There are two things we need to discuss in relation to this beer: 1) The power of suggestion, and 2) The power of the subconscious. In the spirits world, the power of suggestion is everything. This ideal is very prevalent with wine. Try this: next time you are tasting a new wine, have someone who isn’t even having a glass blurt out possible flavors. Unless you are a super-taster, if they say “hay,” you will taste hay. Same thing happens with beer.

As for the power of the subconscious, I picked up a six pack of this Alaskan Black IPA after taking my dog to the self-wash. I did not make note of how much the wolves on the label resemble my large, thick-necked mutt, but when I took that first sip back at home and tasted the wet dog I had been smelling in the car, it all clicked. Suggestion and subconscious were locked in an embrace, but as their grips loosened, I was able to detect and enjoy the interplay between the high hop content endemic to IPAs and the increased presence of malt, which makes this one black. Some black IPAs miss the mark in tongue-thwacking ways, but Alaskan has reached a place of balance, so I had another and dried my dog.

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