My brother never drinks. I mean to say that he'll sip on Riesling or a beer at Christmas or Thanksgiving and that's about it. That's him. If that proclivity ran in the family, I wouldn't partially own this blog. I'll leave it at that. So, to hear him say that the Flying Dog Double Dog Double Pale Ale that I gave him to go with the pizza we picked up, from the delicious Great Lake Pizza here in Chicago, was "one of the best beers I've ever tried", gave me pause. It's hardly a brew for everybody, and to be lauded by an occasional drinker speaks to the beer's substantial quality.
I first tried this hybrid of a pale ale and an American strong ale at the Hop Cat in Grand Rapids, MI on Founders KBS release weekend. I recall (hazily) that this dude we had met earlier in line at the brewery had ordered it, and, upon sampling it, I was tempted enough to order one. I liked it enough to buy a four spot upon returning to Chicago, one of which is crushing my palate right now.
Double Dog is a powerhouse of a beer. It pours a strong, thick white head suggesting substantial carbonation. My bro poured his in stages and got a thick cumulus top on his glass. The color is a rich amber with some red. It socks the nose with a strong hop odor. The flavor is extremely bitter. Hop oils cascade down the tongue and paralyze all other potential flavors. The flavor entrenches itself in the mid-palate and the back of the palate gets a smooth spillover of hop juice. The hard bite whets the desire for the next sip. It leaves a modest amount of lacing.
This is not a plaything. It's a monster of a hop beast, but a delicious one. I'm finally on board with Flying Dog after finding their standard Pale Ale to be pleasant but forgettable. My palate might not recover from this bitchslapping. Here's to Maryland for making its presence felt on the beer map!
PROS: This beer has great flavor and, as my bro pointed out, will stand up to a spicy oregano sauce on a pizza. It gives me a new go to option on the east coast. Thanks, Flying Dog.
CONS: I won't be able to taste my dinner two days from now. If some chick cooks for me within a couple of days of trying this, I'll have to be vague on flavors I'm discerning, else my response to her inquiry about her lasagna will be "I love the Cascade hops, baby."
VERDICT: Order one, you hop masochist. You've been bad. You know you like it.
* * * * stars. Outstanding brew. Impacting.