BEER BRAWL – Driftwood Brewery Civil War: Fat Tug VS Raised By Wolves
Welcome to Beer Brawl, a bro-out between two brews to find the best in their category. For the first furious fight of this new segment, I have selected two beers from the same brewery. Here’s why:
Driftwood Brewery, located in the mean-streets of Victoria (British Columbia, Canada), is my personal favourite producer of craft beers. Whether it’s their IPA, Pilsner, Saison, or ESB, Driftwood nails it on all fronts. It seems that nothing they produce can go wrong and I always prefer their type of beer over that of other breweries. Driftwood has a beer in each type that they sell year-round. For example, “White Bark” is their Witbeer, “Cry Me A River” is their Gose, and “Fat Tug” is their IPA. Fat Tug is their flagship beer, drafted in many pubs in the city and has also fame outside of the province of BC. But then they released the hounds on the IPA-market with a seasonal IPA that comes out once a year: “Raised by Wolves”.
How does a brewery that already has a popular IPA create another beer of the same type and make it not taste the same? Why would they create a competitor for their own flagship beer? And more importantly, which IPA is better? Well, I don’t know about the first two questions, but I’m here to find out about the latter. So let’s go to the ring and take a look at our combatants.
IN THE RED CORNER
The challenger: A pack of vicious wolves, ready to tear their opponent apart. Lupus Hopus, as it would have been called in Latin, weighs in at 7 % alcohol. Created in a lab to contain nothing but fierce hop, these genetically engineered wolves escaped their prison and ran off into the wild. There, they have been raised by wolves that weren’t beer-based, and taught Lupus Hopus how to hunt, kill, and crack open a cold one with nothing but their teeth. But is that enough to claim the throne?
IN THE BLUE CORNER
The champion: An unmanned tug boat, drifting in the sea. Nobody knows where it came from. Some claim that dark forces may be involved with this tug boat as every fisherman who takes it out for a spin returns cynical and bitter.
“Maybe they were always bitter”, you may think, “they are fisherman, what could they possibly have to be happy about?”
That may be true, but it doesn’t explain how the tug boat appears at the coast with no one aboard to steer it, beckoning for a curious victim to board it on a journey that will return them a different man.
“Well, it could have just been the tide or waves bringing the boat ashore”, I hear you say, “and if it always takes a victim out at sea and then returns, when exactly is it unmanned?”
Ok, shut up. Really? Genetically engineered wolves based on beer is fine but this is raising questions? Can you just let me do this?
Everyone knows the legend of Fat Tug, yet no one knows what happens when you’re out there on that boat. What possible fate awaits the challenger? We’re about to find out.
LET THE BEERS BRAAAAAWL!
“That’s not gonna be your transition into the fight, is it?”
I said, shut up.
It was a quiet night in the Victoria inner-city harbour. Relatively quiet. There were bar patrons scouring the streets for some fun, and a few tourists that couldn’t find their way back into their hotel. But the water was quiet. No seals searching the piers for a forbidden feeding, no seagulls screeching their lungs out over some spilled fries. The moon hung high above the city with its reflection shining clear and bright in the ocean. Until a ripple disturbed the perfect image.
A single tug boat drifted from out of nowhere into the harbour. Its engine was off and no man on board. The lonely vessel made its way to the wharf, silent and ominous, as if directed by an unseen force. But the moon’s light attracted something else, too.
The usual banter in the streets was interrupted by a series of outcries. Screams of terror echoed through the alleys as a pack of wolves rampaged through the streets. They jumped on parked cars, pushed over heavy garbage cans, and wreaked havoc like a group of drunks on a sad Saturday night. The wolves arrived near the harbour when their leader noticed the boat. Drawn to the empty vessel, the Alpha signaled its team towards it.
The wolves boarded the ghostly boat and started to gnaw on its exterior. Destruction was their only purpose and their massive jaws created cracks in the façade of the Fat Tug. Blinded by the need to wreck all man-made objects, the wolves didn’t notice the boat slowly drifting away from the harbour.
When they were out in the ocean, far away from the coast, the wolves had ripped pieces off of the Fat Tug’s body. They had felt the strange taste of citrus in the metal, followed by a punch of hop. But its light and crisp feel made it easy to consume. It reminded the wolves of themselves, but there was something different about the boat’s taste. A taste that had been idle in the background. It was coming forward, slowly, like a tug boat drifting away from safety.
Strange vines sprung out of the water and surrounded the boat. They enveloped the vessel, wrapped themselves around it, completely getting a hold of the Fat Tug. The wolves tried to fight off these long and wriggly snakes from the sea, but they couldn’t even puncture its skin. A hit of bitterness filled their moves. It had been waiting for them all along, lingered in the deep, and prepared to strike at the right moment.
The boat began to sink, pulled into the ocean by the force of the tentacles. Unable to fight back, the wolves were dragged into the deep where the huge body of a hop-shaped Kraken waited to devour them whole.
Fat Tug and Raised by Wolves are fantastic beers with similar qualities, such as the alcohol content, the hint of citrus, and the prominence of hop. Yet the wolves seem a bit lighter on the bitterness, almost like an ISA (if it weren’t for the 7 %). While to some newcomers of IPA’s the bitter background of Fat Tug might be a surprise at first, they would grow accustomed to it sip by sip. Veterans of this beer-style would be a bit underwhelmed by the Wolves, which is the one point that decided their fate. This was a close fight, the wolves did some damage to the tug boat. However, in the end, Fat Tug’s Surprise-Kraken that was pulling the strings all along, finished them off with one bite.