Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Flying Dog Road Dog Porter

A Hunter S. Thompson themed beer has an awful lot to live up to. Road Dog Porter is more than up to the task. Road Dog was the first Flying Dog beer to be illustrated by Ralph Steadman, and Thompson himself was a fan and a friend of this fine beverage. Thompson even wrote an essay in honor of Road Dog's release, in which he cited an old Celtic proverb "Good people drink good beer". It took years of court battles before Flying Dog could finally sell Road Dog with the "Good beer, No Shit" slogan on the bottle – all the more reason to appreciate the uniqueness of the packaging! But what about the taste? After all that buildup, it had better be good beer. It is.

Flying Dog describes Road Dog as a Scottish porter. I never heard of a Scottish porter before! It's supposed to be malty, and that's exactly what it is. The stuff is full of malts - four different kinds, in fact. As such it comes off a little sweeter than your typically roasty porter (perhaps that's where the "Scottish" part comes in). But who wants "typical"? If every porter out there tasted exactly the same, what fun would that be? As porters go, this is far from bold, but tasty as hell. It's light, smooth, and very nicely balanced. Chocolate and licorice go together deliciously, while more subtle toasted malts (caramel, toffee) linger pleasantly on the back burner along with a finishing touch of earthy hops. More akin to a smooth session porter like Bell's than it is to the "gourmet" offerings of, say, Founders or Stone, Road Dog is a great porter choice for the average beer drinker and craft brew lovers alike. No shit!

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