Gonzo, oh, Gonzo. I can’t quite remember when I discovered you – it was probably in my first year at university. I remember finding you on tap at North Bar once and being PSYCHED, despite you being rather pricey. To my (faulty) memory, you may have been about a fiver a half… In the days before the craft boom really, um, boomed, this was quite expensive, and caused me to inadvertently jokingly tell a university bursaries officer that I primarily spend my student bursary on beer. In my defence, they were sitting at the bar, and chimed in when I told the conscientious bartender that the price per half was ‘fine’. “Fine?” they remarked, “Fine?”, and I smiled sweetly, told them that it was a marvellous beer, imported, and I was more than happy to pay the price: after all, that was what my Leeds bursary was for. Their mate cracked up, before the chap told me, slightly awkwardly, that he was a bursaries officer. Luckily, not at my uni..!
Student hijinks aside, this beer is a beautiful creature. Dark chocolate, freshly cut grass hops, soft spice, deep coffee, just gorgeously intense; everything I want from a dark beer, turned up to 11. I’ve tried so many imperial dark bastards over the years, and I keep coming back to Gonzo. There’s something a bit magical in that aroma, intriguing in that sip; it’s just so quaffable, which is seriously bloody dangerous at 9.2%. Most of Flying Dog, I can take or leave – although, late last year there was a very tasty batch of Raging Bitch knocking around – but this beer has been consistently marvellous. I love it. You should drink it.