Fat Head’s Brewery in Portland Severing Ties With Ohio, Becoming New Independent Brewery
By next year, Fat Head's in the Pearl will become a new brewery called Von Ebert.

By Matthew Korfhage WW
Portland will no longer have a Fat Head's brewery.

Fat Head's in Ohio announced late last night that they would close their mammoth Portland brewpub in the Pearl, effective the first quarter of 2018. The announcement was first noted locally by beer blogger Jeff Alworth on Twitter.

"Despite best efforts from both sides," wrote Ohio Fat Head's Glenn Benigni, "We were unable to agree upon a vision for the future. As a result, we've mutually decided to close the Fat head's Brewery location in 2018, pouring our last beer in 2018."

However, that release from Fat Head's tells less than half the story.

Fat Head's was never quite a chain operation in Portland, but rather a local spin-off owned by Portlander Tom Cook.

The Pearl District brewpub will not close. Rather it's severing ties with Fat Head's in Ohio and embarking on a new life as a wholly independent brewery called Von Ebert. Cook says he's inviting every single employee to stay on in Portland, including head brewer Eric van Tassel and former Commons brewer Sean Burke.

WW had been a fan of Fat Head's beer in Portland almost from the start, especially the beers that diverged from the Ohio originals with ingredients like barrels used for Oregon-made walnut liquor. Former brewer Mike Hunsaker's Semper FiPA, judged the best IPA in Portland in a blind tasting, was also a wholly Portland creation.

The quality of local beer will stay. But when it transitions to Von Ebert, the massive Pearl brewery will be able to shed the incongruous-in-Portland Fat Head’s decor that we described in our pages as being “like an outlet-mall version of T.G.I. Friday’s. Every surface of this crowded pretzel-and-burger barn is branded with a cartoon of what appears to be a morbidly obese Charlie Chaplin.”

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