Published March 4, 2014
The craft beer market has exploded exponentially over the last five years, so you're never exactly sure what you're going to get when you venture into a brew pup these days. I rolled into the Fat Heads Brewery and Saloon on a Sunday night with three adults and four children without a reservation or an idea of what to expect.
I had enjoyed at least six different Fat Heads beres prior to my unannounced arrival. Their commitment to quality and innovation has always impressed me, especially their willingness to take big risks in the flavor profile of their beers. This whimsical and creative apporach to brewing makes each offering somewhat of an adventure in a bottle.
First, I want to acknowledge how family-friendly and welcoming the staff was. There were families of all varieties enjoying themselves all around us. The table immediately next to us was celebrating their son's 18th birthday, which we gladly shared in with them.
Our waitress gracefully handled what was doubtlessly a difficult table with all the kids and four separate checks. We ordered six different pizzas, along with salads and soups which totally crowded our table and left just enough room for some outstanding beers. Here's a look at my favorites of the night:
Oompa Loompa Chocolate Cream Stout
One of the easiest drinking, richly constructed and luscious stouts I'v ever enjoyed. Made with Belgian Dark Chocolate and Bourban Soaked Madascar Vaniila Beans.
Hippy Sippy Imperial IPA
My favorite of the tasting session. Incredibly complex with 70 IBUs and a flvor profile that includes coffee and hints of chocolate. An amazing defiance of expectations.
Bumbleberry Honey / Blueberry Ale
An outstanding break from the dark beers and a real surprise to the palate. This is a fruit beer with fortification and flavor for days (or mutliple sips).
Hop Ju Ju Imperial IPA
You have to be a real lovers of hops to groove on this beer. 100 IBUs and an impressive array of citrus, floral and spicy flavors integrated to perfection.
Special thanks to Ted Lipovan, the GM and Partner at Fat Heads who graciously visited our table for a brief interview. Ted's favorites include: Beam Me Up Coffee Stout, Hop Ju Ju, and Headhunter IPA. I strongly recommend a trip to either of the Fat Heads locations next time you are in the Cleveland area.