Sunday, September 6, 2015

Flying dog - Gonzo Imperial Porter

A perennial favorite of mine, Gonzo Imperial Porter.  To give you a little background... Flying dog brewery is out of Frederick MD and is pretty well known for it's interesting labels.  These interesting labels come from a man known as Ralph Stedman.  Mr. Stedman was made famous as Hunter S. Thompson's personal illustrator ever since being assigned to Hunter on his article on the Kentucky Derby.  Hunter and Ralph worked closely together for about 35 years.  As fans of Hunter's work Flying Dog decided to dedicate a brew to him and I cannot find a beer more fitting.  Gonzo journalism is what Hunter is well know for, it's described as "a style of Journalism that is written without claims of objectivity, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first-person narrative*" this style was defined by Hunter and his well, for lack of a better word, unique take on the world.  This beer is Gonzo distilled, or well, at least brewed.  

Gonzo Imperial Porter is a liquid kick in the head.  It's brash, bold, and unapologetic.  I've once described it as tasting like chocolate and hate, and even after sobering up I cannot think of a better way to put it.  This beer does not coddle you, it doesn't hold you hand, it doesn't want you to like it, it just is what it is.  To be frank that is all I want from this beer.  The people at Flying Dog knew that many people wouldn't like this beer for what is is, brutally hoppy, chocolately, hints of coffee, and a harsh alcoholic bite, but the people that do like it will sing it's praises from on high.  I am one of those people.  When I buy this beer I think very critically about who I am drinking with as they tend to ask if they can have a taste of what I'm drinking.  Usually I feel pretty good about saying yeah, have a taste, see what you think, but with the Gonzo... Well I'll warn them beforehand if I don't think it's their style.  For good reason too.  With my latest sixer I gave a taste to someone with the aforementioned description of chocolate and hate, her response was "well, I taste the hate."

Gonzo will never appeal to the mainstream, either the beer or style of journalism, and I can't imagine a world where they did.  It's the weird kid in a trench coat who you think is planning on bringing a gun to school, it's that guy who is in his 40's that still loves LSD, and it's that guy that installs security cameras to cover every inch of their house.  Gonzo is edgy, unsettling, dangerous, paranoid, and charming in it's own way, and if you don't like it you can go fuck yourself, because it isn't trying to win you over.  If you spend some time with it you will realize it's good qualities, you will see that it's a great friend that your significant other doesn't like you hanging out with because they are a bad influence, but it wants to just go out and have a great time with you, and it's not going to change to make your SO happy.

So, buy yourself a sixer, and hold on because this beer is about to make you sing The Song of the Sausage Creature.  If you survive, you might just thank it for taking you on such a wild ride.