Flying Dog Brewery, LLC
9% or 9.5% ABV (different numbers on the website)
I'm a huge fan of Hunter S. Thompson. I dressed up as Raoul Duke for Halloween once; the Dugg served up a fine rendition of Dr. Gonzo, complete with the suitcase of drugs. I was hungover for 2 days afterward. Anyway, Flying Dog Brewery seems to base its marketing on all that is HST, right down to the packaging graphics by Ralph Steadman. So when I saw their Gonzo Imperial Porter on the liquor store shelf, I picked it up, natch.
Turns out this beer is not only an ode to HST, proceeds from the sales go toward erecting the Gonzo Memorial Fist. In true HST form, the PSA on the package reads, “Since they don’t serve our beer in prison, please drink responsibly.” More importantly, artwork on the packaging features a cartoon of HST declaring, “Ok! Let’s Party!” Indeed, let's.
I happen to be listening to Tom Waits, The Heart of Saturday Night while doing this review. I suppose it would be more appropriate to listen to Bob Dylan, but since I like Tom Waits better, I'm listening to Tom Waits.
The beer pours a beautiful dark, dark brown. I can smell the sweet, roasted malts as the beer fills the glass. At the end, I'm rewarded with a super smooth, milky brown head. Starting with my first sip, the bone-crushing amounts of malt in this beer slammed into the roof of my mouth and then evaporated right off my tongue. I was then left with enormous hop flavor in the aftertaste. Somehow, this beer is perfectly balanced for how much raw material went into it. Folks, this is a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall masterpiece of brewing. Huge. This beer has grabbed me by the face, but even so, I detected absolutely no off flavors.
Halfway through the glass… oh, I'm a very, very happy woman. The head has almost, but not completely faded. With each sip, this quaff gets even better. The malt and hops continue to catch my attention, even though by this point, I’m clicking my way through an online game of Euchre.
Okay, nearing the end of the glass and definitely feeling the 9.whatever%. Still smooth. The malt flavors linger on my palette now. Still some hanger-on bubbles in the glass. I'm not going to suggest a food-pairing or any other extraneous nonsense with this beer. If you simply must have something else in your other hand, I suppose a Mint Julep would work. Or maybe a grapefruit.
My rating: don't be stupid. Buy this beer.