The Flying Dog Brewery of Fredrick, Maryland makes a ton of different beers. I have found the vast majority of their beers to be very solid and drinkable. Their most famous beer is probably Raging Bitch, and for good reason, it is delicious. I haven’t had a Flying Dog beer is a few months, but Garde Dog caught my eye. I really like the name of this beer as it is a play on the style of beer it represents; Biere De Garde. Generally beers of the Biere De Garde style tend to be gold to orange in color, have some bread and sweetness along with some hops, and they can have a farmhouse quality. I think the best way to describe the style is delicate but complex.
Garde Dog pours a cloudy orange color with a fluffy white head. The nose is super earthy with some strong wet straw odors. The farmhouse really comes out in this beer along with a slight Belgian spice. I was really impressed with the nose on this beer. It is complicated, but each piece is easy to distinguish and the aromas are not muddled like a lot of beers tend to have.
Right of the bat this beer has a very nice light touch of malt with is quickly followed by some farmhouse flavors. There is a slight Belgian spice along with some respectable hops that cancel out everything else that is happening. There is a very slight sour note to this beer, but not enough to consider this beer anywhere near sour. I really dig the malt in this beer. It is very clean tasting and has enough to stand out from the other flavors, but fades when necessary to let other flavors come through. I want to try to find a better way to do this with my homebrew.
I really liked this beer. It was very, very nice and well balanced. There is a lot of going on but they all sing together, not apart. This beer might get into my regular purchase rotation. I highly suggest this one. It’s not quite a farmhouse, but more of a “farmhouse light.” Continue reading
One of the first craft beers that I ever had came from the Anchor Brewing Company of San Francisco, California and I have enjoyed their beers ever since. I’m a fan of their Christmas beer series that has a new recipe each year. In addition, they serve Anchor Steam at Phillies games along with a large number of craft beers. During last year’s playoffs I didn’t drink a single Anchor beer to show my support for the Phils and my dislike of the Giants, but in the end, the Giants did what the Phillies couldn’t. I’ve finally brought myself around to drinking a beer from San Francisco again, and Anchor Bock Beer is as good of a beer as any to jump back in with.
This bock pours a deep ruby to mahogany color with a tan head. This beer is much dark then what I was expecting. Generally bock’s tend to be lighter in color and double bocks tend to be closer to the color of this beer. While this beer is dark, light does pass through the clear liquid. The nose is very sweet with some strong caramels and slight bread. There is not real hop odor on the nose to cancel out any of the sweetness.
Caramel is the first flavor that I noticed when drinking this bock. The caramel is super sweet but it fades into a nice chocolate roast flavor. Again, there are not hops in this beer to help cut through the sweetness, but the slight roast helps in this respect. I found this beer to have a cigar quality to it. There was just something in it that reminded me of smoking a cigar on my back deck.
I liked this Anchor offering. It was not what I was expecting from a bock as it was far darker and roastier than expected, but it was decent. This beer would be good on those cold spring days that are full of sun, but not warmth. Continue reading
I’m not sure how long this beer has been out, but it recently showed up on the shelves of my local beer store and it hasn’t left since it showed up (like a lot beers tend to do). Ruthless Rye IPA is brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company of Chico, CA and it is obviously a rye IPA. I’ve had a number of different takes on rye beers (pale ales and doulbe IPAs among others) and I have really liked the extra flavor component that it gives a beer. It imparts a very distinct note to the malt character of a beer that fits perfectly with hops.
Ruthless Rye IPA pours a nice amber color and has an off-white head. The nose is packed with bright hops that leap out of the glass. The hops are full of citrus aromas with some piney smells lingering in the background. There is also a spiciness to the nose. Some people might attribute this to the rye as rye is often said to be spicy in beers, but I think it is more from a mix of hops than anything else. Maybe the rye does impart a smell, but I didn’t notice it enough to make note of.
On my first tasting I was impressed with the amount of malt that comes through on such a hoppy smelling beer. The malt is very nice and slightly sweet with a good amount of rye flavor. The spiciness pops up again but it is slightly different than a hop spice as a spicy hop flavor comes in quickly after the rye flavor departs.
I found this beer to be super drinkable and something that I could have on a regular basis. I plan on getting more so that I can try to construct a homebrew recipe around this beer. I liked it that much. The flavors are very balanced and while the hops are prevalent, they are not the stars of the show. The balance is what is key to this beer and the rye flavor just adds a cherry to the top of this one. Continue reading
It’s no secret that I dig Victory Brewing Company. In my book they make some of the best beers on the
east coast and I am constantly amazed at the number of different beers they put out each year. They are actually working on adding a second location as the home base in Downingtown, PA can no longer be expanded. When I first started drinking craft beer, today’s beer, Prima Pils, is one of the beers that I immediately gravitated to.
Just as any pilsner should, Prima Pils pours a nice clear golden color with a fluffy white head. The nose has a decent amount of malt and sweetness. There are bits of biscuit in there along with some prevalent honey odors. I also get some nice hop aroma, but not overpoweringly so. These hops sit in the background but promise to show themselves at a more convenient time. If I had to describe the hops in a broad way, I would call them “noble smelling.” One big difference with this pilsner is that there is no lager sulfur smell. I don’t know if the brief wisp of hops mask it or if it is brewed so cleanly that the sulfur doesn’t come. In any case, it’s nice not to have it there.
On the first taste I got a nice sweetness that felt authentic. It reminded me deeply of a German pilsner that I had last summer. The honey flavors come back in along with some nice solid bread. Just as all of the malt flavors are wrapping themselves up, a nice does of hops kick in. Again, these hops are strong compared to a pale ale, but they are assertive for a pilsner. I’m guessing that people who are used to drinking light American lagers will not like this one at first because the hops are bold compared to their former beers. I want to stress that this isn’t a hoppy beer in a bitterness sense, but the hops add a great balancing force.
I fell in love with this beer several years ago and I still love it to this day. While this one is more hoppy than most pilsners, I still find it to strike a nice balance. It is very drinkable and I find myself being a regular consumer of this beer. Continue reading
I know that I haven’t been posting much on my brewpub dream recently, but the dream still holds strong. Right now I am settle and unsettled. My wife is currently finishing up her PhD and after she finishes it, we don’t know where exactly we are going to be living. We both intend on living on the east coast, but that still leaves a lot of options and we could head west if a job presents itself.
While I’ve kind of stopped looking at a specific area, I’ve been doing a fair amount of research on the numbers. In particular I’ve been looking at the size of brewhouse needed, the costs associated with said brewhouse, and the size needed for a brewpub. I’ve heard a few estimates that for every seat that a brewpub has, you should assume that it will consume 5-10 barrels of beer per year. So depending on where we end up, I may need a large brewhouse, or a slightly smaller one. From what I have read it is safe to assume that in a non-craft-beer-friendly area, that 5 barrels per seat is a good estimate. On the east coast, I would go on the higher end of the range as the area is well versed with craft brew. I have a number of other facts and figures to share, but currently I’m writing this on my Kindle Fire, which is not an idea blogging platform. Thanks for the questions and emails that I get asking for updates.