Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fat Head's Brewer's Brawl 2011 Recap

Yesterday I attended the Fat Head's Brewer's Brawl event at their brewery and saloon in North Olmsted.  I arrived a little early so I could snap a few pictures before the crowd got there, but also so I could grab a bite to eat!  The event was set up on the front side of the building under the cover of a tent in case of rain. The 17 different brewers were set up with the beers they were offering clearly labeled along a line that was strung up where all could see. 
Once the event started check in was a breeze and we received our souvenir tasting glasses and our drink tickets.  I must say that Fat Head's does a great job with their souvenir tasting glasses!  These 4oz glasses are not only great for the event itself, but a nice addition to your home bar for your when you do our own tastings!
With glass in hand it was time to start tasting! I started my night off with Columbus Brewing Big Frank Belgian IPA  It was a well carbonated and tasty Belgian style IPA
My next choice was the Brew Kettle White Rajah.  I went this route because this beer has many awards under its belt and I wanted to get a sense of how it would compare against the competition.  Much to my disappointment this beer was stone cold flat.  I went back to the table to learn that the keg was nearly kicked, and the carbonation was indeed off.  I asked if they would be tapping another keg since it was only 6:30pm and the 2nd session had just started.  What I found out next was even more disappointing, they did not have a another keg for the second session!
My disappointment quickly turned around when I sampled my next beer, the Bell's Batch 10,000 Anniversary Ale.  Just look at the ingredient list below to see what they put into this amazingly tasty and complex brew!
My next choice was the Thirsty Dog Barrel Aged Siberian Night.  This is one excellent bourbon barrel aged imperial stout!  I was happy that the vanilla flavor really took a back seat to the rich chocolate and bourbon flavors.
I decided to go hoppy for a few rounds and went with the Rocky River Hoptimus Prime next.  This Imperial IPA had a very creamy mouthfeel to it and was not nearly as hoppy as the 75ibu would lead you to believe.  Also, the 8.1% abv was masked very well in this brew.
Next up was a favorite of mine, the Lake Erie Monster.  The hops in the monster jump out right from the start  making this an extremely enjoyable DIPA!
I tried to get the Rye of the Tiger IPA as well, but the person pouring the beer really was having a hard time getting it to pour without being all foam.  I went back a second time a while later and still could not get a Rye of the Tiger, so I gave up.
Next up for me was the Willoughby Brewing Hopnotic Red Rye IPA.  (Thanks to my fiancee for being a wonderful hand model so I could take this picture!)  Simply put, I love this beer because it is boldly hoppy, with a smooth body to support it. 
Pictured below is the man behind Hopnotic, Rick Seibt, who was also enjoying a hopnotic with me!  If you have not had a chance to meet Rick, just head up to Willoughby Brewing to see what he has done to change their beer for the better!  Monday's from 7-10pm is a chance to meet the Brewer!
My next beer choice will come as no surprise, I went with the Fat Head's Head Hunter IPA.  This is the only beer I've ever rated perfect, and a few sips of this batch reaffirmed for me why!
Matt Cole, pictured below, does a great job brewing some truly remarkable beers, and pouring without looking!
After going for so many hoppy brews in a row, I decided to try the Fat Head's Mean Joe Bean Stout.  I'm a very big fan of coffee stouts and this is definitely one to try if you love this style of beer!
It was now time to cast our votes for the evening for the best of show.  With so many great options to choose from I was very interested to see who would come out on top.  To announce the winner, Ted Lipovan took the microphone and thanked everyone for attending the event before announcing the winner. 
And the Winner is.... Thirsty Dog Barrel Aged Siberian Night!
By this point there was only about 30 minutes left for the event, so I decided to go back and have a 2nd glass of a few of my favorites of the night!
My top beers of the evening were:
1. Willoughby Brewing Hopnotic and Fat Head's Head Hunter
2. Thirsty Dog Barel Aged Siberian Night
3. Bells Batch 10,000 Ale
4. Fat Head's Mean Joe Bean
5.Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster

If you have not yet been to a Fat Head's beer event, I highly suggest you go.  This is the 2nd event that I've been to in the past year and once again we had a great time.  The beer selections were very good and pours were very generous!  Also, it was nice to see a good majority of the breweries actually had a rep/brewer at the table to talk about their beers.  I look forward to the next event and I hope to see you there!

Disclosure: I was provided with two tickets to the event.  I also helped promote this event by giving away two tickets through a random giveaway on my site.  The thoughts and opinions expressed in this recap are 100% my own.

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