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52 Weeks: Fathead’s Brewery and Saloon, Cleveland, OH

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Damn that's a fat head!

33 out of 52

(so close to being caught up. So close, I can taste it!)

Fathead’s Brewery

24581 Lorain Rd.

North Olmstead, OH 44070

440-801-1001

Rank: 3.5/5

Type of Establishment: Brewery, Family Restaurant, 2010 GABF Award Winning Beer Making Facility

Visit: Ohio. A place I visited often as a child. A place where many family members live. A place I went to college and a place I met my husband. This visit I had mother, brother, sister and brother-in-law in tow. Of course we found all of the beer bars around Elyria, Ohio where my grandma lives and convinced the family to venture out for dinner, to a place with epic guest beers, award winning beers on tap and massive (seriously massive) sandwiches. I present to you, Fathead’s Brewery and Saloon.

Beers on Tap- so many, but here are some highlights (FH= Fathead):

Great Lakes Blackout Stout

Flying Dog Raging Bitch

Petrus Aged Pale

Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale

FH Head Hunter IPA

FH Koko Head Chocolate Coconut Cream Stout

FH Hop JuJu Imperial IPA

Bottles: I honestly do not recall if they had a bottle list. With all those taps and in house beers, it wasn’t necessary or a focus of ours at the moment.

Food Options: Wings, Sandwiches, Pizza, Wings, Sandwiches, Pizza and some salads for you health nuts. Smoked wings, full wings for an intense, dedicated wing eater. For the main course, a term coined by Fathead, a “headwich” is a really massively large sandwich. Seriously, the size of your head. Delicious cheeses, vegetables and meats on soft, fresh bread. Its heaven on a plate, next to a beer, among family, in Ohio. The Southside Slope was voted #5 Best Sandwich in America, just sayin’. This place is receiving a ton of good press!

BAR OPINION: When we visit Ohio, we aim to eat some damn tasty wings, indulge in other hearty foods and drink, what us West coasters consider, “rare beers.” Here at Fathead, all of our needs were met and then some. The space is rather large. We walked in the front entrance with a small merchandise shop next to the hostess – one pint glass, Check! The hostesses wear uniforms consisting of black pants and blue polo shirts with Fathead icon (which is a big fat guy head, pretty sweet) printed on them. The hostesses and our waitress were very patient, accommodating and willing to take the time and answer our long line of questions.

Our family of 6 walked past the bar area, light wood glistened with a glass backdrop behind the bar. We sit down and I dive for the beer menu. What, oh what does this brewery have to offer. Petrus Aged Pale ON TAP!!! Granted the keg was kicked during my pour, but I walked away with a half of a Petrus for free. Such a great beer. One of my favorite Belgium beers. The beers were impressive, both the Head Hunter IPA and the Hop JuJu Imperial IPA were absolutely stunning. A flavor explosion followed by a lingering sweetness and a well balanced experience. Congrats to Fathead’s Head Hunter for taking the Silver at GABF this year for best American style IPA.

Due to our party size, we were seated in the back. This brewery can accommodate the best of them: beer buddies out to knock a few back as well as the family of six (plus small children if we had any). It could use a little more ambiance, but their beers, their epic sandwiches, smokey delicious wings and hilarious brand make Fathead’s Brewery and Saloon a must visit in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Take the whole fam!

Notes of a Beer Nerd: Jolly Pumpkin’s Fuego del Otono

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales' Fuego del Otono

Enjoyed on 1/15/2010

Brewery: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales LLC.

Location: Dexter, MI

Beer: Fuego del Otono (Autumn Fire)

Web: http://www.jollypumpkin.com

Presentation: 750 ML – Brown Glass Bottle

Vintage: 2007

Style: Belgian Wild Ale

Barrel: Oak

ABV: 6.1%

IBU: N/A

Hops: N/A

Malt: N/A

Vessel: Tulip

Recommended Serving Temp: 50 degrees

Notes from the bottle: “To catch a bit of soft radiance in each bottle, we wait for fall colors to begin their bright and fleeting glow before brewing this wonderful ale under their autumn fire. Gentle amber malt blend smooth caramel notes, gently lapping against a shore of distant forgotten spice. A beer to sip, contemplate and enjoy.”

Bottled on: “Bottling 3” (?)

Flavor will continue to develop for some time to come.

Food Pairings: Indian, Shellfish

Cheese Pairings: Nutty ones such as Asiago, Colby, Parmesan

Beer Advocate: A-

Rate Beer: 96 (3.75)

Timperialstout’s Notes:


Ron Jeffries should be more of a household name in the brewing industry.  He has created, in my humble opinion, one of the elite breweries in America today.  The so-called “Brett Pack” (Tomme Arthur  of Lost Abbey & Port Brewing, Adam Avery of Avery Brewery, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head, Vinnie Cilurzo  of Russian River & Rob Tod of Allagash
) has a glaring omission.

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales has all of the qualities that I would want in a brewery of my own.  They create unique and innovative ales (with a profound respect for history) on a small scale, with an ample dose of tender loving care, and most of all, passion.  They have been making delicious beers for the local community, and not forgetting about all of the beer nerds (like myself) in somewhat far off places, for a mere 7 years.

I think the word “artisan” is such an apropos word.  I strive to be an artisan in my own life.  Jolly Pumpkin seemingly achieves that descriptor, almost annoyingly, without effort.

A few facts about Jolly Pumpkin:  Jolly Pumpkin’s ales are created by using open fermentation.  Jolly Pumpkin’s ales are aged in oak barrels.  Jolly Pumpkin’s ales are bottle conditioned.

This is how they do business.  This is simply – what they do.  The trends in American brewing have had to catch up to them.

What does all of this mean?  Well, we will be witness to the earthy, funky, sour, acidic, and most importantly complex flavors of the Flanders region on Belgium, but made right here in the great U.S. of A.  The Great Lakes region will be our Senne Valley.

[Briefly, while we are on the subject - Michigan…what a magical beer land it has become.  Headline: Quite possibly stricken the hardest of all 50 states by our current economic woes, residents drown sorrows in really freakin’ good beer.  Enter: Arcadia Brewing Co., Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Dark Horse Brewing Co., Founders Brewing Co., Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., New Holland Brewing Co., and the list goes on.]

Fuego del Otono is a seasonal for Jolly Pumpkin with an October release, and is brewed with chestnuts and spices.  I don’t believe that this one is currently being shipped to Washington.  When I picked this up from a bottle shop in Portland, it was the first time I’d seen it.  Do you think I hesitated to get it?

Let’s see what she’s like.

A cautious pour reveals a beautiful, slightly orange tinted amber glow.   A nice off white head built on condensed tiny bubbles rises high, and though it eventually settles, it settles slowly and never fully disappears.  In fact, a solid centimeter or so of creamy head lasts nearly my entire experience with the brew, seemingly protecting it from the air above and offering a second taste on my upper lip after each and every marvelous sip.

The scent is all that I expect from an ale created and stored in the method that Jolly Pumpkin embraces.  It is simultaneously sweet and sour, like a mandarin orange.  Spices and fruit are in full effect, reminding me of that most gluttonous Autumnal celebration of ours we call Thanksgiving.  A Belgian yeasty essence brings a tint of dough and bread deep beneath.  Vinous and acrid.  The nuttiness seems to be hidden until it harms a bit, and is easiest to spot if you open your jaw and let the fluid move around beneath your tongue and hit the back corners of your mouth.   There is also a bit of chestnut buttery accent throughout, but most relevant well after the swallow.

The flavors linger and my mouth waters for some time after the swallow.  My tongue longs for another sip and aches at the thought that, eventually, the glass will empty.

Thank you Jolly Pumpkin, and keep up the good work!

If you like Fuego del Otono, you should try: Russian River Brewing’s Consecration; Lost Abbey’s Cable Car; and Brewery Ommegang’s Rouge Grand Cru

Disclaimer: This beer was purchased on my own with my own hard earned money at a local bottle shop and aged to perfection on my own.

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