Beer O' the Month: Flying Dog – Snake Dog India Pale Ale


Serpentine dog bites its way into citrus-flavored pale ale

When it comes to craft beers, I know very little. There’s the few I’ve tried and the slew I haven’t. When I’m looking to try something new, I use a tried-and-true method: find the beer with the coolest packaging and hope for the best.

After a few minutes’ deliberation at my local liquor store and a close call with a blueberry beer whose package-art was almost too good to resist, I settled on Flying Dog’s India Pale Ale – all the while hoping that the beer’s character would be less chimerical than the snake-headed dog on the bottle.

It’s really no wonder Flying Dog’s artwork drew me in. After a quickly consulting the consistently credible – if not canonical – think-tank, I found that Ralph Steadman (who penned illustrations for the novel “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”) was responsible for all of Flying Dog’s art.

Serendipitous realizations aside, I’m happy to say the beer is just as good as the packaging. The brew has a bitter, hopsy bite, which must have inspired the serpentine canine (whose tail looks conspicuously like a hop cone) on the label.

In researching India Pale Ales, I once again returned to that fountainous spigot of sagacity, Wikipedia, and found that the acerbic aroma is indeed indicative – if not the hallmark – of IPAs.

For the uninitiated – such as myself, until I appealed to that aforementioned omniscient almanac – the English invented IPAs, made famous by British colonialism and a trading troop called the East India company. The first IPA was an October beer brewed by Britain-based Bow Brewery in the 1700s. Trade ships’ bowels proved a worthy environment for a beer that typically cellar-aged for two years, and the Bow Brewery’s October brew found a receptive clientele in India.

Flying Fog Snake Dog IPA has the woodsy, nutty hoppiness of an East Coast IPA – as opposed to the West Xoast’s fruitier, citric styling.

As a side note, those who subsist solely upon a diet of fermented liquids and legumes will be happy to know Snake Dog sits exceedingly well with salted peanuts.

If you aren’t too bashful for a good bitter beer, sanction a sip of Snake Dog. For less than $8 a six-pack (at certain alphabetically-themed liquor stores), you too can sample these savory, 7.1 percent suds and judge for yourself.

Editor’s Note: This story is intended for readers that are 21 and older. The Spinnaker is in no way, shape or color advocating alcohol use by anyone under 21. This piece aims to solely report one staff member’s (who will always be 21 or older) account of a particular beverage.