solid retention and some fine spotty lacing.

S - Scent is sweet, yet bold, loads of citrus, caramel, lemon grass, cedar, pineapple and a hint of soap.

T - Even with the age, this thing is loaded with hop flavours. The citrus notes dominate, some candied ginger, pineapple, earthy cedar and pine. A lip smacking bitterness lingers, though is nicely balanced with a bready caramel on the finish. It's hard to imagine that the flavours might improve had I gotten this bottle sooner because its absolutely fantastic.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and fairly dry on the finish.

O - There's a reason this is top rated. Driftwood never ceases to amaze me with the quality of their brews and this is no exception. If I had access, I would be buying this stuff (along with several of their other offerings) by the case.

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Photo of biker30x
4.42/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear golden from a bomber into a pint glass. While the color read "thin", the first sip revealed a lush mouthfeel with excellent balance and just the right amount of carbonation. The nose was slightly piny (but nobody should go by my sesnse of smell) and the flavor was initially spicy pine and flavorful hops (without being overwhelmingly hopped) with a deep malty backbone and a hoppy finish that lingered. This is a beer for cool nights and spicy food.

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Photo of byronic
4.4/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to @Corson for hooking me up with this bottle

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

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Fat Tug IPA from Driftwood Brewery
4.27 out of 5 based on 554 ratings.
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