It’s been a very productive Saturday thus far. Picked up my little brother, set up the tree, watched Predators, vacuumed, did some laundry, washed the car, vacuumed the car, and bought my little’s Christmas presents. And it’s only 3:00pm! Whfeeew! Tonight we’re headed over to Sean and Kerry’s for a party. Still trying to decide what beer to take. If I had access to Laughing Dog like Silvio does, I might consider bringing that! Silvio…
I’m coming down with a cold as I type this. Never fun, especially on a weekend filled with so many big events, like the final regular-season week of fantasy football before playoffs and the season finale of The Walking Dead…but I digress. To me having a cold is the payoff for finally getting to enjoy some winter weather. It also means I need to drink seriously strong beers to make sure the taste isn’t lost on my medicine head. Fortunately, two beers from Laughing Dog Brewery did the trick.
I have to admit that label art often draws me to a beer while at the liquor store, and the DogZilla Black IPA has one of the most bad-ass labels I’ve ever seen. I took the plunge and picked up a 22-ounce, and I’m glad I did.
Color-wise, it reminded me of a root beer. It’s quite dark, but some red undertones are apparent when held up to light. I got a tall creamy foam crown, and a heavy malt aroma without any real hoppy smell. The pour was definitely unique, but the taste is where this beer gets really interesting.
DogZilla starts out with a thick hoppy bitterness on the front, but quickly changes to almost a Guinness flavor on the aftertaste. It’s thick and smoky, reminiscent of a roasted coffee, and the bitterness coated my mouth and hung around for a while on the final note. I saw a noticeable amount of yeast sediment in the glass though – something I’m not crazy about. The ABV is decent at 6.9%. This brew is definitely worth tasting, but I couldn’t drink more than one or two.
Next up is Laughing Dog’s Devil Dog Imperial IPA. It’s got a beautiful pour, with a cloudy orange and amber color and thick foam head. Compared to the DogZilla, this has much more of a traditional hops smell. Taste wise; let me tell you that if you need a beer to clear out your sinuses when stuffed up, then this is the one to grab.
There are tons of strong competing flavors here. On the front I got a lot of malty sweetness, to the point where it reminded me of caramel. The sweetness is unique – while it’s dull and indistinct, it doesn’t come across as artificial. While the sweetness is great to start, it doesn’t linger long.
Once past the initial taste, a very heavy (but enjoyable) citrus hoppiness takes over through the middle and transitions to a pretty bitter aftertaste. I also got a bit of an alcohol burn after the swallow (10% ABV, ftw!), but it’s not a detriment to the brew.
In fact, the bitterness and alcohol sets up a crazy juxtaposition of flavors, because the final taste is bitter, but your next sip will be super sweet. I felt like I was jumping back and forth between two beers within one glass. This is probably one of the most complex beers I’ve ever had, and I’d definitely drink more than one in a sitting.
Overall, these are very unique and tasty beers. I’d definitely recommend both to anyone if you can find them at your liquor store.