President and CEO Jim Caruso takes a break from celebrating the brewery’s 20th anniversary to walk us through five of Flying Dog’s stand-out brews.
“This is an unfiltered double pale ale, and our highest ABV beer at 12.5%—a couple of these and I sleep like a rock, and I’m a lifelong insomniac. Some double pale ales out there have that caramel, syrupy taste, but with ours, you’ll pick up a lot more citrus, grapefruit, resin and pine. It’s definitely on the citrus side and not the sweet side: We use insane amounts of Cascade and Columbus hops. It’s just a great beer that’ll knock you on your ass.”
Snake Dog IPA
“I absolutely love this beer. Snake Dog uses big Warrior and Columbus hops, and comes in around 7.1% ABV with about 60 IBUs. Like most of our hoppy beers, you’ll pick up citrusy, grapefruit characteristics. This is the beer—before Raging Bitch came along—that would be the first thing I’d pull off one of our tap lines after work and drink with the guys.”
“This is our 20th anniversary beer, and it has what I call the four Cs. When you first taste this Belgian-style American IPA, it’s kind of confusing, but intriguing enough that the second C, curiosity, sets in. The third is caution: It’s an 8.3%-ABV beer, but it’s so well-balanced there’s no alcohol burn whatsoever. Finally, there’s contentment. You get a lot of grapefruit, pine characteristics and tropical fruit, Belgian spice with a little trace of sweet malt. Five or six pints of this will give you a hangover we call the Bitch Slap.”
Doggy Style Classic Pale Ale
“We first brewed Doggy Style 20 years ago in Aspen. It’s loaded with Cascade hops, so you get a lot of powerful hop aroma and, ever so slightly, a sweet caramel body. Without a doubt, there’s a distinctive hop bite toward the finish. I wouldn’t call this a session beer, but at 5.5% ABV you could easily drink a couple of these. Doggy Style is our staple and a rock-solid seller, even though the more sophisticated drinkers are starting to leap-frog pale ales and go right to IPAs.”
Gonzo Imperial Porter
“Hunter S. Thompson died by his own hand in 2005, and we brewed this beer in his honor. The proceeds were contributed to the 150-foot double-thumbed peyote fist that blew his ashes into space. The thing about our imperial porter is that it has a very dry finish: It has a lot of that Cascade hop aroma and it’s very dark and malty, but it also has a pretty serious hop kick at the end.”
Where: 4607 Wedgewood Blvd., Frederick, Md., flyingdogales.com
Recent success: Named “Mid-sized Brewing Company of the Year” at the 2009 GABF.