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Fat Head's looks to open brewpub in Columbus

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by BeerBuckeye, Jan 11, 2013.

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  1. BeerBuckeye

    BeerBuckeye Initiate (0) Oct 2, 2009 Ohio
    Beer Trader


    Fat Head's -- the award-winning brewery in suburban Cleveland -- is interested in opening a brewpub in Columbus. Partner and brewer Matt Cole confirmed the interest Friday, saying they are looking at the Short North, German Village, Brewery District and Polaris areas.

    Cole said he'd like to open a brewpub with a seven-barrel brewhouse that could produce a "massive variety of small-batch beers."

    Fat Head's would enter a Columbus market that is seeing huge growth in the number of craft breweries. Over the last several years, the state capital has seen Neil House, Four String, Zauber, Seventh Son, Bru (now apparently going by North High) and a second BJ's location open. There also are others planned and set to join mainstays Barley's, Gordon Biersch, Elevator and Columbus.

    Fat Head's, which started out as a restaurant in Pittsburgh in 1992, opened a Fat Head's Brewery & Saloon in North Olmsted in 2009. Last year, Fat Head's opened a production brewery in Middleburg Heights to start bottling and distributing its beers. The brewery has received national acclaim for its brews, especially its Head Hunter IPA. Despite being open for only a few years, Fat Head's has won five medals at the Great American Beer Festival.

    Meanwhile, Fat Head's also is working on opening a tasting room at its production brewery. Cole said they are shooting for the end of February. The production brewery will produce about 7,000 barrels its first year and is already adding new equipment to keep up with customer demand and to add new markets, he said.

    There are some other Fat Head's developments in the works, too, but Cole declined to discuss them publicly. "2013 is going to be a busy year for me," he said.
    ChrisPro, Lipsntoes and MarkIntihar like this.
  2. itsthepleats

    itsthepleats Initiate (0) Mar 19, 2012 Ohio

    Wha wha what!?! That is some stellar news right there. Good time to be a beer geek in Cbus. ....except for that nagging 12% thing.
  3. miketd

    miketd Zealot (522) Mar 2, 2006 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I heard about this last week. Good news for the Cbus guys!
  4. MajorBuckeye

    MajorBuckeye Aspirant (290) Jan 8, 2012 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    This is very good news indeed. Selfishly hoping Matt Cole doesn't rule out the Easton area as a possibility....but wherever it lands in the 614 I'm sure I'll be a frequent customer.
  5. Bonis

    Bonis Defender (630) Jul 28, 2010 Ohio

    This is fairly exciting. I think they would be competitive with what the city already has, and possibly start producing the best beer in the city. Columbus Brewing still might have the edge on hoppy offerings, but it would definitely make things more interesting in the city.

    I am not really sure if I understand this move from a brewery's perspective. Not sure what Fat Head's goal is in the long run. Do they want to become generic like a Gordon Biersch or BJ's eventually (yes, I understand they make decent beer, it just seems like another chain restaurant to me)? I just don't understand that approach. I know this will only be their 3rd location in the region, but who knows if they'll stop. I am no business expert and everyone has their own business plan, but I don't get the whole franchising type thing. They will not garner a lot of respect in the local beer communities if they open numerous brewpubs.. That is just my opinion, who knows though. I know most people don't care who makes it or where it is made, just as long as it is good.
  6. miketd

    miketd Zealot (522) Mar 2, 2006 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    To your first point, to each their own, but Fat Head's is already doing some of the best hoppy beer in the country, never mind the state. Head hunter has done very well in national competitions(I know, not that important, but it is nice) and is best straight from the pub, like most IPAs. Also, Hop Juju and Imperial Head Hunter(to name only a couple) can compete with anything, IMO.

    As far as the franchising goes, it's only two pubs and the production facility that will be producing beer... the Pittsburgh restaurant never did that. I am no insider, but I highly doubt they have any plans to go national, or even statewide, with brewpubs. I did hear they may expand their distribution range, but that is down the line.

    I'm a homer for this place(I reserve that for only a couple Ohio brewers), but FH's is no Gordon Biersch and never will be. In regard to respect, that is already solidified by the world class beer they produce;don't expect that to change as Matt Cole is very proud of what he does.
    BB1313 and TurdFurgison like this.
  7. HolyGrail

    HolyGrail Initiate (0) Aug 13, 2012 Ohio

    Please do not tease. FatHeads would be a great addition to the growning beer sceen here!!!!! I do not know of any other state that has grown so aggresively in their beer culture so quickly. With some many good breweries lauching this past year in Colulmbus like Zauber, Hoof hearted, ABC, Born/7th son, BRU............in addition to the awesome foundation that started it all like Barleys, Elavator, CBC, Hosters.............Columbus, O-H-I-O is trending to become the new Chico, CA (I HOPE). As a avid beer fan, I THANK all those depots and breweries that offer exciting opportunities to explore such wonderful concoctions of malted barley like: TheDailyGrowler, The Pint Room, Pie's and Pints, Beer Kitchen 101..............BOB's, Bodega's,Frank's.............pretty much anyone that offers 20 taps - most of which are local! Cheers PROST
    jminch likes this.
  8. Bonis

    Bonis Defender (630) Jul 28, 2010 Ohio

    Kudos on the awards, but I personally think Columbus IPA is better, even after having very fresh (or what I was told was very fresh) Head Hunter on three separate occasions. It is a very good IPA, but it didn't do anything more for me than CIPA or White Rajah. It seems to be more in balance and not bursting with the citrus and tropical hops I crave. Now, I also think CIPA is off at times, but when it's on, there isn't a better tasting IPA around. Hopefully Fat Heads can brew with great consistency. The only other Fat Heads beers I have tried are Sorcerer Belgian dark and the blueberry ale, both were fine ales, but I probably wont have them again anytime soon.

    Also agree with what you say about the Gordon Biersch comparison, that was a little out of line. Fat Heads is definitely doing way bigger things on the American craft scene. I am anxious to try more of Fat Heads beers, as I keep hearing so many great things. I see Hop JuJu is rated very high. A good friend of mine had this at their brewpub and really enjoyed it (though not as much as Bodhi :wink:... I don't think there is a hoppy beer around that touches Bodhi). He also had Head Hunter and wasn't really a fan. I'd also like to see what their offerings are with stouts.

    And I'm not a huge fan of CBC either, just think they are experts when it comes to IPAs. Besides CIPA, Bodhi, and Creeper, they really don't brew anything else notable IMO.
  9. Keffa

    Keffa Defender (634) Jan 8, 2009 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Never had BA Uncle Rusty, eh? :wink:

    I think this is wonderful news, especially for those of us who want to see Head Hunter on a more regular basis :slight_smile:

    Edit: That said, CIPA is my favorite beer ever, but fresh Head Hunter is pretty close.
  10. miketd

    miketd Zealot (522) Mar 2, 2006 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    We have a nice IPA "problem" in Ohio, that is ranking the top 3 IPAs in the state. Personally, I put it Head Hunter, Rajah, CIPA. But I have had some really good CIPA that can at least compete with the other two. I can see how some people might not like HH, as it's kinda grapefruit-rind like/piney, but if you had one that was malty or "balanced", it was old. I also happen to love the Bumble Berry, a great and subtle fruit beer.

    Once again, we have a matter of opinion - I think Juju is the best DIPA I've ever had, and that includes Pliny the Younger, Kern Citra, Heady, etc., but taste is very subjective. as far as the rest of Columbus' beers, I agree with Keffa, BA Uncle Rusty is awesome and so is Cousin Eddy.

    We have it good here, that's a fact. :slight_smile:
  11. Bonis

    Bonis Defender (630) Jul 28, 2010 Ohio

    Such a "problem" to have, indeed! Has Juju been to Cbus? I'll have to try when it's around.

    As for the BA Uncle Rusty, I only got a sip off of a friend at the microbrew fest. The sip I had was quite good, but when I went to get a pour of it, the keg was kicked. So yea, I haven't had enough to have an opinion on it, but I'm sure it's a fine ale.
  12. miketd

    miketd Zealot (522) Mar 2, 2006 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I doubt Juju has been down there yet, unless one of the better bars got a keg or two. It was one of the beers they were supposed to bottle, but it has not been done yet.

    I should add - all these beers are subject to "off" batches. It's hard to get an IPA exactly the same every time.
  13. Bonis

    Bonis Defender (630) Jul 28, 2010 Ohio

    Well hopefully that happens sometime soon! Would love to see it in four packs, or even singles would be nice.
  14. Bonis

    Bonis Defender (630) Jul 28, 2010 Ohio

    Forgot about Big Frank as well... Might be my favorite Belgian IPA.
  15. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (596) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    Nagging my Buckeye brethren is an understatement:astonished: Course I remember when the cap was 4% lower...tell me how an abv cap makes a lick of sense if you can buy higher abv wine & spirits? You can stick this right up there w/no wine & beer before 1pm on Sunday's, more righteous church driven NONSENSE. :angry:
    itsthepleats likes this.
  16. TurdFurgison

    TurdFurgison Poo-Bah (3,058) May 29, 2005 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    This is about the best beer news I could have hoped for this year. I am a HUGE fan of Fat Heads beers, and over the last few years every trip to Cleveland has included a stop in North Olmsted to imbibe and growl.

    The brewers at FH have a knack for nailing whatever style they make. Whether it's a rauchbier, an IPA, a hefeweizen, a Baltic porter, they just deliver it perfectly. Hats off to Matt Cole, I hope he never leaves FH. If the Columbus location comes together and includes a cask offering like North Olmsted I will probably be there 1-2x per week.
    miketd likes this.
  17. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (596) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    I like FatHeads, beer is great & definitely the reason to go, for theirs as well as the guest taps which have always been stellar. My eating experiences have been mixed, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. My biggest gripe is when it's asshole to asshole there, like any busy place(not singling them out) IMO service takes a dive and the bodies & noise make for an irritating experience. As for the chains in Cbus I prefer Gordon's to BJ's(seriously w/the name guys?) both in food & beer brewed by...though I'd give BJ's the slight edge on guest taps but they are always PACKED. Fatheads will definitely be entering into a booming craft beer market place, though w/Headhunter as their calling card the momentum has been built already statewide.
  18. Blueribbon666

    Blueribbon666 Zealot (596) Jul 4, 2008 Ohio

    Had Bell's Best Brown Ale on cask @ North Olmsted & enjoyed it more than the bottled version, good stuff!
  19. TurdFurgison

    TurdFurgison Poo-Bah (3,058) May 29, 2005 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Oh yeah, I forgot to make that important point! The only reason I go there is the beer (including the guest taps). The food isn't really all that special, and the portions are way too big. If the Columbus location sets up 2x the bar seats to go with the restaurant I'll be right at home.
  20. itsthepleats

    itsthepleats Initiate (0) Mar 19, 2012 Ohio

    Amen, brotha!
  21. miketd

    miketd Zealot (522) Mar 2, 2006 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I doubt Matt is going anywhere, he owns a share of the place.
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