In December I had the chance to get a privately guided tour of a local favorite – Flying Dog Brewing. Based in Frederick MD since 2006, Flying Dog has been making great beer since 1990 and was previously based in Colorado. After brewing there for years Flying Dog quickly realized that they were sending a lot of beer to the east coast and moved over here to be closer to the fan base and clientele. It took them 2 years to get everything transitioned to the East Coast and full production began in 2008.
While on the tour we go the full background on the brewery itself including a long story involving Hunter S. Thompson, Ralph Steadman, climbing Mt. Everest, a painting at a pub, and Colorado that is best told by their tour guides which I am not. One of my favorite aspects of the brewery and their philosophy is that they love going local. Their walls are lined with local artist’s work that rotates, they buy local produce and ingredients to feature in their beers, and they promote other breweries in the area. To me, the show the true spirit of what craft beer stands for.
Many recognize their year-round beers like Raging Bitch and Doggie Style, but what’s unique about their tasting room is their “Brewhouse Rarities” collection. These beers are created from ideas presented at their annual company retreat where all employees have the opportunity to pitch a beer idea. We were lucky to try the Cinnamon Porter and Vineyard Blond from this series during our visit.
When visiting Flying Dog it is important to understand the way that Maryland beer laws work. Throughout the state rules are county-by-county and in Frederick County there are some silly work arounds for their tasting room. In order to come in do a ‘brewery tasting and tour’ like many of us are used to you have to spend $5 on the tour + glass and then you get 5 samples at the end of your tour. Most of us are glassware hoarders anyways so it’s not really asking a lot of us. The 5 sample rule is strictly enforced with the use of wristbands, but we’ve been told that this rule is soon to go with changing beer laws. Tours are available on by reservation only on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays with no children or babies allowed!