I figured it would be appropriate to follow up my last post with a review of some of the fine beers at Flying Dog. Typically I would review one and call it a night, but seeing as I made such a hooplah about this brewery, I guess I can double it up and make a man out of myself.
All beers have a time and a place. At least that’s what I like to believe. I wouldn’t sit out on the beach and sip on a stout. It would make me feel gross. You gotta lay out the atmosphere and the mood and choose appropriately. Even the snootiest of beer drinkers might break down and buy something just to sip on that is outside their standards, if the time calls for it.
In no way am I claiming that this first beer is below me. It’s a good beer, just something that I normally wouldn’t partake in unless it was the right kind of time.
The thing I really want to do in this blog is make a review that the casual beer drinker can understand. A lot of reviews get fancy, naming the types of hops and how the flavor spins off of it, but I just want to say “Hey, if you like beer, you’ll like this” so people who have had weird experiences with craft beer won’t be uber timid to try something new.
Now what I’m getting at here is that sometimes you just want a beer. Nothing crazy. Just a beer. And thats what I found in the first beer I had.
This ol’ dogs name is Tire Bite by Flying Dog Brewery.
Type of Beer: Kölsch
Color: Straw yellow
A Kölsch is a beer of german origin, hailing from the city of Cologne/Köln, Germany. Traditionally they are warm fermented and then lagered, and are less bitter than some traditional lagers. However, for the average beer drinker you might just consider it a brother of a lager. A lesser known brother.
Now, to the beer. It pours nice enough, good solid head on it, with a pretty standard straw yellow color. Looks generic but it looks the part of a Kölsch (or so I hear). It has a nice subtle malt and hop smell to it, nothing overpowering. The flavor is subdued, not overly intense, like a standard beer. It’s crisp, but how relaxed it is just seems out of character with some of the other brews this place pumps out.
I’m not saying this is a bad beer, I actually would prefer one of these on a hot day over a wheat beer. It’s mellow, refreshing and it’s hard to beat a cold beer on a hot day. Like I said. Some days you just want a beer. And this would be that beer.
This girl gets a 6.5/10 on the beer-o-meter, because its one of those once in a while beers for those hot days. Nothing incredibly spectacular or groundbreaking, but incredibly drinkable.
Now onto the next beer…
If you haven’t read my last post, I highly suggest it. Me and my dear friend, and fellow writer for Baltimore Post-Examiner, Erik Hoffman took a trip to Flying Dog Brewery for a tour. The art on the bottles is a clear sign that Hunter S. Thompson had a hand in the style of the place. If that wasn’t enough proof for you, then take a step over to this next beer and taste the legacy.
Naturally it was named “Gonzo” after Gonzo Journalism, which Hunter S. Thompson popularized. For those of you who don’t know, gonzo is a style where the writer writes without objectivity and is often part of the story. Its a way of showing the personality of the writer, and giving the article a personality of its own.
This one is Gonzo Imperial Porter by none other than Flying Dog Brewery.
Type of Beer: Porter (More specifically a Baltic Porter)
Now, I would normally go into a big thing here about what a Baltic porter is, but I can’t say much. The more I learn about the differences between a porter and a stout the more confused I get. A stout was supposed to be a stoutest/strongest of the porters … but why is a Baltic porter not a stout if it is so str. … Never mind.
Well basically a Baltic porter is supposedly a porter based off of the Imperial stout that originated in the Baltic region. I’ll leave it at that. The line is to blurry to get more specific at this point (and not because I’ve been drinking). Onward!
It pours a beautiful black color with a carmel brown tinted head. The aroma is wonderful, but that’s a dark beer guy saying this. I smell dark malts, chocolate and a hint of coffee. Its a robust porter, all right. Bitter and beautiful. It has a burn to it from the ABV, but it’s not out of control. It doesn’t destroy the beer, it’s just something that’s there.
Now I’ve never had an “Imperial” porter before, but I’ve had a few Imperial stouts. The similarities are strikingly similar, which makes sense based on the origin story. The smells, the flavors, and the body. It makes for a damn delicious beer. And you know that if flying dog was going to make a beer in honor of Hunter S. Thompson, it couldn’t allow it to be something terrible.
The beer reflects the dude. Both the one it was made for, and the one that drinks it. Respect the beer and respect the legacy.
Good dudes drink good beer. Therefore good dudes drink Gonzo.
Let’s make that even better.
Good dudes drink Flying Dog.
Thomas Conner, the ‘Beer Dude’ has known to taste and make some of the finest beers in Charm City. He figures he has made more beer than he drank or is that vice versa. He doesn’t remember. If you catch him at a nearby Baltimore establishment drinking a beer, he reminds us sternly, it’s solely for research purposes. He doesn’t jot down notes. In fact, he highly recommends not drinking and writing because it interferes with the tasting. As always, he brings along a designated note-taker who also multi-tasks by driving him home. Drink and write responsibly and never at the same time is his motto. If you would like him to test out your establishment’s home brew, just pretend you’re at the O’s game, and yell, “Beer man.” He’ll hear you.