Recommendations & Reviews

REVIEW: Fat Tug IPA by Driftwood Brewery – Victoria, BC

If you have yet to try Fat Tug IPA by Driftwood Brewery… add it to your Craft Beer Bucket List!

REVIEW: Fat Tug IPA by Driftwood Brewery – Victoria, BC

India Pale Ales (IPAs); they are full of hops and flavour:

I have a cousin who loves beer. We used to work 10 hour days together building a large DC converter station and would wander into the local shop afterward, covered in dirt and mud, hoping to see new beer on the shelves that’d wet our whistles but keep us interested. We both love the big heavy stouts, Irish ales, and abbey ales, but we have a very significant difference of opinion where hoppy beers are concerned. When it comes to really hop­loaded India Pale Ales and American Pale Ales, he doesn’t share my taste at all. “Try this one!”, I’d say, hoping to win him over with a more lightly hopped red ale or something similar. After trying it, he’d almost always pass it back and say, “Nope, too hoppy for me. That’s all yours, buddy.”

It’s well known that the craft beer industry has a pretty serious obsession with hops. I’ve met a few beer lovers who were more than a little annoyed with the so­-called “hop arms race” between brewers. The lingering bitterness of some of the hoppier offerings is certainly an acquired taste and, let’s face it, it’s not for everyone. Personally, I love the hops. I’ve downed a lot of IPAs and I can comfortably say that when it comes to Northwest­-style IPAs brewed in Canada, you’d be hard pressed to find one that beats this.

 

Driftwood’s Fat Tug IPA’s History:

Driftwood Brewery opened shop in 2008, but found that securing the hops they needed to brew a year-round NW IPA was just too challenging. It’s for this reason that the Fat Tug IPA didn’t get released until 2010. Even still, this beer wasn’t really intended to be a year round release, until customers demanded it. Head on over to their social media channels, and you’ll see that a lot of people really love this beer. I can’t say I blame them. It’s also gotten some attention from critics, having won the Canadian Beer of the Year award at the 2011 Canadian Beer Awards.

 

Fat Tug IPA’s Recipe:

When it comes to really hoppy beers (this one registers 80 IBU), I really like ones that bring out a lot of tropical fruit notes, and these guys have really done that. The finishing hop profile is loaded with Amarillo, and supported by Columbus, Centennial, and Cascade. Summit hops are used for bittering. Look for big citrus and tropical fruit on the nose that come through wonderfully in the finish, as well.

 

Fat Tug IPA’s Packaging:

The packaging isn’t without its own appeal. I had a chance to speak with Hired Guns Creative, the graphic designers who created the current packaging for Fat Tug IPA and they told me that ­­above all else­­ the nautical theme was key. After all, how can a beer called Fat Tug not have a tugboat on the label? Driftwood Brewing is based in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, and there’s plenty of water around them, and (one would assume) plenty of tugboats, too. They felt it was necessary to emphasize the darker side of this beer with their packaging as well, given that this beer has the potential to sneak up on you and leave you hurting the next day if sessioned too heavily, so the label has a dark and foreboding feel to it. Since this beer is a hop “monster”, they wanted the packaging to reflect that.

 

Fat Tug IPA is available from Ontario to British Columbia and everywhere in between. I’d grab two if I were you.

 

Thanks for reading this beer review! If you’re interested in reading people’s thoughts on other beers, check out these links below:

Wild Rose Ponderosa Gose by Wild Rose Brewery (Calgary, AB)
No Fun Zone Blonde Stout by Twin Sails Brewing (Port Moody, BC)
Big Chutes Lager by Freehold Brewing Co. (Calgary, AB)
The Last Mango Wit by Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks (Richmond, BC)

 

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