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Flying Dog Brewery Tour

There’s something about connecting with the people who make the beer that gives us full perspective. It’s not really a surprise that even the most mediocre of wines, spirits, and beer taste better at the place they’re made. You can feel the passion and energy and time that has gone into the product as you enviously watch the Brewmaster rave about his latest test brew, knowing that he is doing exactly what he was put on this Earth to do. But what if you make the pilgrimage to a place where the product is already fantastic to begin with?

Magical things happen.

ZaytinyaWhat have I been up to lately? Lots of things. I’ve been around the world a few times, and worked in a few different industries. And I keep getting drawn back into beer. I’m currently at a wonderful restaurant in Washington, D.C. called Zaytinya (Greek, Lebanese, and Turkish cuisine from the famed chef Jose Andrés (Twitter link here). Although beer isn’t primarily what we’re known for, we’ve got an excellent lineup of styles considering our limited draft handle space. I get to share those beers with people, and that’s fun.

One such brewery represented on our list is Flying Dog, located in Frederick, Maryland.

People like local beer, and the stories behind the beer. To help us convey their message and tell their story, Flying Dog was kind enough to pick us up in their excellent beer-themed RV for an afternoon at their Frederick, MD brewery.

Flying Dog RV

Flying Dog wasn’t always located in Maryland. In fact, they were originally founded in Aspen, Colorado in 1990, making them quite OG when it comes to brewing craft beer. With artwork by Ralph Steadman, best known for producing artwork for Hunter S. Thompson, as well as something about a painting in a Pakistani hotel, plenty of alcohol, a K2 excursion, and the words “Flying” and “Dog” being connected for the first time (story here), the beer began to flow.

Flying Dog acquired the Maryland space sometime in 2005, and finally moved all of their operations to Maryland in 2008 to meet growing demand. My Zaytinya friends and I spent all afternoon at this marvelous place, and here’s what we found:

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Awesome Murals by Ralph Steadman in the front hallway.

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Complete irreverence and awesomeness.

Brewhouses

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Shiny stainless steel fermentation tanks, lauter tuns, and brew kettles.

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Trying fresh wort before it becomes Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch IPA. Awesome.

I had the opportunity to try quite a few unique brews. A favorite – their Cinnamon Porter. The Cinnamon was quite subtle but ever present, and this must be one of the more balanced, interesting porters I’ve had in quite some time. Certainly something I’d love to see on the shelves.

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We hung out for awhile, talked about hop production, drank way too much K9 Cruiser Winter Warmer (notes of caramel, cocoa, and booze, 7.4% ABV), and headed home for the day.

Brewery tours are a favorite way of mine to spend the day. Sure, I needed a serious nap after all of this excitement, but there are few things better than connecting with people who are passionate about what they make, and love to share their story.

Thanks to Flying Dog for having us out and doing just that.

Thanks to Petey for driving. You’re the man.

Cheers,
Jameson

BeerGenius News, Tours

Franziskaner Hefeweizen

Okay, okay. I’m sorry. Really. Been far too long, although delicious beers are consumed daily. So I was on the phone with my dad earlier today, and he gave me plenty of crap for not having posted for two months. So, to kick the new year off correctly, thought I’d review a beer that doesn’t quite get enough attention – Franziskaner Weissbier.

Franziskaner is best consumed at any time of the year, and it pairs well with a myriad of dishes. Really hard to go wrong with this one.

My dad also reviewed a version of the style on his Posterous blog – you can see that review here: http://andyhuckaba.posterous.com/samuel-adams-white-ale

Let’s check it out:

The Breakdown:

Beer: Franziskaner Hefeweizen
ABV: 5%
Brewer: Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu – Munich, Germany
Availability: Pretty sure you can find it.
Reviewed by: Jameson Huckaba (twitter: @jamesonhuckaba)

Beer Reviews, Wheat
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Sampler time @ Bailey’s Taproom (Portland)

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Alright. Another mobile post brought to you because I felt impulsive.

A favorite spot of mine in dear Portland is Bailey’s Taproom (www.baileystaproom.com) on SW 8th and Broadway (ish). The place is unique because although they *only* have 20 taps, none of the brew they carry is typical. In fact, the list is so unique that I’ve seen half of the beers within the course of the day switch to something else entirely. That is to say that most of their beers are unique, atypical seasonals from local(ish) breweries. We’re going to sample five:

* Jackalope Pumpkin Porter from Beer Valley
* XXXXX Stout from Pike
* Midnight Harvest Fresh Hop ESB from Vertigo
* Oktoberfest from Fanno Creek
* Fusion III Imperial Stout from Lagunitas

Let’s get going.

Jackalope Pumpkin Porter –
Pours a rich chocolate brown, persistent khaki head. Notes of some serious fall spices with the backdrop of your favorite halloween squash and subtle toasted malt. A marvelous, relatively high level of carbonation keeps this beer from being too heavy on the palate, but the beer remains just a bit too uninteresting to really pull me in.
79/100

* Pike XXXXX Stout
Pours rich obsdian w a light brown soapy head. Very little on the nose. A mouthful of bitter roasted malt w the lingering of cacao on the palate gives stout lovers, especially ones of coffee stouts, exactly what they are looking for. Not overly heavy, but extremely rich mouthfeel reminds me of some excellent classics i ‘ve had. One I could get used to.
86/100

* Midnight Harvest VSB
A gorgeous deep honey amber w a thin head. While most beers are brewed with dried hops, the Northwest, along with other hop-producing regions in the world, is known for beers hopped with fresh hops. Although brewing with this method requires as much as 10x the amount of hops, the style, depending on the beer to be hopped, lends itself to a rich, earthy, oily experience with the beer. This ESB is no exception, being somewhat on the low side of the carbonation scale, which highlights the citrusy, grassy characteristic of the hop flower. Mild notes of cinnamon and honey balance it out – this beer is quite exceptional.
92/100

* Fanno Creek Oktoberfest
Classic fall style here, with a classic amberish appearance. Thin, non-existent head. On the palate, the small-producer vibe is readily apparent with toasted walnuts and a touch of licorice. Almost nothing on the finish, which makes this an enjoyable, highly quaffable version of the classic style from Munich.
87/100

* Lagunitas Fusion III
Definitely can’t see through this one, like a good imperial stout. While I haven’t done any research on this beer, I’m going to stab in the dark by saying this is a blend of a few different things, hence ‘fusion.’ Mouthfeel is almost hot like whiskey, combined with classic gritty toasted chocolate malt. Super full-bodied. Despite the borderline offensive initial first impression, the beer transforms on the palate and goes down in an incredibly smooth fashion with just the slightest lingering of delicious sweetness. Love this one.
93\100

So there we go. Excuse my typos :-)

Hope you all have a marvelous weekend.

Beer Reviews
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A Barrel-Aged Red, you say?

So in the Barrel-Aging craze of the past few years, we’ve seen a whole lot of porters and stouts, with the occasional pale aged in some interesting wood (thank you Rogue). Those of you who know me know that I love and appreciate a really good red. Unfortunately, good ones can be hard to find. Thankfully, there are such wonderful options out there as Karl Strauss’ Red Trolley, which, by the way, just won a gold medal at the recent GABF. We also have other wonderful options, such as Klamath Basin Brewing Co’s Drop Dead Red. But I digress.

How about a new option? Barrel-age the red for a year, and keep everything in balance. One local brewery was certainly up to the task – check out our review of Lompoc’s Barrel-Aged NW Red below.

The Breakdown:

Beer: Lompoc Barrel-Aged NW Red Ale
ABV: 8.1%
Brewer: Lompoc Brewing Co – Portland, OR
Availability: Oregon, Washington State(?)
Reviewed by: Jameson Huckaba (twitter: @jamesonhuckaba)

Amber Ales, Beer Reviews, Seasonals
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Karl Strauss Oktoberfest

I LOVE the Oktoberfest style, and Karl Strauss Brewing Co in San Diego was nice enough to send me a few bottles of their newly-released take on this classic fall style. As the weather begins to get colder, I think people truly begin to appreciate a toastier beer, without jumping off the deep end into ridiculous stouts and porters that have been aging in whiskey barrels for the past however many years.

See our video below for our thoughts on this one:

Really killer, I wish this beer was available in Portland. It would most likely be my volume beer for some time to come.

And here’s the breakdown:

Beer: Karl Strauss Oktoberfest
ABV: 5%
Brewer: Karl Strauss Brewing Co – San Diego, California
Availability: California.
Reviewed by: Jameson Huckaba (twitter: @jamesonhuckaba)

Beer Reviews
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KU vs. K-State party, hosted by Boulevard, The Oread, FSN

My alma mater, the lovely University of Kansas, will be playing the purple people from Manhattan, KS (the little apple, not the big one) on October 14th. This is the 100th consecutive meeting between the two teams, and is highly anticipated, especially with the arrival of the Jayhawks’ new head coach, Mr. Turner Gill.

So, there’s a party surrounding the event, on the roof of the Oread Hotel overlooking the stadium. It’s an absolutely insane view of Lawrence, KU’s campus, and the stadium, if you haven’t yet been, and would probably be the perfect spot for you to get your drink on before/during/after the game.

FOX Sports Midwest will be there co-hosting the party on the roof, to begin at 3:30 pm, broadcasting and such. Should be quite the event – I would attend if I could!

As far as beer? Last I knew, the Oread Hotel served Modus Hoperandi and True Blonde in cans from Ska Brewing Co (Durango, CO). See the above links to my reviews of the two.

Full press release below:

KANSAS CITY, Mo., October 1, 2010 – One of the most anticipated games of the college football season locally is between in-state rivals: the University of Kansas and Kansas State University. On October 14th, Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kansas, will be packed with fans from both sides cheering on their teams. The stadium parking lot and student front yards won’t be the only places for fans to ramp up their spirits before the game; Boulevard Brewing Co., along with The Oread hotel and FOX Sports Midwest, will host a pregame party on the hotel’s 9th floor terrace for spectators to sport their college colors, enjoy a cold Boulevard beer and bask in the hype leading up to kick-off.
“We are excited to be a part of this Kansas tradition,” says John McDonald, founder and president of Boulevard Brewing Co. “Both Lawrence and Manhattan have shown great Boulevard pride over the years and for us to be able to help provide a celebration for students, alumni and other fans to show their university pride, is an honor for the brewery.”
FOX Sports Midwest (FSN) will start the night’s broadcast with the pregame show, Boulevard Rivarlies Live, at 6 p.m. FSN will highlight cutaway footage from The Oread festivities during the show, providing fans a chance to show viewers watching at home on either FOX Sports Midwest or FOX Sports Kansas City, their team pride.
“This year’s game is the 100th consecutive meeting between the schools, making it the nation’s fourth-longest uninterrupted series,” said Nancy Longhurst, general manager of The Oread. “We can’t think of a better way to celebrate than showing viewers at home folks celebrating on the top of our hotel,”
In addition to this game, Boulevard Rivalries Live will air on FOX Sports Midwest immediately prior to the Kansas vs. Missouri game on November 17th. The shows prepare fans for the games, breaking down the match-ups and delivering the latest news from the site of the game, along with buzz from throughout the Big 12.
About Boulevard Brewing Company
Boulevard Brewing Company has grown to be the largest specialty brewer in the Midwest, dedicated to the craft of producing fresh, flavorful beers using traditional ingredients and the best of both old and new brewing techniques. Boulevard’s portfolio of year-round and seasonal beers are available in nine Midwestern states, with selected offerings distributed in an additional 10 states.
About The Oread Hotel
The Oread, Lawrence’s newest premiere hotel, is the most unique and complete center for lodging, hospitality, business and social leisure activities in the region, perched atop Mount Oread, at the north gate of The University of Kansas. The Oread is currently taking reservations for rooms, conferences, meetings, parties and weddings at (785) 843-1200 orwww.theoread.com.
About FOX Sports
FOX Sports Midwest, a regional sports television network, is the leading provider of local sports in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa, reaching more than 5.9 million television homes.  FOX Sports Midwest telecasts more than 2000 hours of live local programming each year, including St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, and Cincinnati Reds baseball, St. Louis Blues hockey, Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever basketball, plus Big 12, Missouri Valley Conference, Kansas State University, University of Missouri and University of Nebraska athletics, local high school sports and much more.
FSN is the nation’s leading provider of local sports.  Through its 19 owned-and-operated regional networks, FSN serves as the TV home to more than half of all MLB, NHL and NBA teams. In 2006, FSN launched FOX Sports Indiana, a regional network that airs Pacers basketball and Reds baseball.  FOX Sports Indiana reaches 1.2 million homes in Indiana (those 1.2 million homes are counted in the 5.9 million home for FOX Sports Midwest).  In 2008, FSN launched FOX Sports Kansas City, a regional network that airs Royals baseball and Kansas State basketball and reaches more than 1.6 million homes in western Missouri and Kansas.


Beer Reviews
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Nano Brewfest – the report

So while the rest of Portland was at Hopworks Urban Brewery’s Biketoberfest event, I spent some time at Nano Fest at Green Dragon Brewpub in Oregon. It’s still going on today until approximately 9pm, and it’s definitely worth checking out. Green Dragon is a new venture affiliated with Rogue, and they JUST began brewing their own beer. They’re located at 928 SE 9th in Portland, and the brew fest occupies that entire block.

What exactly is a nano brewery, you may ask? The approximate definition is a brewery that doesn’t brew more than 1,000 barrels a year, or 2,000 kegs. So all of these guys brew commercially. Some brew a little by choice, and others are hoping to break out of the nano category within the next year – and certainly have the capacity to do so. One of such breweries is the Klamath Basin Brewing Company.

Klamath Basin, in my opinion, was the star of the show. Brewmaster Corey Zschoche, who I had the chance to interview (to be posted later this afternoon), brought his Drop Dead Red and Crystal Springs IPA. I was extremely pleased with the red – a difficult style to do, and there are so many poor examples out there – and the IPA was a well-rounded, enjoyable west coast IPA. Klamath Basin Brewing Co just started bottling their beers, and I’m going to see if I can find some for a proper review soon.

Others worth mentioning – Walkabout Brewery in Central Point, OR, Upright’s Five and Six, and Natian’s Lumber Jane Stout were all quite good.

So yeah, an afternoon of fun, for sure. I’m considering going back again today :)

Beer Reviews, BeerGenius News, Microbreweries
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Dang. It has been awhile.

So I started this new job in Portland that has been sucking up all of my time. No worries, though, because I have some fantastic news for you all.

I’ve been invited to write for Examiner.com as the Northwest District craft beer examiner. Just a few of the breweries that exist up in this little corner of Portland:

…and a bunch of others in close proximity. Really very cool. So I’ll be covering events and beer from these quite regularly as my examiner site gets up and running. Links forthcoming.

Anyway, today, I’m heading to the Nano Fest, an event geared around ‘nano’ breweries – those with super super small production facilities. It’s held at Green Dragon, a new brewery associated with Rogue in the inner Southeast of Portland. I’m really quite excited for it. So I’ll take a bunch of pictures for you, and you can live vicariously through me. Or just show up. Details:

Much love, my friends. Talk to you soon.

- Jameson

Beer Reviews
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Oregon Beer Festival – the tastings

So as you know, I tried to live blog the media event at Oregon Brewers Festival yesterday, and it didn’t work out very well. So I shot some 20 second reviews with my other camera, and just put them together. See below:

My favorites of the tasting were Terminal Gravity’s Single Hop Double IPA, Boulevard’s Tank 7, and Green Flash’s Le Freak. Very good, and very memorable.

Much love,
Jameson

Beer Reviews
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Oregon Brewers Festival Live Coverage

And I’m trying something new – uploading directly from my phone without any editing to see if we can get some more immediate coverage on the beer festival. Listed chronologically from oldest to newest:

Alright, so I had some serious connectivity problems with my phone while at the festival. Just now getting videos up – I apologize for the wait! Didn’t work out as well as I had hoped.

Beer Reviews