Flying Dog Trip

I had the awesome opportunity to visit Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, Maryland recently. This included a tour, tastings, and a great stop off at a local restaurant that specialized in some great beers in cans and bottles, to include Flying Dog of course. Flying Dog moved from Colorado to Maryland a few years ago when they decided that their most demanding market was on the East Coast. We started off arriving early to our tour and were told to check out AKA Frisco’s around the corner. We drove over for a quick bite and were greeted at the kitchen island, situated at the center of the restaurant. We were given complementary tastes of their chicken chili. We loved it and ordered a bowl along with some exploded potatoes. I also had a bottle of the Anchor Bock. Man that was a good pairing. Spicy, chunky, chili to be followed by a sticky sweet springtime bock. We hurried back to Flying Dog to make our tour appointment, which was part of a Living Social deal we took advantage of that included a hotel nearby the brewery.

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Wild and Wonderful Beer

My wife and I were on our way home from a camping trip out in West Virginia recently and I happened to stumble upon the prettiest sight that wasn’t a beautiful mountain side or bubbling river. While traversing through the one-lane road through Wardensville, WV, I noticed a sign for Lost River Brewing. We stopped in a little after 12pm, which was when they opened that Sunday. I sat down, said my hello to the bartender, and continued to ask what was on tap. Amongst a couple of craft breweries (Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch and Sierra Nevada’s Ruthless Rye to note a few) was the only brew the place had on tap, a Black Ale. Lost River had just recently, as in a couple of weeks prior to my visit, received their license to sell their own brewed beer onsite. So I was excited to jump in on this freshness. But much to my dismay after the bartender had poured half my beer into a glass, she realized that she could serve me the beer. West Virginia law states that no alcoholic beverages will be sold prior to 1pm. I cried a little.

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Carpe Diem

I was sitting on the couch tonight, enjoying some stir fry vegetables and brown rice after a hearty workout, and needed a tasty libation to go with my veggie feast. I chose one of the six Bell’s Hopslams I had in the fridge. As you know, IPAs can age, but they lose a lot of their hoppy flavors they are known for after a short period. So it’s best to enjoy immediately, even when you are talking about a $20 six-pack. I love to age beers and enjoy them on a momentous day as much as the next guy. But sometimes you just have to take the advice from Virginia Madsen’s character, Maya, in Sideways in response to Miles stating that there had to be a special occasion to open his rare ’61 Cheval Blanc: “Just opening a ’61 Cheval Blanc is a special occasion.” So, in keeping with the preservation of hoppy flavors and making it a special night, I cracked open the bottle of Hopslam and enjoyed to my ever-loving heart’s content. It was then that I noticed the importance of that quote.

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New Year’s Return

It’s good to be finally writing again. And even more important, we are now representative of the California Castaway theme. My partner in craft beer crime, Nick, has decided to vacate beautiful Southern California and move on to sunnier, yet also rainier, days in Miami, Florida. I’m excited to hear about all his adventures where craft beer is still going through it’s growth phase. He is also starting to brew his own beer. But I’ll let him explain his story to you himself in another blog. This is about telling everyone that we are back for more blogging. I never thought I could ever lose track of my love for craft beer. I thought I could write forever to a point people would have to pull me from the computer. But it happened, and I forgot to blog. But I never forgot about my love of craft beer. I never forgot to celebrate DC Beer Week. I never forgot to push craft beer to every person I saw holding a Coors Light. I didn’t hesitate when I wanted to spend my 30th birthday in Rehoboth Beach at Dogfish Head. I couldn’t stop the fever that was brought on by the anticipation of attending the 30th Great American Beer Festival and the subsequent days I spent roaming Denver. I never thought for a moment that I would stop loving craft beer.

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Sipping Vs. Chugging

When I was younger, my priorities used to be a little different from what they are now, especially with beer. I remember the good old days when we would all go out and buy a bunch of the cheapest beer we could find just to get drunk. The one thing I definitely remember was chugging the beer like there was no tomorrow. The reasons were mixed. We wanted to get drunker…faster. We didn’t want to taste the beer after it reached anywhere above 40 degrees. Blech! Plus, in big groups, you almost had to drink fast to make sure no one else drank your share. Just look at how we have evolved. We are enjoying craft beer at tastings, beer dinners, and in the comfort of our home. We even ask ourselves whether we are going to drink something hoppy, malty, bold, or light.

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