Fat Head’s Brewery co-owner and brewer Matt Cole is headed to England — again.
Cole, who has made previous trips to the United Kingdom to brew collaboration beers, has been invited back by JD Wetherspoon to make a special beer that will be available at the company’s 900 pubs around the country.
He’s excited about getting so much beer exposure there. In two previous visits, Cole brewed at Batemans and Shepherd Neame.
He said he’s not sure what he’ll brew this time, but the beer will be made at the Wadworth Brewery in Devizes.
The only bad news — at least for Fat Head’s fans — is that the trip coincides with the five-year anniversary celebration for Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon in North Olmsted. The brewery turns 5 on April 7.
Cole, though, doesn’t feel bad. There will be other anniversaries, he said.
Fat Head’s is planning a weeklong celebration, which will include extended happy hours and tapping a different firkin every day.
Fat Head’s general manager Ted Lipovan said time has flown by.
“If you ever want to speed up time, just open a brewpub,” he said with a laugh recently.
Fat Head’s, which started with a non-brewing location in Pittsburgh, has been a major player in the Ohio craft beer scene since opening in April 2009. Thanks to the talented Cole, the brewery has won eight medals, including two golds, at the Great American Beer Festival — more than any other Ohio brewer over the same time period.
Its Head Hunter IPA also has won the West Coast IPA Festival.
If that weren’t enough, Fat Head’s opened a production brewery in Middleburg Heights in 2012 to expand its distribution, then opened a tasting room there last year and plans to open a brewpub in Portland, Ore., this year.
“We couldn’t have anticipated this much growth,” Lipovan said.
In other Fat Head’s news, Cole said he’s considering canning Trail Head Pale Ale this year with the help of Buckeye Canning, a mobile canning operation that has worked with Buckeye, Rocky River, Maumee Bay, Elevator and others. Fat Head's made the beer special last year to raise money for trails at the Cleveland Metroparks.
Cole has never been a big fan of cans, but he said the beer held up well in some test runs. The Metroparks may make Trail Head available at its golf courses, he said.