Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rain Dogs

New Jersey has really been on a tear the past twelve months or so bringing new craft breweries into the state for distribution. As mentioned here a month or so ago, one of the new breweries to descend upon the Garden State is the Laughing Dog Brewing Company from Ponderay, Idaho. I picked up their Alpha Dog Imperial IPA on a recent beer run and gave it a whirl the other night:

It pours into my favorite Dogfish pint glass (Hey, what can I say, glassware from Idaho is a bit hard to come by here in NJ...glassware from much closer Delaware, however, is not!) with a very nice looking glowing orange color and a big soapy, semi-creamy head that leaves a nice amount of residue on the glass.

Aroma is a nice balance of pine, biscuit/bread, some fruit and caramel. It's actually very nice, just perhaps a touch faint for the style. I was expecting something bigger and bolder, but at the same to have no real complaints about the relative tameness here.

The flavour expands upon the aroma in the sense that it has some of the boldness I anticipated there, but it still maintains a very nice balance. There's some wood in the mix here as well and maybe even a hint of smoke at the finish of each sip, which is where the hops really kick in after a few seconds. Caramel cuts through nicely to blend with any sweetness from the citrus notes. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with some slickness and chewiness as expected, and just the right amount of carbonation.

I tend to be hesitant of a lot of IIPA's just on the sheer non-balanced factor alone, but I liked this one and it really hits the mark as possibly the most drinkable IIPA I've ever tried. It's by no means a huge hop bomb but is certainly bigger than your run of the mill, standard IPA. Idaho should be proud.

Alpha Dog, Idaho, beer, Imperial IPA, Laughing Dog, New Jersey, Hopback