A beer break from sports

“Good people drink good beer.”

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” — Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

The above quote is from the late great much lamented Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.  The first quote is the motto of Flying Dog Brewery, the brewer of the Gonzo Imperial Porter (which is what I will be reviewing).

Before the review, a little history.  I discovered Hunter Thompson either my senior year in high school or early in my freshman year at UNC.  Unlike others, I did not find him through Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It was the time of the 1992 Presidential election and I was in my political phase.  I stumbled into the Doctor’s work through Gonzo Papers Vol. 1:  Tales of Shame and Degradation in the 80’s and Fear and Loathing :  On The Campaign Trail ’72.  His funny, rebellious, profane works appealed to my youth.  I would devour the rest of his work over the next year finding a brilliant, fearless writer driving insane by his complete devotion to his art form and to the persona he created.    As I’ve gotten older his uncompromising Gonzo attitude is something I continue to admire.

It was with much happiness that I was finally able to get a bottle of Flying Dog’s Gonzo Imperial Porter (Flying Dog’s labels are designed by Thompson sidekick and friend Ralph Steadman and Flying Dog was started by a neighbor and friend of Thompson’s George Stranahan).  Luckily it is a great beer.  On my scale of porters it is not up there with the Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Porter (my favorite beer of all time), but it is a great beer.

Porters and stouts lend themselves well to the extra hops of imperial style beers.  If done well, they have a wonderful balance of malt, hops, and alcohol.  This is a well done beer.

It pours with a nice brown head.  It has a deep brown color a few garnet highlights.  It looks great in a glass.

It has a nice hoppy aroma.  Luckily the hops do not overwhelm the coffee malt taste with a hint of vanilla.

Most importantly it drinks really easily thanks to the hops not overwhelming the taste and the lightness of the carbonation.  You will immediately want another once you finish the first.

Like most dark beers, this should go well with Mexican food (and Cajun).  It’s roastiness should also make a good choice for a barbecue beer (I’m a vegetarian so take that with a grain of salt).  It also works with chocolate desserts.  Trust me.  I’ve tried it.

If you find this beer, buy some and drink it.  You’ll thank me in the morning.

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