GOOD BEER + GOOD DESIGN
Flying Dog beer has been a favorite of mine for years, and I was glad to learn that many stores and bars in Dallas carry the Maryland-made beer. Their Snake Dog IPA is my go-to brew when I’m out — it’s very drinkable and pairs well with bar foods that are strong in flavor and/or grease. It’s certainly not for everyone; unless you really enjoy a hoppy ale, it may be too bitter or too strong (7.1% ABV). To me, it has the perfect bittersweet bite and light bubbly mouthfeel. But there’s more to this brewery than meets the tastebud…
Stay with me here: Flying Dog owner George Stranahan was a long-time friend of the infamous late writer Hunter S. Thompson, who was a long-time friend of the Gonzo artist Ralph Steadman, who consequently creates the labels for the brewery. I don’t know about you, but that is one winning combo in my book.
Steadman is best known for his political and social cartoons, as well as his work with Thompson — illustrating many of his articles and books. His drawings exude a certain whimsy that can only be classified as “the Gonzo spirit.” This attitude is carried through the Flying Dog brand, as evidenced through their spirited tagline (also Steadman’s creation): “Good Beer. No Shit.” You’ll find this phrase on every label, proudly displayed below the flying dog’s wings.
Steadman’s most recent creation might be my favorite yet. For Flying Dog’s 20th anniversary, they created a specialty beer: Raging Bitch (a Belgian-style IPA). Who would ever think to put an image of a rabid dog on a product people are supposed to consume? Gonzo sells, and that’s all I have to say.
“Art is our first language and we like and agree with what Ralph Steadman chooses to say through his art on our labels; that this is a wonderful world on a wacky path.”