Wow, day 320! Only 45 more entries until I meet my goal, but don’t worry, I won’t quit painting beers in 2015. I plan on releasing a new beer painting on Thirsty Thursdays. I have to admit, the commitment has been huge, and I have also loved it every step of the way, but it will be nice to have more time to work on larger pieces.
The featured beer painting for the day is of the Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA by Flying Dog Brewery located in Frederick, Maryland. I remember living in Colorado in 1999 when this brewery was located in Denver, CO. I was surprised when I was tracking down a great MD brewery that Flying Dog was the beer to buy. Flying Dog started in 1990 in Aspen, Colorado by George Stranahan and Richard McIntyre. The brewery is named after Stranahan’s attempt at climbing K2 in 1983. This is a long story, which you can read on the brewery’s website http://flyingdogbrewery.com/about-us/the-flying-dog-story/ . Here’s the condensed version: after having to bail on their daredevil trip, they saw an amazing painting of a hunting dog, which looked like it was flying. The image stayed in Stranahan’s memory, and hence, became an important icon in his life. He also named his ranch after it. I should also mention that Stranahan is a PhD of Astrophysics, a photographer, a philanthropist, a rancher and a writer. He also started three schools. You can learn more at www.georgestranahan.com .
The artwork on Flying Dog labels may be familiar to you, because the artist, Ralph Steadman, illustrated Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Thompson and Stranahan met on their nearby ranches in Colorado. Due to popular interest in beer and shooting, they struck up a long-term friendship. Thompson introduced the world-famous illustrator to Stranahan. I remember seeing Steadman’s posters and books when I was still drawing pictures of Ninja Turtles and Disney cartoon characters. The labels really pop, and make the beers feel extra special. I think the brewery’s success should be partially attributed to this amazing artist who created such unique characters for each beer.
This beer is very good, and I would highly recommend this spicy Belgian IPA. The hops are strong, and fresh, which is not surprising, since the brewery is situated on a hop farm. Choosing a Belgian yeast strain is very avant-garde, just like the beer name, and label design. This brewery used to distribute to Alaska, but that is, sadly, no longer the case.
Cheers to a great product, the Raging Bitch Belgian IPA! This beer has the whole package: great taste, awesome label, and interesting story!