Flying Dog and the American Microbrewery Revival

As I was planning to host a nice party for my friends, I decided to go for a USA theme. Having lived in the US, I got a lot of ideas for foods and drinks right-away. I could not, however, decide on which beer to go for. Back in the days (1994-1995) when I lived in Pennsylvania, I used to enjoy beers like Rolling Rock and Pabst Blue Ribbon. For this party, I wanted something more special than that. So I reached out to my 169,000 Twitter-followers and asked them to advise. It took me almost and hour to go through all the advice I got and a couple of hours more to check out the recommend beers. I did not know there are almost 1,800 microbreweries in the States! My quest had become clear: no boring big brewery watery beer, but a regular beer that tastes clean and crisp and is great to quench thirsts, yet providing something unexpected and new. And it had to be available in Holland, which narrowed it down a bit.

A brewery that turned up quite a number of times in the advices I got, was Flying Dog. Good tasting beers and available in Holland. Good start! This brewery looks exciting, cool and new! See quoted text below for more background. Flying Dog has a number of different beers in their portfolio. I first decided on finding a regular beer, without it being too common-tasting.

Flying Dog’s Tire Bite delivers just that; a good beer that’s easy to love with a nice extra bite to it. Hence the name Flying Dog and hence the slogan “Good people drink good beer”. For the good people that visited my party, I wanted to take things a little further though. The label says Golden Ale but the beer also tastes (Continental) European. Everyone who tried this beer, liked it. It’s fresh, it’s fruity and it’s fun. I built an ice bar outside in the snow and with -4 C outside, the beer was as cold as it can be. Wow, this is a memory I will be recalling often when I am going to be craving for an ice cold Tire Bite on a hot summer’s day. The American hop really comes to life in this beer. Highly recommended! So, check, the Tire Bite proved a good beer, but the quest is not completely fulfilled yet. After all, at a party you want to go wild sometimes. That’s where two other awesome Flying Dog brews came in barking and biting.

One of them is the Doggie Style pale ale. My first sip immediately reminded me of the traditional English beers. Doggie Style has a lot of character to it with strong flavors and hoppy bitterness. Not as easy to like as regular beers, but that’s exactly what you’re looking for when you open a special beer: an interesting friend with sort of a dark side to him.
The higher barrier makes it very well suited to accompany a broad range of foods and good company on long evenings. Kudos to the Doggie! My party guests who tried it certainly were pleasantly surprised. Even now, two days later, I can’t get this beer out of my head, le me keeps thinking of it’s complex range of flavors.

The third Flying Dog beer we tried, is Raging Bitch. Some of my friends, after hearing out my explanation on the contents of that night’s bar, immediately jumped for the Raging Bitch. I am sure it was the name that got them attracted from the get-go and, by the look on their wifes’ faces, there might have been some deeper grounds to it as well…
Raging Bitch’s label promised a relation to Belgian Special beers, and boy, were we not disappointed! I am a very big fan of Belgian Special beers, and Raging Bitch absolutely reminded me of some famous tripels. The Bitch did not stop at that, though, as this beer has a lot of qualities that give it a very strong identity of its own.

All in all, I must conclude that meeting the Flying Dog Ales has been a pleasant and surprising experience, shared by my party guests, both male and female. It says enough that I am now left with a lot of wine that I bought for the party. These dog beers have completely overturned the beer-wine ratio I have gotten used to at soirees like these.

‘Nough said, try it for yourself, you won’t be disappointed!

Thanks @bierenco for bringing Flying Dog to my attention.

For my fellow Dutch countrymen (and -women :), if you want to get some Flying Dog yourself: you can! Here’s a link to the shop I got it from.

Backgrounds on Flying Dog

On the website of the brewer, I found some very interesting facts about the brewery and its history:

From a brewpub in Aspen, Colorado to a full-fledged Denver brewery, and then to a state-of-the-art brewing facility in Frederick, Maryland, Flying Dog stands for not only extraordinary beer, but also for standing tall, doing great things, and not letting anyone make you eat shit.

For the past 20 years, we’ve done just that. We produce world-class craft beers and continue to push the envelope with experimental brews and limited-edition one-offs. All the while, we continuously pay homage to our Gonzo Godfathers – George Stranahan, Hunter S. Thompson, and Ralph Steadman.

Most importantly, we have a lot of fun doing it. And we never take ourselves too seriously.


The American Beer Revival
Over the last hundred or so years, the brewing industry in the United States has changed dramatically. From the saloon era through consolidation to today’s flourishing craft beer culture, it’s been quite a ride. Check out this great 2 minute video and take a look at how the small brewer is making quite a comeback after nearly a half century of decline.

Thanks also to @bierliefhebber and all other Tweeps who helped me in my quest for good American beer!