Mad Dogs and Englishmen Go Out in the Noonday Sun:
Fantasy Dogs, Bizarre Dogs
Moon Dog Ale (Great Lakes Brewing Co., Cleveland, OH) conjures up reckless daring with its name—unpredictable and wild.
Abita’s Turbo Dog is a souped-up tribute to two older dogs: Smuttynose’s Old Brown Dog, and Newcastle Brown, popularly referred to as “the dog.” Abita’s version of a brown ale is stronger (6.15 percent ABV) than the other two—a turbo-charged dog.
But for out-there, gonzo imagery, the prize belongs to Flying Dog Brewing Co. of Denver. Their “litter of beers” is an impressive line up, but doesn’t seek to push the taste envelope. That job is reserved for the beer’s names—Doggie Style, On Heat Wheat, Tire Biter, Snake Dog—and the ink-splattered label illustrations provided by British artist Ralph Steadman.
In fact, Flying Dog pushed the taste envelope right into the courts. In 1995, the Steadman label for Road Dog Ale, bearing the words “Good beer, no shit,” got the Scottish ale pulled from Colorado shelves. While Flying Dog and the ACLU brought a lawsuit against Colorado Liquor Enforcement, the label bore the legend “Good beer, no censorship.”
Last month, Flying Dog won their case. Woof.
That Dog Won’t Hunt:
They Only Sound Like Dogs
Once you start looking for the pack of beer dogs, you are in danger of seeing them everywhere—barking up the wrong tree, as it were.
Original Rottweiler Schwartzbier (Privatbrauerei Wilhelm Mayer, Rottweil, Germany) is not named for those scary black guard dogs beloved of Mel Gibson characters. The dog and the beer both originate in the same town in Germany.
Exmore Beast had me rushing for my Sherlock Holmes, but the dread hound of the Baskervilles stalked Dartmoor, not Exmore.
Dogfish Head Brewing Co. in Delaware is named for a promontory and a relative of the shark.
St. Bernard Brau Beer (Engel Brauerei, Schabische Gmund, Germany) honors the saint, not the dog whose name also honors the saint.
Hair of the Dog Brewery in Oregon may have luscious beers called Fred, Ralph, and Golden Rose—all perfectly decent dog names—but the brewery is named for the supposed cure if you have too much Fred, Ralph, or Golden Rose.
Its hot. The rising of the Dog Star in Sirius signals the dog days of late summer. Your dog is curled up at your feet in the late afternoon as you share a moment of companionship and get ready to enjoy a beer. At moments like this, what could be more pleasant than to obey every dog owner’s instructions: Sit. Stay.