Let me start this post by saying that Fred Colby the owner of Laughing Dog Brewery is one of the nicest, warmest, most genuine people you will ever meet. I am fortunate to know him, and even more fortunate to be able to call him a friend. Also, what you need to know about Fred is he makes GREAT (Yes all CAPS) beer. We are truly fortunate to have him in our little corner of the world here in Idaho making great beers that we all get to taste. Fred also loves his dog Ben, the inspiration for the name of the brewery and many of the beer names and labels.
But this particular beer I had Sunday was an amazing expression of the brewers craft. It literally sent shivers down my spine when I first tasted it, it was that good! So why does a beer this good have such a ridiculous label? This Rye IPA is quite possibly the best one available, let alone the best I’ve ever tried. So what an IronMan Dog like thing has to do with great beer is inexplicable to me. I hesitated to put this label on my silly little blog, can you imagine what it might be doing to overall sales of the beer! Like it or not, people judge the beer based on the label. I’m certain there are people in the world that have passed on these beers over and over again because they can’t get past the label. I know we’ve had this conversation before with Zac Davis from Shmaltz Brewing and it is a bit of a catch 22 that beer guys find themselves in with labels. But c’mon, Rocket Dog? Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox here and get onto a review of this fantastic beer…
And just so you believe me that this is an actual label I have included a picture of the bottle I had on Sunday. This beer is simply amazing. Floral comes to mind immediately upon nosing this beer. It pours with a golden hue with a white white head that leaves a ton of lacing long after the head has subsided.
The nose is very floral with honeysuckle and roses, it also has a good dose of citrus and lemon, but it is the flavor where this brew shines! It is light and floral and citrusy and beautiful. This is a 6.9% ABV brew so it isn’t quite sessionable but it doesn’t knock you over either. I had this beer and an hour after I drank it I drove to pick up my son from Basketball practice without ill effect.
The really interesting thing here is how craftily this brew incorporates the rye grains. Rye can be very heavy and impart a very dominant flavor that can overpower the palate. This can be very good like HeBrew’s Lenny’s RIPA, but it also creates a heavy kind of end of the day type beer that you don’t want to have mid-day. This beer is nothing like that; it is light, and the rye grains have been so skillfully used that it imparts a sweet touch of flavor without being heavy handed.
This is an excellent beer that just needs a better label! Regardless, don’t let the label keep you from trying and enjoying this beer. I would put it up against any of the beers with the big hype and take it over them every time (you know who you are, Pliny). If you see it, buy it and drink it. It is a captivating brew that will not disappoint.