Ignore the Cleveland Branding—Fat Head’s is One of Portland’s Best Breweries

The oafish branding couldn't be more at odds with the Portland aesthetic.

131 NW 13th Ave., 503-820-7721, fatheadsportland.com. 11:30 am-11 pm Monday-Thursday, 11:30 am-midnight Friday-Saturday, 11:30 am-10 pm Sunday.

Established: November 2014

This Cleveland-born brewery, which opened its first and so far only offshoot in the Pearl in 2014, specializes in big, hoppy beers along with football-sized sandwiches and smoked Buffalo wings. The oafish branding couldn't be more at odds with the Portland aesthetic, and just reading the food menu can cause mild angiotensin. But Fat Head's has a stack of beer medals to testify to its prowess—not to mention that its Semper FiPA and IBUsive took both first and second place in our blind tasting of the city's IPAs last year. The best part? The IPAs are just the opening salvo.

(Fat Heads, Thomas Teal)

Dig deeper into the beer list, and you'll be impressed by everything from a decedent, deep Belgian chocolate stout or any of the off-kilter barrel beers, which come from wood painstakingly collected by brewer Mike Hunsaker, who just left to open his own spot in Camas, Wash., called Grains of Wrath. Without Hunsaker, there's a chance Fat Head's tumbles. We really hope it doesn't. 

Bar story: Fat Head's in Portland is actually a franchise—owned by Vancouver's Tom Cook. Meanwhile, the original Pittsburgh saloon got famous for its food—apparently a favorite of Russell Crowe's—before brewer Matt Cole started Fat Head's Brewery in Ohio, thus retroactively making the original Pittsburgh location famous for beer it didn't brew. Confused? Just drink the beer.

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