Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I'm going to be honest with you - Hunter S. Thompson's writing's got to be the most overrated pile of pablum this side of William Burroughs, and this sad, wastoid of a man coasted on his lunatic reputation for maybe 40 years after the one interesting thing he ever put together, "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail". So when he expired last year or whenever it was, and the usual suspects hauled out all their grandeloquent tributes, it was all I could do to keep from crying out loud about our poor, poor gullible and constantly-fooled civilization. Folks whose peak years of brainpower were high school and college, and who retained the same level of literary inquisitiveness in the years thereafter. Ugh. But who am I to judge, right? We're all the same in the Lord's eyes, am I right?

Now I find out this brewery in Denver called FLYING DOG BREWING has decided to whip up a porter in honor of "the great man". Well I saw it on the shelf and it couldn't help but catch my eye, and I said what the hey, let bygones be bygones and let's give this bad boy a try. GONZO IMPERIAL PORTER started promising - an incredible, "Old Faithful"-sized head of beautiful foam when I poured it into my glass, so much so that I had to tilt the glass just so to get some beer to dribble out. Kinda cool, you know? But the euphoria wore off quickly. This beer unfortunately had 9.5% alcohol mixed with 89.5% weird-ass bitterness, a real funky combination of chocolate (year-old Hershey's kisses, not NEUHAUS), toffee (Tofifay, not that British stuff), amonia and Liquid Plummer. Every now and again I'd take a gulp, adjust my neck a few degrees, swirl it around, and think "hmm - maybe this is OK". Then I'd take another drink, and all bets were off. At the end of the day this porter was truly as meglomaniacally deranged as its inspiration, and I had to award it a mere 5/10 just to get it off my back. E for Effort I guess, but that's about it.

4 comments: said...

From what I understand, Ralph Steadman was Thompson's artist and illustrator. Steadman was hired to do all the label design for Flying Dog. The Gonzo label is more a tribute to Ralph and the unfortunate suicide of a friend then it is a tribute to Thompson's literary work.

Thompson is portrayed with a skeleton head on the bottle and porter is a dark, black beer. See any connection?

As for the beer's flavor profile, That's TBD.

Greg Clow said...

"This beer unfortunately had 9.5% alcohol mixed with 89.5% weird-ass bitterness"

So what was the remaining 1%? ;)

Jay said...

Greg, what are you, some kind of MATHLETE? Those sort of computations are too much for me. I guess the other 1% was Metamucil or something that tasted like it.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this beer. Imperial Porter is not an officially recognized beer style but this seemed like a fine example.

Lots of chocolate, dark roasted grain flavors. Plenty of citrus-bitterness to keep things balanced. Great mouthfeel. I'd score it 8/10.

Not sure if you had a bad bottle, the recipe changed over time, or perhaps this style just isn't to your tastes. Whatever the case, I found it nowhere close to as weak as you described.