I'm normally not a huge fan of IPAs. Too often they're just hopfests without much more to them than that. Nothing wrong with hops, of course, but there is more to beer than that.
When an IPA hits a homerun, however, things get more magical, and there should be little surprise that Laughing Dog, recently named the area's best brewery, got this Imperial IPA right.
It should be pointed out the bottle was about a week old—IPAs are better enjoyed fresh—and that certainly impacted the tasting in a positive way.
The Alpha Dog pours a nice hazy golden color that literally screams "hoppy." Literally! It pushes you into your chair and semi-abusively smacks your nose with citric hops on the smell, living up to its Alpha Dog moniker.
Yet it has its gentle side too. Sure, this is hoppy and bitter, but the way hints of orange and grapefruit laces the tongue, the finish is surprisingly mellow. This is a beer you'll have an intense relationship with. It'll take you for a marathon of flavors, for sure, but then gently caress you at the end.
It takes a strong personality to deal with a beer like that, but if you can stand the challenge, then it's worthwhile. This is a great Imperial IPA.