Flying Dog Raging Bitch (8.3%) is a mixed up sounding beer. A Belgian style IPA hopped in the American style, i.e. big, bold hops and lots of em. It's a beer I first tried on a recent trip to the excellent House of The Trembling Madness in York and I liked it so much I bought a few bottles from the shop downstairs to bring home and review with a slightly more level head (I'd had a fair few beers already that day so no time for note taking).
First impressions of this beer are that it pours like a classic American IPA, orange/amber colour but very clear and bubbly. So far so standard. But then when you give it a whiff it's really big and malty, with that classic Belgian yeast funk from the yeast and a little spice. Not a lot of hops initially but they came out more as I went down the glass.
I poured it fairly aggressively to knock a touch of carbonation out and create a nice big head. This meant that, for me personally, the carbonation was spot on. Not too foamy but nice and tight with small bubbles in the body.
The flavour is sweet and malty in the beginning, but not as malty as the colour or aroma would suggest. There's also a clear banana fruitiness that obviously comes from the Belgian yeast. It then becomes dry and boozy in the finish with fruity hops and a definate piney, resinous hop twang that is dry and spicy, more of a pepper flavour than anything more exotic though. There's also an orange pith character that comes through as the beer warms, which I think comes from the use of Amarillo hops.
It's a really unusual beer. It has that big American IPA hit from the hops but it's Belgian character is also very clear. It wasn't really what I expected, I think expected a super-hopped Duvel, but that said it definitely delivers on what it promises. It does taste like a Belgian style American IPA, just not in the way I expected. Really nice and definitely worth a try if you can get a hold of it.