Style: Zero IBU IPA
This is the perfect segue beer from BrewDog Week into American Month. International Arms race is Flying Dog’s entry in a competition between them and Britain’s BrewDog to brew a Zero IBU IPA. A collaboration of sorts then, and a prime example of the experimentation that American craft brewers and the British breweries they inspired bring to the beer industry. Read here on the competillaboration.
The bottle doesn’t have the same pretentious wordery that BrewDog put on their version. Flying Dog are more visual in their approach, with their beers standing out because of their iconic label art – the artist, Ralph Steadman, is best known for his work with Hunter S. Thompson, and his distinctive style is now most often seen on the bottles of Flying Dog Beers.
International Arms Race features two big, sharp-toothed dogs, boxing amid splatters of blood. The message here is simple – the big dogs from either continent are going head to head, and Flying Dog are up for a fight.
I’ve let this beer age a little bit, hoping that the spices used instead of hops also mellow and combine like they would with a traditional IPA that’s a little older. Not that anyone should take any notice of other people’s scores, but I’ve found that opinion is split on the two major beer sites, with RateBeer giving it a lowly 17 out of 100, but BeerAdocate were less critical with their 73 out of 100. Is that a true criticism of the flavour though? Or are people just being a bit snobby about experimentation?
The thing to remember about this beer is that it’s an experiment. It can’t be treated like a normal beer, because it isn’t one. It isn’t trying to be one and it certainly isn’t trying to be better than “normal” beer. It is the child of exploration, the result of an inquisitive venture, and we should try to appreciate it with that in mind.
So let’s open it!
Visual: An. Well. This isn’t good. Not the colour or the carbonation, though both are unappealing. It looks a bit like Irn Bru, orange and very fizzy. The main problem, though, is the bits. Definitely not yeast sediment – it looks a lot like mould. A sort of misty, fluffy, globular haze fills the bottom, with some floating globs of transparent slimy stuff. It’s well within the use by date too. Perhaps the spices haven’t lasted as well as Flying Dog hoped. Perhaps I haven’t kept it as well as I though. Perhaps I got an iffy bottle. Who knows? This is going to be a short review…
Nose: Smells like somebody’s dumped loads of cloves into ginger beer. Quite nauseating in all honesty.
Taste: Nope. No way. Not a chance. This isn’t going anywhere near my face.
Mouthfeel: If I was to hazard a guess, I’d say it would probably feel like fizzy ginger beer with mould floating in it.
So, a disappointing start to American month and poor first impression from Flying Dog. But I know they’re better than this. Not quite the perfect segue I made it out to be…
I guess I’ll just move on, to a tried and tested beer: Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter.