4AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
To celebrate their 20th anniversary, the Flying Dog brewery out of Maryland created Raging Btch - a "Belgian-style" India Pale Ale. Usually, I raise an eyebrow when an American brewery makes a point of saying their beer is "Belgian-style" since I find it to be a marketing term. However, Flying Dog has a good reputation so I’m inclined to believe they can pull off the "Belgian-style" thing rather well. Not that Raging Btch IPA is a beer that reminds me of monks and old world breweries, but it is a wholly original beer in its own right.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
I poured a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass. The appearance is what I like to see in an IPA: bright orange/light brown in color; clear and effervescent. It produces a generous layer of frothy, off-white head which leaves generous lacing on the glass all the way down and never completely evaporates.
The aroma is quite interesting for an IPA. It’s slightly floral with a distinct scent of non-citrus fruit like pear or apricot. There’s a touch of dryness in the nose as well, similar to Belgian beers but not nearly as strong.
I’ve been a huge fan of the IPA style for years and am always excited to try beers that offer something new. Raging Btch is just such a beer as it has the basic building blocks of a quality American IPA, but it’s the fine details that make it so different.
It’s rare I use the word fruity to describe a beer of this style, but that’s an accurate assessment here. Immediately my palate is greeted with a sweet, fruity, almost juicy taste of pear, apricot or green apple. The hops bite back with a dry, almost powdery bitterness. I suppose this is the Belgian aspect of the beer, although I found it rather one-dimensional whereas authentic Belgian brews tend to be a mélange of peppery spices.
Overall, these flavors are an interesting variation of the floral hop palette found in many stronger American IPAs. There’s a touch a citrus as well, which makes the taste slightly refreshing as it crosses the tongue, but the dry bitterness of the aftertaste overshadows it. I think Raging Btch could’ve been a perfect beer had the finish been moister, but as it stand it’s satisfying.
I drank this beer with two friends and we each had different perspectives on the drinkability of Raging Btch. We all agreed it is indeed a full-bodied beer, but had different takes on the overt bitterness. I thought the hops lingered just enough, but my friends thought they wore out their welcome quickly. We also found the dry palate made the beer taste rather warm even straight out of the fridge.
However, we all agreed that the beer doesn’t taste or feel as potent as its 8.3% ABV would seem to suggest. It would actually pair quite well with a spicy meal or salty snacks, although I think the average drinker might become a little fatigued after two servings.
I’ll admit I went into Flying Dog Raging Btch IPA with reservations, but I’m also happy to report this is most definitely not a gimmicky beer by any means. I probably wouldn’t call its "Belgian-style" self-description entirely accurate, but I do like its originality and craftiness.