The following post is currently being used in the April issue of Alternative Revolt Magazine, in my regular ‘Hopping Mad‘ column (get the entire magazine free HERE). I wanted to share the article here, in this format for those of you who frequent The Thirsty Muse.
“There is an ancient Celtic axiom that says ‘Good people drink good beer.’ Which is true, then as now. Just look around you in any public barroom, and you will quickly see: Bad people drink bad beer. Think about it.” – Hunter S. Thompson
I walked into a liquor store looking for a beer that really stood out from the rest. The name and the label art really plays a part when I choose something new to try. After all, if I am spending money on something to write about and make pictures of, it better be interesting. In the spirit of the magazine, I wanted to find something that appeared to “revolt” the standard other beers follow. Flying Dog Brewery’s, Raging Bitch, jumped out at at me for all of these reasons and then I read the carton. The simple phrase, “Good people drink good beer” printed on that carton drew me in like a moth to a flame. I had to have this beer.
In 1983, Flying Dog founder George Stranahan, after climbing the 28,251 ft. Himalayan mountain K2 (one of the most difficult, & second highest mountain faces on the planet) noticed a painting of an English Bird Dog in his hotel bar, in Pakistan. Did you get that?! The K2 has the second highest mortality rate due to it’s ascent. Yeah, George Stranahan and his friends had balls. Never mind the painting, he climbed an ‘effin mountain! Anyway, he took a liking to the dog with wings in the painting and when Stranahan opened his brewpub in Aspen, Colorado in 1990 and named his beer after that dog, and hence, Flying Dog Brewery.
By 2000, the brewpub closed and then, in 2007, Flying Dog Brewery moved to a state-of-the-art facility in Frederick, Maryland. The part I love about the story of Flying Dog is that the founder, George Stranahan appears to be a revolutionary. He is a rebel, an educated man, and amateur photographer. Who else would have founded such an awesome beer company, right?! There is so much to the Flying Dog story that I couldn’t possibly fit it within this article, nor do I really know everything the “Godfathers” (George Stranahan, Hunter S. Thompson, and Ralph Steadman) of Flying Dog did in their early days of making the brand what it is today. I could only wish.
What I can say is that Raging Bitch is everything a Belgian-Style India Pale Ale should be and more. It is good in a glass and great in a bottle. I know, I know, I have said before that craft brew (any great beer) deserves the proper glass. However, I must admit, I heard that Flying Dog beer is meant to be enjoyed from the bottle. Therefore, I had to bend the rules a little and give it a try. And to be blunt, yes, it is best from the bottle, but I also enjoy it from a tulip glass.
The overall taste is hoppy, yet very well balanced. I find the Raging Bitch to be very flavorful, with a bite, yet easy to drink. It’s got an edge. Therefore, don’t think of a whiney, raging bitch kind of a thing. You know, the watered down, complaining, cliche type of raging bitch many of us associate with bands like Nickelback; but a real Raging Bitch. The kind that commands respect! After all, the balance of this beer is not to sweeten the bitterness of the hops, but a way to make the citrusy, grape-fruitiness, and 8.3% alcohol content work together in a hoppy, yet easy drinking way. I believe they nailed it.
I think it is clear if you are looking for a beer with a balanced hoppy bitterness, and above average alcohol content, then Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch is your beer. I trust anyone who likes IPA style beer would find this beer worthy. Furthermore, I believe the overall character of the beer sets it apart from so many others in the IPA style. And from what I have learned while researching the beer and Flying Dog Brewery is that they are a pretty cool company that I would gladly spend my money on to get a great buzz!