You Should Already Be Drinking: Flying Dog

Flying Dog Logo

Ale has long been the drink of thugs, convicts, rowdies, rakes and other depraved outlaws who thrive on the quick bursts of night-energy that ale brings.

In the 17th century England gangs of ale-crazed fops would often fight to the death in all-night brawls on public greenswards, which terrified the citizenry and left many of the infamous “youngblood horseman” chopped up with grievous sword and dagger wounds… These were the Wild Boys of Olde English story and song, rich sots on horseback who amused themselves in London by riding out at night, ripped to the tits on strong ale, and “popped old ladies into empty booze-barrels and rolled them down steep, cobblestone hills with crazy screams and shouts.”

If you must roll old ladies down hills and you don’t want to pay the bills, try to be nice and clean off their lice with a powerful Road Dog Ale.

~Hunter S. Thompson


The good doctor penned the mini quote above, dubbed “Ale According to Hunter,” in honour of the launch of “Road Dog Porter,” for Flying Dog Brewery which was, at the time, brewing beer in Woody Creek, Colorado just down the road from Thompson’s Owl Farm.

According to the legend (or Flying Dog’s website) Thompson and Flying Dog co-founder George Strahan apparently bonded over “explosives, high-powered weapons, politics, football, whiskey, and beer.” In 1996, Thompson introduced Strahan to illustrator Ralph Steadman and, amazingly, Steadman has been doing original artwork for the brewery’s labels ever since.

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Americans Are Doing Beer Better Than Us

America is better at beer than Canada.

It feels dirty to write it and I’m half expecting the RCMP to kick in my apartment door for even uttering such a treasonous notion, but it’s true.

I don’t mean to say that Canadians don’t make great beer–because god damn it we do–I drank a shit ton of great beer just last night and most of it was brewed within 100 kilometres of Toronto. There are amazing brewers in Ontario making amazing beer and there are more new ones every day.

But we barely scratch the surface when compared to our big dumb cousins to the south.

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‘Tis A Fine Time for Drinkin’

While there is, of course, no such thing as a bad time for drinking (Christenings maybe?), this month in particular seems to have aligned the stars for the city’s beer drinkers to provide ample opportunity for pint tipping.

Two notable events are happening this weekend and next at venues that will soon be ranked [Spoiler Alert] among the city’s 15 best bars for beer selection according to the readers of blogTO : barVolo and The Only Cafe.

VoloAt Volo is, of course, the 4th annual three-day tribute to hops that is the Cask IPA Challenge. The event will feature 26 brewers, all of whom have crafted a cask conditioned (unfiltered, aged and served in a cask and poured without CO2 or nitrogen) IPA and will square off tournament-style in blind tastings until there is only one brewer left standing–ostensibly on wobbly legs after three days of drinking Cask IPAs

The fun kicks off on Friday with an IPA Spinoff Challenge, showcasing some not-quite-IPA styles like Double IPAs and Black IPAs before the official tournament starts Saturday. Complete details including the list of participating brewers and the first round bracket can be found here.

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