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Belt’s Beer Garden: Feeling Groovy

Fat Head’s Groovy Juice

Can you believe this MAC blog has been doing beer reviews for more than six years and Fat Head’s, one of Ohio’s best and most well-known breweries, has yet to be featured?! Today I fix that.

The brewery originally began in Middleburg Heights, Ohio but has since expanded and now has three other locations: two more in Ohio (Canton and North Olmsted) and one in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There used to be a fifth brewpub in Portland, Oregon, which is where I actually had my first Fat Head beer, but that location has since closed.

After talking to former Belter, Matt Hammond, we decided now would be a good time to exchange a few local beers. He knew that I had only had a small sampling of Fat Head beers and, with them not being available in Illinois, he was nice enough to send some my way.

I received their Groovy Juice, which is available year-round. This hazy IPA is brewed with Azacca, Citra, and Mosaic hops and packs a nice punch with a 7.1% ABV and 65 IBU. A four-pack of 16-ounce cans (or six 12-ounce cans) both run between $13-14.

Groovy Juice poured a somewhat cloudy golden straw color with nearly three fingers of eggshell white head building up atop the beer. The thick, dense foam sits for a while, barely fading away after even five minutes. There is a solid layer of foam left on the side of the glass once the bubbles finally begin to dissipate.

The aroma is big on tropical fruit flavors. Honeydew, passion fruit, mango, and some lighter citrus notes were all very prevalent. A very, very light flaked grain characteristic could be picked up underneath the fruits but, otherwise, it was virtually all fruit.

My first sip started with a soft but somewhat heavier feel to it. And, despite all the foam, there was very little fizzle from the carbonation.

Those tropical hop flavors slowly began emerging from that pillowy softness that coated my tongue. It was the honeydew melon that popped up first with passion fruit joining in right behind it.

In a weird twist, after those flavors appeared there was a late prickle of hops and bitterness that hit the back of my tongue, cutting into the tropical fruits.

Building upwards with that delayed hoppiness, was a slightly dank grapefruit peel flavor that coated my taste buds with a dry resinous feeling.

The hops continued their power move, washing away the melon and passion fruit. However, right before the end, the mango finally made an appearance. There was a burst of mango juiciness that sliced through the grapefruit bitterness before quickly fading away.

Once the mango had gone, all that remained was a moderate dryness and that pithy grapefruit resin. Both of which lasted a few minutes after each sip but neither of which were too bad.

I was expecting this to be juicier than it was. It started off juicy and finished with that quick pop of mango but, outside of those brief moments, it was more hop forward. However, despite the lack of juice, it was still a groovy IPA.

For 7.1% it was rather sessionable and my glass was empty after 15 minutes (which included the five minutes I had to wait for the foam to break down). If the juice levels were pumped up some, this would be a surefire A-. However, with sticky dry finish and everything, it’s good but not great.

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