Dogs are good, especially Internet dogs. I love to see photos and videos of them being all fun and goofy, wearing hats and driving tractors and everything. Some live dogs are cool, too. I had a few different dogs growing up: Oscar was a bit of a dick, but Dan and Loki were both great. I have a distinct (and likely false) memory of Dan, a khaki-colored cocker spaniel with bad hips and a sweet disposition, using his nose to push the last Planters Cheez Ball over to me one afternoon when we were sharing a fistful on the coffee table.
So yes, for sure, dogs are good. They are often big and loud and dirty, though, which is why the official pet of Drunkspin is a pretty gray cat named Cindy Lou Who. Louie is small and quiet and clean. She is also very soft and reasonable; she almost never complains, and when she does, her concerns can be immediately addressed in one of two simple ways: When Louie expresses dissatisfaction via aggrieved meow or bitten ankle, I know that I can set her world straight by either feeding her or turning off the vacuum. Then she immediately returns to her regularly scheduled cat activities of wandering around and being cute. Cindy Lou Who is great.
She likes me well enough, too. A couple of times a day she’ll pop up on my desk and let me pat her head, and some afternoons she’ll join me for a nap. She seems to prefer my wife’s company, to be honest, but so do the rest of my friends. It’s fine. We got a cat when I started working full-time at home because I wanted a buddy around the house, and Louie is definitely my buddy. We have a nice time together. Now, does she really love me deep down, or is she just using me for food and shelter? Well, it’s certainly the latter, of course, because she’s not stupid. She recognizes me as a largely inoffensive means to a couple of essential ends. That’s good enough for me.
Hardcore dog advocates, on the other hand, always talk about the purity of a dog’s unconditional love, which sounds creepy to me. Louie likes it when I feed her and write the rent check, two things I’m happy to do in exchange for her company. I guess that makes her affection highly conditional, and I’m cool with that.
But the point of this beer review is not to praise my cat. The point of this beer review is to praise all cats, especially Columbus, the dearly departed Port Brewing Company kitty for which the fantastic 8.5-percent alcohol-by-volume imperial IPA Mongo is named. (Columbus the cat was named for the hop; his nickname was Mongo for some reason.)
Mongo’s been around for about five years, which makes it middle-aged as far as gigantic new-wave IPAs go. This could be why it displays more pine character than a lot of the very most modern interpretations of the style. There’s plenty of fruit, to be sure, but the blend of Columbus, Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo, and Simcoe hops is balanced in a way that lets the earthy, pungent, resiny side of things stand up to the tropical fruit and citrus flavors. The malt character is fairly muted, with just a hint of caramel peeking through, but the hop profile is complex enough to make up for it. It opens with a resolutely piney aroma, and then the apricot, grapefruit, and mango bust in strong. The finish is drier than expected given all the fruit, as Mongo comes full circle back to its evergreen roots.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Mongo the cat, but I’m glad that his memory is honored by such a fun and spunky beer. We should do a ranking of beers named for pets. Suggestions below, please.
This is Drunkspin Daily, the Concourse’s adequate source for booze news, reviews, and bullshit. We’ll be highlighting a beer a day in this space; please leave suggestions below.
Image by Jim Cooke.
Will Gordon loves life and tolerates dissent. He lives in Cambridge, Mass., and some of his closest friends have met Certified Cicerones. Find him on Twitter @WillGordonAgain.