Ada is a small town, but it’s people tend to grow up with big dreams. Matt Cole attended the University of Pittsburg where he pursued a degree in criminal justice. Cole was only looking to help pay for college when he took a part-time job at the Pennsylvania Brewing Co. It quickly became clear to Cole that he wanted to learn more about brewing. After graduating from Pittsburg, Cole set his sights on gaining as much brewing knowledge as possible. He attended the highly respected Siebel Institue of Technology in Chicago to develop his brewing skills even farther. Cole spent 15 years brewing at Cleveland’s Rocky River Brewing Co, where he fell in love with hop forward beer. A hop is actually the flower part of the plant used in brewing beer. Depending on when they are added, it gives the beer a bitterness or an aroma based on the brewer’s goal. Additionally, hops act as a preservative that extend the life of the beer. In 2008, Cole felt like it was time that he branched out on his own. He was ready to begin developing his own beer, but at that time funding was hard to find. So Cole decided to reach out to Glenn Benigni, the owner of a beer bar called Fat Head’s. Cole often spent his free time at Fat Heads during college, and it was his hope that Benigni would be interested in investing in a brewery. To Cole’s surprise, Benigni said yes. He was aware of Cole’s brewing success and already a big fan of his beer. In 2009, Cole opened a new brewery and taproom in North Olmstead, Ohio under the Fat Head name. The rest is history.

The company has continued to grow at a rate that has shocked Cole. After only being open for four months, Cole entered Fat Head Brewery into the West Coast IPA Festival and won. After winning again in 2010 and 2011, Cole and his team were forced to step back and realize that their beer was strong enough to compete with the best in the world. Since then, Fat Head Brewery has received medals from competitions such as The Great American Beer Festival, The World Beer Cup and many more. In total, they have earned 25 medals.

The award winning brewmaster hasn’t peeked just yet. In 2017, Cole will expand the Middleburg Heights Fat Head Brewery to a larger facility which will double the company’s brewing capacity. With this expansion will come the ability to brew 60,000 barrels a year as well as offer customers a state of the art tap house/restaurant. The new facility will be located on 80 acres, and it will be a unique experience that allows customers a glimpse into the brewing process, with areas such as the fermentation, the lab and the barrel aging areas all visible. In December, Cole made a trip to Germany to brew with a family owned brewery that has been around for more than 140 years. Cole reached out to Ossi and Roland Kundmuller, the brothers who run the brewery in a tiny village outside of Bamberg, which is about 50 miles west of the Czech Republic. Experiences like this are times that Cole holds close to his heart, as he values the people and priceless brewing lessons he has learned as he follows his dream. Cole says he loves to create and that the science behind each beer intrigues him. He is proud to watch his beers develop “an idea… a name…a beer… a brand people look for” says Cole. Fat Head Beer can be purchased at major grocery stores such as Meyers or Krogers, but more importantly it is available locally at Ada’s 302 Carryout.