3 Questions: War Dog Imperial IPA


On the eve of the first-time bottling of one of Big Dog’s most beloved beers, the War Dog Imperial IPA, we sat down with head brewer Dave Otto to pick his brain as to how this beast of a hoppy beer came to be.

wardog250BD: Dave, you’re well aware that the current craft beer trend is all about big hops, but you’ve been making War Dog for quite some time now- Where did the inspiration to develop a beer like War Dog come from?

DO: I had my first Imperial IPA, called Frank, at Pizza Port- Carlsbad many years ago and really dug the beer. I immediately started playing with the style and various hop varietals; slowly but surely coming to the recipe that is War Dog today.

BD: The War Dog Imperial IPA uses quite a bit of some high-end hops to create the signature hop note we’ve come to love- Can you elaborate on how much you’re using in a typical batch, and what the scoop is on these hops?

DO: We’re tossing in a boatload, about 60lbs total of Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops in a full batch of War Dog, which are a hot commodity these days. They’re expensive and tricky to get a hold of, and the beer takes longer than normal to brew- but damn is it worth it!

BD: Why do you think War Dog Imperial IPA has found a niche among local consumers that stop by the Draft House or Big Dog's Cafe & Casino on Sahara? A lot of people are scared of big, overly-hopped beers…

DO: I actually feel that for a big beer, War Dog has great balance, and is pretty approachable,with hearty citrus and floral hop notes- Definitely a fine candidate for less experienced big beer drinkers to give the style a shot.

Be sure to be on the lookout for the Big Dog’s War Dog Imperial IPA, as well as our Dirty Dog IPA, Holy Cow Pale Ale, and Red Hydrant English Brown Ale in bottles and on draft at local bars, restaurants, and retailers near you!