9/29/19: Fat Head's Brewery's G'Suffa!

11:05 AM

This is it, ladies, gentleman, and all you fine non-binary folks who frequent these parts: The end of my Oktober fest season. While it's been an absolute joy (I've found a few new autumnal mainstays for my fridge), I can't say I'm too terribly sorry to see it go--Spooky Finger Puppet Ghost Month starts up in just a few days.

But (!) that's not to say it's all over yet. See, this month I've been saving what I presume will be one of the best for last. Fat Head's has a track record for me that's pretty unbelievable: Of the three beers of theirs I've sampled for the blog, two received perfect scores ("perfect" on the blog, if you don't know [which you might not because I don't think I've ever explicitly stated it?] means it gets my absolute highest recommendation, and that it's an amazing brew. "Perfect" doesn't actually exist) while the third got a 9.0/10. So, you might see why I'm excited to break into my bottle of G'Suffa! Let's not waste too much more time.

Before we get to the beer itself, however, I'd like to talk a little about Fat Head's themselves (with information pulled from the "History" portion of their website). Started in 1992, Fat Head's originally gained notoriety as a Pittsburgh craft beer saloon. It wasn't until 2009 that the outfit began crafting their own beer in North Olmsted, OH. Shortly after, in 2012, they opened a production brewery in Middleburg Heights. Since then, they've opened a few restaurants (including a Canton brewpub) and have generally expanded their operation.

Now, turning to the beer, G'Suffa! (as listed on its official page) is a seasonal lager that clocks in at 5.7% ABV. Brewed with three varieties of hops and three kinds of malts, the Festbier features a subtle sweetness mingling with crackery notes in its flavor and aromas of hop and toasted grains.

The lager's nose is giving me a lot of honeyed biscuits. A return visit provides some cracker and a touch of hoppy bitterness. I'm also finding a light smokiness that I can't attribute to anything, but it doesn't detract from the experience here. On the whole, however, that honeyed biscuit is the main course of the bouquet. Purrl must not like it too much because she only gave my bottle five quick whiffs.

My first swig is surprising: That sweetness on the nose? Yeah, it's only here in the finish. Instead of the sweetness taking the lead, I get that crackery crispness that was promised. There's some toasted malt quality here but, instead of lending the lager coffee or chocolate notes, it gives the whole thing a bitiness. When coupled with the hops (again, only adding mild bitterness and nothing more) this makes the long sweet finish worth it.

G'Suffa! has a super smooth lager mouthfeel. It's actually a nice pairing for the bitey flavor. It's easily equatable to a certain root beer that, famously, has bite (only the level of carbonation here is very noticeably less pronounced than in the soda).

I've written previously about the Ridges, the old asylum in Athens, OH that Ohio University acquired and repurposed into academic buildings, and the myriad trails there. I don't think I've discussed Radar Hill, though, or, more specifically, the fields surrounding it.

Radar Hill is a big hill overlooking the (university-owned) agricultural fields located at the back half of the property encapsulating the Ridges. During late-falls and early-springs (as well as winters, whenever I could convince myself to run) of my undergrad at OU, when the crops hay wasn't covering the fields, I'd run their perimeters. This was a great way to get a feel for what the land was like there, and to see places of the university that most students didn't. The fields were bordered by woodland and, here and there, copses dotted the field, providing secluded areas where seeds couldn't be sown. Why am I thinking of these fields while swigging this bottle of G'Suffa!? Your guess is good as mine.

I'm happy to say that G'Suffa! lives up to the expectations I have from Fat Head's. That sweet nose and bitey flavor got me. I'm giving my bottle a 9.5/10. You really need to track this down before it disappears for the year! Prost! 

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