Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Flying Dog Brewery Snake Dog IPA - A Microbrew Review

I haven't seen alot of microbrews from Flying Dog Brewery around these parts here in Western Pennsylvania until just recently. In fact, my favorite craft beer bottle shop has started stocking three or four offerings lately from Flying Dog Brewery and I was excited to give Flying Dog's Snake Dog India Pale Ale a try, so I grabbed a bottle this evening.

Flying Dog Brewery started out in 1994 as a small Denver, Colorado based microbrewery that's since relocated all of it's beer brewing production to their Frederick, Maryland brewery (where they'd been brewing a good portion of their beer since purchasing the second brewery in 2006).

The Flying Dog Brewery bottle labels are famous for featuring the eclectic artwork of Ralph Steadman of Hunter S. Thompson Gonzo fame. This bottle of Snake Dog IPA literally jumped off the shelf at me with its eye catching labeling. I couldn't pass it up.

Cracking open the bottle and pouring the 12 ounces of chilled libation into my glass, the head of this beer was fantastically aggressive, billowing up into an overwhelming 2 finger eggshell white, fluffy head that stuck a good several minutes before begrudgingly dissipating to a more managable drinking level. Color was nice, shimmery and coppery with lazy bubbles of carbonation sauntering upwards to the surface.

The aroma wasn't quite as aggressive though. A little bitter and astringent with piney scents taking the front scene of the beer's smell. There's definitely hops in there and I'm going to get them!

First couple of sips boasted a deliciously crisp brew. As with most IPA's, this beer was bitter but not to a fault. It was nicely balanced with just enough malty sweetness at the swallow but that familiar bitter hops presence stayed with the aftertaste for a while. Flying Dog Brewery has produced a balanced beer with a good mouthful of flavor. I detected a mild hint of smokiness in the beer that nicely complimented it's royal hoppy bite. Snake Dog IPA has a distinctive liveliness to it, it's very zesty for lack of a better word. Not a lot of that often grapefruity flavor however, which I found to be a good thing.

The alcohol makes its presence known and becomes progressively noticeable in a burning sensation as the beer warmed in my glass. Checking the bottle label, I notice that this craft beer clocks in at a hefty 7.1 percent alcohol by volume which is approaching an imperial IPA level. It's not overbearing to the beer flavor however, but the ABV is something to bear in mind if you're sampling Snake Dog IPA and plan to partake in more than a couple servings. This microbrew will bite you if you're not careful!

All things being equal, I must say that I love Flying Dog Brewery Snake Dog IPA. Everything in this beer I thought went well altogether. The cool looking label artwork, the quirky story and themes behind the brewery itself and of course the well put together beer inside the cool bottle. While nothing stood out as incredibly shocking or groundbreaking with this beer's flavor, no characteristic took anything away from it's excellent India Pale Ale attributes.

Flying Dog Brewery Snake Dog IPA has definitely bit me and I'll be getting off the porch and running with the big dogs right back to the bottle shop for a few more of these before the day ends tomorrow. I'd recommend Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA to any microbrew lover especially if you favor the more hoppy Pale Ales and India Pale Ale style beers. Get some today!!

If you even remotely enjoyed reading this microbrew beer review and if you love craft beers in particular, you'll find more craft beer reviews of both new and old microbrews and also fun microbrew and craft beer-related info at my===>
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Cheers, and please drink responsibly!

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