Are You a Porch Person or a Runner?
A Review of Kujo by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
Posted on 1/9/2012 by Brew's Your Daddy
While there are many craft breweries out there that do a great job at making some very delicious beers, there are far fewer that are willing to take a lot, if any stylistic chances on the beers they make. And among those few who actually do fall into the ''risk taker'' category, only a small handful seem to consistently produce high quality boundary pushing offerings. One of the breweries that has always produced what I would consider world class beers that are always pushing the limits is Flying Dog Brewing Company. Recently I learned that they had decided to take one of their limited edition brews and make it a seasonal regular, and I was beyond excited. Why? Because roughly translated, it meant that Flying Dog was now going to have a seasonal imperial coffee stout. Go ahead and read it again. A seasonal imperial coffee stout from Flying Dog. Yes my friends, allow me to introduce you to Kujo.

In the glass, Kujo is as black as a wet Rottweiler, and comes with a dark mocha colored head that hangs around for the majority of the sitting. It was an unusually sunny January day when I finally got the chance to crack the top on this one, so just for the sake of being sure, I took it outside and held it directly between the sun and myself. It was the equivalent of a beer eclipse. Not even the edges were willing to change colors. Talk about a mean looking bastard of a beer. I had to hold back an evil grin as I lowered it to see what aromas were running around in the glass. Once I was able to get into it, I was greeted by an amazingly complex, and completely eye opening bouquet. The first thing that was instantly detectable was the overall roasted hug that held everything else together. There were layers of chocolate, vanilla, toffee, and yes, coffee. And while all of them held their own in the glass, none of them seemed determined to dominate or overpower the others. The chocolate and vanilla did a great job in using their sweetness to balance out the rich coffee aromas, and in the end, combine to create a mouthwatering glass of delicious smelling goodness.

When you finally are able to move the glass from your nose to your mouth, you are again rewarded beyond word comprehension. A word that immediately came to mind for me was ''balance''. I know we here at use that word a lot when we are describing pale ales and imperial pale ales, but it applies to Kujo as well. The taste falls right in line with the nose, and combining that with an incredibly smooth mouthfeel adds up to a truly amazing brew experience. The chocolate and vanilla again give a sweet balance to the rich and bitter coffee body of the beer. While you can pick out each flavor in its own distinct layer, Kujo gives you one of those rare instances where it is better to pay attention to how all of the flavors work together rather than how they all do on their own. At times, there are even notes of toffee, smoke and even roasted nuts can be picked out if you really want to dig and dissect things that far.

Rare is the time when I am able to recommend an imperial coffee stout to everyone, but today is one of those days. Flying Dog Brewing Company has given all of us in the better beer world a winner. While it remains true to Flying Dog form in the sense that it is big and bold, the aggression of Kujo is directed in all the right places. The flavors are delicious, the body is smooth, and the ABV punch is well hidden. Now I realize that some might view that as a recipe for disaster, but lets face the facts. In the world of better beer, eventually all of us have to take off our training wheels. Either learn to handle your booze, or stick with wine coolers. Kujo isn't a puppy, nor is it a wine cooler. It's a full grown beast of a beer. And you know how the saying goes. ''If you can't run with the big dogs...''...

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Kujo by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
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