You’ve got to love this Flying Dog ad. “Crack One Open DC” with a picture of Marion Berry.
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I keep no secret of the fact that I am a big fan of Flying Dog beers. So I just had to try the new Flying Dog Disobedience Abbey Dubbel. An Abbey Dubbel is a type of beer that originated from the Trappist monks of Belgium. Typically these beers are double fermented which gives them complexity and a higher alcohol content. The Flying Dog Abbey Dubbel is part of their limited release Brewhouse Rarities Line. According to their website this line consists of beers that are the brainchildren of individual brewers at Flying Dog and “push the confines of conventional beer styles.” Now I’m not really sure I would say this beer pushes the boundaries of conventional beer styles, but it certainly was tasty and one of the better Abbey Dubbels I have tried. I came in a big 750 ml bottle with the racking date printed right on the front. (April 12 in my case) The beer had an opaque, dark caramel color. When poured the glass was filled with fine, tight bubbles. It had a complex but gentle,creamy malty flavor. Very little hop notes were present. It finished with a touch of sweetness. Sweet is not something I’m a big fan of in a beer and I had my reservations because Abbey Dubbels can tend toward the sweet side. I also saw that it said on the bottle that it was made with “local maple syrup.” Luckily there was only a touch of sweetness, but it was not overpowering and did not clash with the food.
VERDICT: A fine sipping beer!
7.6% ABV. I paid $10.88 for a 750ml bottle at Ye Olde Spirit Shoppe
This past summer the Flying Dog Brewery restarted their brewery tour which had been on hiatus for something like 18 months. Rumor had it that the brewery had run afoul (or come close to running afoul of) the old law which limited the size of the samples that a brewery could give on a tour to only six (6!?!) ounces. During the hiatus Flying Dog worked with legislators and other interested parties to get the law changed to six 3 ounce samples. This new law went into effect July 1st and the tours resumed that day. Signing up for a tour is easy. Click here to make your reservation, pay your $5 per person and show up. It’s absolutely the best $5 you can spend in Frederick.
The tour starts in their tasting room. You are given six wooden tokens, each one good for one three ounce sample of their beer, and let loose in the bar area.
They have pretty much everything they make on draft including all the specials and seasonals. Two knowledgable servers were pouring and on hand to answer all your questions. Following a good while in the tasting room the tour began. I wont bore you with a blow by blow- just go. The people I went with ranged from home brewing beer geeks (yours truly) to casual drinkers and everyone loved it. We saw the mash areas, the fermentation vats, the labs, the bottling line (which was running full tilt and very impressive) and finally the warehouse, which was like a Stonehenge of beer. Interspersed we learned about the founder and how Ralph Steadman got involved.
All questions were welcomed and the guide was knowledgeable and friendly. We learned some interesting trivia. For example: all the sample packs have to be made up by hand so there is some poor schlub who spends all day mixing the bottles and placing them in the boxes. Think of that next time you buy one! At the end we went back to the tasting room where you could ‘spend’ any unused tokens. There is also a Flying Dog gift shop where you can purchase their beer and other merchandise. As a lovely parting gift you get to keep the tasting glass. I plan to go back until I have a complete set!
Apparently the Flying Dog Brewery is co-hosting a beer dinner at the Red Horse Inn tonight. How did I miss this? Flying dog beers are frequently reviewed here but somehow this event flew under my radar. Well the dinner is sold out. Just to torment you (me!) here is the menu:
Reception with Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale paired with tomato and mozzarella bruschetta. Then:
- Blackened Scallops and Mango salsa
- Paired with our Snake Dog IPA
- Grilled Romaine salad sprinkled with fresh mozzarella, diced tomatoes, bacon blank, and a drizzle of Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Paired with our In-Heat Wheat Hefeweizen
- Croatian-style char-broiled oysters
- Paired with our Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA
- Steak Au Poivre: Peppered steak with cognac cream sauce
- Paired with our Gonzo Imperial Stout
- Chocolate bread pudding served with bourbon pecan sauce
- Paired with our limited-edition Coffee Stout
This beer* has me perplexed and I’m not sure how to rate it. I liked it, but I found the taste so distinctive and big that it really clashed with the food I was eating. It had a very complex set of flavors: bread and yeast, with fig and banana sweetness and a lot of floral notes. I think that with its big distinctive flavors it is really more of a beverage meant to be sipped on its own. I can’t imagine what food this would go well with. It’s also very noticably alcoholic (10%!). I think I’m going to have try this again. You can age this in the cellar (it is aged for three months before bottling) so I think I’m going to buy a few and try it. Overall rating: perplexed.
* Even though this is called a barley wine it is technically a barley wine style ale since it is made from grains not fruits. Read all about it here.
The armchair tour of Flying Dog Brewery’s offerings continues. A tough job but someones got to do it. Up this time is the Flying Dog In Heat Wheat Hefeweizen. Hefeweizen is a German style of wheat beer which typically uses at least 50% wheat in the brewing process and is usually cloudy in appearance due to the yeast (Hefe) remaining in the beer.
As anticipated the beer was, in fact, a cloudy yellow in appearance and had a nice thick white head. Strong nose of citrus and cloves and it tasted exactly like it smelled. This was my least favorite of all the ones I have sampled so far. I found the taste of cloves predominated over everything and unfortunately cloves are not one of my favorite flavors to begin with. Light bodied and 4.7% alcohol.
I have to admit I was really looking forward to trying this one as IPA, or India Pale Ale, is one of my favorite styles of beer. [note: if anyone wants to bribe me Sam Smith’s India Ale does the trick; actually anything by Sam Smith does the trick; aw heck pretty much any decent alcohol does the trick!] Anyway it had a nice orange-copper color and left a nice thick head. For my taste I find that some brewers feel that an IPA is all about the bitterness and go completely over the top with the hops, which is not my cup of tea. I really liked this brew because of its nice balance between the malty sweetness and the piney/resin bitterness from the hops. Medium bodied and at 7.1% alcohol its the strongest of the bunch so far.
Continuing my tour of Flying Dog Brewery beers with their Road Dog Porter. Nice dark mahogany color, with a creamy brown head. Nice malty aroma. Has a good malty flavor as well, with a hint of coffee. Finishes with a touch of bitterness. This struck me as a bit lighter than some other porters I have tasted but it was right up my alley. I would definitely say this was my favorite out of the ones I have tasted so far. At 6 % it is half a percent higher in alcohol than the others that I have tasted.
In case you are not keeping score here are the others:
Continuing in my series of Flying Dog Brewery beer tastings. First of all let me state that lager is generally my least favorite beer style. Probably because so many lagers are really pale and insipid wastes of caloric intake. I really tend to be much more of an ale guy. So with that in mind and trying to push aside my prejudice I uncapped some Old Scratch Amber Lager. Like the name implies it has a nice amber color (duh!). In fact it’s remarkably similar in color to the Classic Pale Ale. Thats where the similaritites end. It had a hint of malty sweetness on the nose. A little heavier than the typical lager it had a good malty flavor with a touch of toasted, bready sweetness on the finish. Very mild hops and almost no bitterness. I have to say I really liked this one. Much better than 99% of the lagers out there. A very fun beer.
First on my list of Flying Dog beers is the Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale. It lives up to its name: it certainly is a classic pale ale. More on the American Pale Ale side than an English one though. Has a nice amber-copper color. It is super crisp with a ton of hops and a little hint of orange and the piney hoppiness at the end. Solid but didn’t knock my socks off. Would be nice outside on a hot day.5.5% Alcohol.
All beers in this series were tasted from bottles, not draught, at fridge temperature and poured into pint glasses before tasting.