Beer drinkers who have had Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch IPA will be familiar with the Maryland brewery’s previous successful foray into brewing Belgian style IPAs. As Raging Bitch is one of the most well-crafted of Flying Dog’s impressive stable of beers, I had fairly high expectations upon hearing that they would be releasing another Belgian-style IPA. That this would be a combination of two of my favorite beer styles, India Pale Ale and Saison, only served to enhance my anticipation. Brewed as a normal IPA, the beer takes on a completely different character when Belgian Saison yeast is used to ferment the wort. If you’ve enjoyed Raging Bitch, I insist that you find this beer and try it.
The beer pours a hazy golden color, somewhere between straw and amber. It has a big, tight, white head. As you drink the beer, the head opens up a bit but it hangs around until you’ve consumed the last of the beer. It leaves an impressive amount of lacing clinging to the sides of the glass as you drink.
The primary aromas of the beer are the earthy, herbal notes typical of Saisons. The hops come across as some citric spiciness, but the Saison yeast is definitely the predominant aroma here. Pepper, clove and coriander are abound with some orange peel to make it interesting.
The beer is medium bodied, light enough to be refreshing but full enough to convey a variety of flavors and has a nice crisp carbonation. It hits the front of the palate with the grassy, barnyard taste that you expect of a Saison. The herbal notes stick with you as the hop character begins to assert itself on the mid and back palate before finishing with some bitterness and a hint of pepper.
Flying Dog’s Wildeman IPA is a fantastic combination of two of the best beer styles available. It’s interesting to consider that while the beer may have been brewed as a typical American IPA, the yeast has such an impact on the development of the beer that I thought of the beer more as a hoppy Saison, than an IPA with Saison qualities.
If You Liked This, Try: Piraat Belgian IPA, Houblon Chouffe, Flying Dog Raging Bitch
Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory.