Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Beer Review no. 2: Snake Dog IPA, Flying Dog (Maryland)

'...suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming, 'Holy Jesus! What are these goddamn animals?' It's almost certain that beer did not inspire Hunter. S. Thompson's famous first page in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but nevertheless the man liked a good drink... really, really liked it.  Pretty natural then to quote him on your bottle - 'Good people drink good beer' HST - and then hire his long-time friend to do your label designs.  Its a killer combination and one that I couldn't resist.  So here we go with American beer number two, brewed in Maryland this time but originating in Dr Gonzo's hometown of Aspen, Colorado in the Flying Dog pub, where the owners made friends with Dr. Thompson, hence the branding.  This time I'v gone for an IPA, one of my favourite styles and one popularised in the states by artisan brewers extrodinairre Sierra Nevada.  Let's see how Flying Dog's rendition works out.  Oh and 'no point in mentioning these bats... Poor bastard will see them soon enough'.

This is another big boys or girls beer, totaling in at 7.1% alcohol.  High alcohol beer isn't always my favorite thing but here it forces you to sit and linger over what is a top craft beer.  It's fizzy for IPA, which helps to freshen it up.  As the guys at Flying Dog say Snake Dog is big on hops, with a serious floral nose and pronounced citrus notes.  It's got a strong bitterness that's not overpowering and it's balanced by the medium malt character which gives nice sweetness and rounded finish with slight banana and vanilla notes.

The lingering bitterness that means this is a definite sipping beer strong.  I was fooled about this initially because the hoppiness makes it seem light, then you realise how brutal this beer is.  The high alcohol content, background sweetness and a heavy bitter notes make sure you know about it.  But because it sneaks up on you it's not initially overpowering and instead allows you to get into the beer gradually.  All in all a top quality brew.

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