We've mentioned before our affinity for purchasing a brew simply based on labeling (read a great post by Beer in Baltimore on the art of beer labels). Hoppin' Frog was not one of these impulse buys. In this case we were browsing the "aisles" at D'vines looking for something different. A frog holding a beer is certainly different. No telling what happens when you kiss the frog. Anyway, this is one Bodacious Oatmeal Russian Imperial Stout.
B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher Oatmeal-Imperial Stout is quality. It pours thick like molasses and creates a thick dark brown head. Like any good Imperial stout the body is dark as night. Like others we've tried, including the oak barreled stouts, the aroma kind of kicks you in the teeth (note: Hoppin' Frog offers a barrel-aged version). What sets BORIS apart from other imperial stouts is flavor. Yes, it has the requisite deep roast, full bodied flavor but BORIS has a greater balance of hops than any stout we've tried. It's thick in your mouth and goes down very smooth but doesn't fill you up - which is how we were able to pound the entire pint plus bottle. By the way, it's 9.4 percent ABV so pound at your own risk. It doesn't crush you, as Hoppin' Frog would have you believe, but BORIS reminds you that it could crush you but it chooses not to.
This is the first Hoppin' Frog we've seen inside the beltway and they clearly focus on the brew and not the label art. And that's OK. If nothing else, this brew should serve as a reminder not to judge a beer by it's label. While we search for the next great swill to drink we're going to dig up our Atari 2600 and fire up the Frogger.