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.

While awaiting the rest of our tour party, my wife and I toured the store and bar. I asked about growler fills (since I brought a few for filling) and found out, to my dismay, that Maryland recently passed a law that a brewery could not sell growlers of beer directly to their customer anymore. What a dagger!! We received our first tasting and took the full 2 ounce glass with us to the start of the tour. I filled up with an Irish Red Ale. To start, we all needed to have closed-toed shoes. My wife forgot this rule and was wearing flip flops. Oh well, our tour coordinator provided her with some work boots the brewing teams wear. It was great. We started to learn about Hunter S. Thompson, one of the co-founders, and the artistry from his books which have made their way onto Flying Dog’s labels. I don’t remember much of the stories, but I do remember a lot of alcohol and mind-altering substance being ingested. Our tour coordinator continued to talk about Gonzo and why they named the beer after an old friend and Road Dog, which was named after a special friend who took the heat for his friends. Don’t worry about my choppy rendering of the story. You’ll hear it someday from them yourself.

The tour was just too cool for words, kind of like the beer. Throughout the tour, we tasted Raging Bitch, their explosively popular Belgian IPA, at various stages of development. We tasted the mash, the wort, the fermented flat beer, the carbonated beer, and the final result, filtered Belgian IPA straight from the machines. At the end of the tour, we all got to taste five more beers each. I had the Nitro-kegged Double Dog (so unbelievable, too bad it’s not being distributed), Kujo Coffe Stout, and a few other good ones. We went into the store and bought a few shirts, stickers, and toys. We also bought a barrel-aged Gonzo (which I will age) and 2008 vintages of Gonzo and Horn Dog. Nice! Just some helpful info, don’t tell Brittany the peaches and cream joke you hear in the tour. We stayed for a couple hours until they closed, having great laughs with fellow craft beer lovers and joking with the staff. After we left, we headed right back to AKA Frisco’s where we picked up some sandwiches for the hotel. I also bought a six pack of the Kujo Coffee Stout and made my own six pack of some tasty local brews. We finished the night savoring some delectable sandwiches and enjoying some random craft beers. It was a good day. This is a great brewery built on outstanding principles of good beer. Don’t take my word for it though, go there yourself and realize what it truly means to be “Living the Craft Beer Lifestyle.”

miguel

Miguel Torres: I'm a craft beer fanatic, a homebrewer and President of California Castaway. I love the relaxed, fun-loving craft beer lifestyle and will rave about it to anyone who's willing to listen.

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