Articles Comments

The Beer Circle » American IPA, Beer, Fat Head's Saloon, Reviews » Fat Head’s Head Hunter IPA

Fat Head’s Head Hunter IPA

My past couple reviews strayed away from my home market, and while I love the beers I had the chance to drink, I think it’s time to cover a local establishment who just started bottling their flagship beer.

Fat Head’s Saloon started as a humble bar in Pittsburgh’s South Side, which blossomed as the area improved and became a hot bed for nightlife. Fast forward to the current, and Fat Head’s stands as one of Pittsburgh’s premier beer bars, known for getting some of the rare and hyped offerings that pass through the area (also, every year they host a Belgian breakfast with waffles and Founder’s CBS. Check it out.) Their acclaim boomed enough to allow them to create another Saloon and brewery in North Olmsted, OH, and in 2012 they built a full-scale production brewery in Middleburg Heights, OH.

So while there may now be a debate as to where Fat Head’s beers are attributable, there is no question as to where they got their start and support to make some excellent beer!

Fat Head’s Head Hunter IPA
Pours a golden copper color with a clear body and multiple streams of carbonation gradually floating around the glass. These help feed a 2-fingered tan head, which quickly grows, and has some great retention; not only does it last a long time, but when it does finally settle down, it lingers as a thick, foamy cap that keeps the aroma pumping. There is a great lace coating around the edges.

Speaking of the aroma, it is unabashedly aggressive and hoppy. The first thing I notice is a brash citrus, ripe with grapefruit, peach, and mango, delivering a lush, tropical fruit smell that straddles the line between sweet and bitter. There are traces of pine here too, but for the most part this is focused entirely around the fruits.
The nose has me really pumped for the flavor, but unfortunately it falls a little short of that promise. The thing I liked about the aroma was the balance struck between sweet and bitter, but the taste pretty much lands solidly in the 'bitter' category until the finish. Top-tier West Coast IPAs can deliver the hop flavor without extracting a ton of bitterness, but I felt like the bitterness here is just a bit much. To be fair, the finish on this is spot-on, as I get the perfect balance between orange peel, grapefruit, pineapple, and the rest of the fruits. Also, as this warms, the bitterness seems to fade a little.
Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with high carbonation. This feels great on the palate, and has a long lasting effect even minutes after swallowing. A strong hop resin weighs on the tongue, giving a subtle numbing feeling.
Drinkability is moderately high. This isn't as smooth out of the bottle as it is from the tap, but I'm just happy that Fat Heads is finally bottling some of their stuff. Couple that with a locally-brewed West Coast-styled IPA and its a recipe for success. I would've preferred to have the bitterness toned down in favor of extracting more hop flavor, but some time to let it aerate goes a long way.
For $3 a pop, the value for Head Hunter is great. High alcohol, heavily hopped, and supporting a 'local' brewery for that price is an easy choice and one I'd make everyday. Couple that with the ability to head to the bar and get growlers/pints of it at any time is a special bonus.
Overall, I really liked this IPA. While the bottled version isn't as tasty as it is from the tap, the portability and accessibility factor of the former is nothing to scoff at. I have already sent one of these to a buddy of mine in New Jersey, who otherwise wouldn't have the chance to try this, so I am stoked that they are finally bottling. If you have the chance to try this, especially fresh, I'd highly recommend it.

Beer Stats
Style: American IPA
Serving: Bottle
Size: 12oz
ABV: 7.50%
BA Score: 96
RB Score: 100

Last updated by at .

Written by Greg Bruce

While studying at Penn State, Greg learned that beer could serve a much better purpose than a means to an end for a good party. Delicately brewed Belgians acted as a stark contrast to the almost watery beer that had been so popular and began the journey towards craft beer. From that launch point he always seems to land on something new. Greg approaches each beer, whether it is an aggressively-hopped West Coast IPA or an English bitter (and everything between), with a clear mind and open opinion, ready to analyze, compare, and ultimately, enjoy. While always fond of stouts (especially barrel-aged) and IPAs, Greg is slowly but surely drifting towards various soured beers. Find Greg Bruce on Google Plus

Filed under: American IPA, Beer, Fat Head's Saloon, Reviews · Tags: , , ,