Well over two years ago I was listening to the Pacific Brew News podcast, back when I had time to listen to beer-related podcasts, and our pal Rick Sellers was tasting a double IPA called SUPER DUPER DOG from a small Portland, Oregon brewery called LUCKY LABRADOR. Mr. Sellers – he went off. Amid rapturous moans, sighs and slurps (exaggerating to make a point here), he positioned the beer as one of the finest India Pale Ales ever created by God or Man. Flash-forward to August 2009. My co-worker Theo’s heading to Portland on a vacation, and he wants to know if there are any breweries he should check out there. I remember the podcast from years back, and instinctively send him to LUCKY LABRADOR. One week later, without my having even asked for a specific beer, a bottle of SUPER DUPER DOG is sitting on my desk when I get to work in the morning. Good on ya, Theo – though I didn’t know how good until I drank it.
LUCKY LABRADOR SUPER DUPER DOG is, indeed, one of the finest big IPA’s I’ve ever tasted. Only 2 or 3 possibly rate higher, and this is a style I imbibe with regularity. In a blind taste test, this could potentially beat everything except for SOUTHERN TIER GEMINI, which is in a class by itself. It pours an orange/copper color, and whoa, is it ever smooth and clean. The hops are as aromatic as I’ve ever had – if you love the smell of them, as I do, then this is a beer for ya. Bitter, bitter, bitter. The finish is long and satisfying. Piney? Citrus? I can’t tell – a little of both. You get none of the stickiness of other ultra-hopped beers, and all of the smoothness and well-rounded flavors that only the masters can conjure up. It’s one for the ages, ridiculous flying doggy label aside. 10/10.