Fat Head’s Head Hunter IPA

Hype is a dangerous thing. Often it leads to the disappointment of being underwhelmed. It forces you to expect, even demand, the exceptional and extraordinary. Living in Pittsburgh and being a regular Fat Head’s customer, the hype surrounding their award winning Head Hunter IPA has simply gone off the charts.

Banners of awards won by the beer hang in the popular South Side restaurant (1st Place National IPA Championships 2010, Gold Medal Winner – West Coast IPA Fest 2009, Silver Medal Winner American-Style IPA 2010 Great American Beer Fest, Top 25 Beers in the World 2009 – Draft Magazine). Twitter explodes with announcements when four-packs are available, with the warning that they will not last long. Giant chalk boards are dedicated to the beer in the bar in Pittsburgh, boasting the beer’s tagline: “Uncivilized and Aggressive”.

All this hype could set an IPA-loving beer wench up for a catastrophic letdown. To say the least, Fat Head’s Head Hunter IPA did not fail to impress.

The IPA pours beautifully clear, golden with a lacey, small head. I was treated immediately with an onslaught of sweet citrusy hops, enough to make your mouth water. The hop aroma is strong, with notes of tropical fruit, but also rich, with a depth that is really wonderful.

The taste of Head Hunter is in one word “crisp”. A level of hoppiness that I haven’t had the pleasure to encounter in many beers (locals: East End Big Hop is the only comparable beer that comes to mind). One might even say….”aggressive” hops, just like the bottle says. The hops hit you right up front, extremely bitter and reminiscent of grapefruit, orange zest, and lemon. The hops carry throughout the drink, leaving you with a delightful aftertaste, not too sweet, but very crisp and clean.

While the hop flavor in this beer is off the charts, I’m hesitant to agree with the “Uncivilized and Aggressive” tagline because it’s so darn drinkable. With similar beers I found even myself, a hop-lover of extreme proportions, understanding how folks could have a hard time warming up to the bitter beauties. Head Hunter IPA is different. As I enjoyed this brew I remarked to Mr. Baconpants, “I taste this and I think, really, if you don’t fall in love with beers like this, well, I think you’ve got to be crazy.”

That honestly sums it up. The hype is well deserved and I gladly add to it. Beer lovers as well as the casual drinker should try this, because, well, you are really doing yourself a disservice if you miss it. So with that, please do what you have to do (hopefully that means a visit to Pittsburgh, or, gulp…..Cleveland (shudder)) to try Fat Head’s Head Hunter IPA. I couldn’t be prouder to be from an area of the country putting this stuff out.