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Day #187 – Flying Dog Raging Bitch

July 7, 2011

Lots to talk about today. First off my heart goes out to the family of the fan that died at the Rangers game today. It was a horrible tragedy that the fan fell out of the stands. He was there with his young son and that just tears me up. I teach that age group of students and I really, truly feel for them.

On a more lighter note, I officially passed the 10,000 blog hits today and I couldn’t be more pleased! Thanks folks for continuing to read!!

Today’s beer comes with a cloud of controversy and you’ll soon see why. Before I get to that however I thought I would talk briefly about the issue of labeling and government regulation within the beer industry altogether first. The beer guys have it rough; there’s just no other way to say it. There are loads of double standards that exist, especially in Texas laws regarding the treatment of beer vs. other types of alcohol. For example, out of state brewpubs that bottle and distribute their beer can freely do so within the borders of Texas, but as the law stands now, a brewpub that resides in Texas may not do so. Any citizen may visit one of the several wineries in Texas and can purchase a bottle or several to take back home with you right from the winery. You may not do that at any Texas brewery. During the past legislative session, several bills were introduced that would seek to “level the playing field” so to speak. A few of the bills gathered some momentum and garnered support but ultimately were squashed by big beer. I’m not going to get into that big issue right now but it just goes to show that the craft beer guys have it rough. There are so many other issues that it seems like they deal with more than other types of business; such as financing, zoning regulations, facilities and TABC regulation. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is in charge of regulating and controlling the production and sales of alcohol in Texas. One thing they are also in charge of is label approval. Any time a brewery wants to sell their beer within the borders of Texas, they must first get label approval for whichever beer they are trying to sell. This is the case on a national level as well but I am using Texas as an example here. If the TABC does not approve of anything on the label, and this can be anything from the name, artwork, description to the label of the style, they can not approve the label and that’s that. Recently there has been a lot of discussion within the beer community regarding beer labels/names/and artwork. There are several beers that exist that have, shall we say, risque names or labels. Sometimes this is for marketing reasons, sometimes its just plain ole fun. I can relate to this; as a homebrewer part of the fun of making a beer is coming up with a witty name! I’ve created such beers as “Chinooked on Phonics”, “Star Trek III: The Search For Bock”, and my personal favorite “Sarah Pale-alin”.

Sarah helping me brew

I’ve come up with some less-than family friendly and not always politically correct names also but since it’s my beer and I get to drink it, who cares? Generally speaking the craft beer community and brewers are all very supportive of each other and are pretty laid back. Well recently several approved labels have come under contention and it is really creating a hot button topic within the circles of craft beer enthusiasts. The beer I am featuring today was the subject of a lawsuit in Maryland and resulting from this as well as a subsequent hop shortage, the beer was briefly removed from distribution. The situation is starting to resolve itself but it seems to be turning into a much larger issue than originally it was. Anyways here is a link to the original story when it broke. LINK. I was quick enough to snatch one of these bottles up before they were pulled off the shelves so that I may feature it today on the blog. It may be slightly offensive and if you are so offended I apologize; I will try to stick to the facts and the beer and let you form your own opinions about it.

Flying Dog Raging Bitch

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Flying Dog is based out of Frederick, Maryland. The Raging Bitch was created in celebration of the brewery’s 20th anniversary. It was so well received that they put it into regular production. It is classified as an India Pale Ale at 8.3%. This one may be a little different as they are calling it a Belgian IPA. We can probably expect a little more fruity esters in this case.

This beer pours a very pretty amber orange and is very clear. It forms a large foamy white head atop the beer that sits for quite awhile. Very nice appearance.

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The aroma is pretty intense. Lots of hops for sure, pine needles, tree sap, foresty notes can be detected as well as a fair amount of berry fruit. Certainly smells nice.

The flavor is also quite intense! Lots of hops immediately greet the tongue and provide a dry, sticky flavor of bitter pine. Some sweet fruit flavors do come in to round out the taste and give it almost a powdered sugar flavor. Finishes slightly sweet with the hoppy bitterness returning. Large tingle over the palate. This is a well made beer and I hope the legal battles end quickly. My cat likes it; so will you.

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Cheers!

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