I personally love to visit breweries. I live roughly two to three miles from DC Brau, so it’s not to hard to visit a brewery about any time I want. I don’t actually get over there that often, but it’s nice to know I can. I’ve tried to visit other breweries when I can. I’ve been to Victory twice; although, I’m not certain they allow you to tour it. I’ve been to Brooklyn; however, it was probably one of the worst tours I’ve been to. Therefore, I was really hopeful my first time up to Flying Dog would be exceptional.
Flying Dog is a pretty popular brewery in the area, and they apparently love to give back to the restaurants that carry their products. The GM at the restaurant I work at knows I’m a really big fan of beer, so he let me know about a special manager trip up to tour and taste at the brewery. Thankfully, because my GM is awesome, he got me on the trip. I was told to meet at the restaurant at 10 AM to catch my ride up to the brewery. I wasn’t really sure what the ride would be like, but I was hopeful it wouldn’t be too bad because car sickness is a big problem of mine. Arriving at the restaurant, I was extremely excited to see the Flying Dog RV parked on the corner.
The RV is evidently the transportation Flying Dog sends out for these type of events. The RV had some comfy seating around the perimeter, chalkboard paint for the walls, and (most importantly) two kegs of Flying Dog brew. Ironically, the day before, another group from the restaurant had gone out and basically kicked both kegs. Before we had even managed to pour a beer for every member of our group, we were totally out of beer. Seems ironic on a trip all about beer. Thankfully we managed to get some bottles on the way up to compensate for the empty kegs.
Getting to the brewery, we were immediately ushered into the tasting room to get to our free and unlimited tasting of some of the different brews they had available at the moment. There were plenty of beers on tap that were a part of their standard line-up; however, there were a few interesting brews as well. Flying Dog has been working on their single hop series of beer and, while I’ve had a few of them, the two they had on tap I hadn’t had before. Their beers with Galaxy hops and Nelson Sauvin hops were really good. The barrel aged Gonzo porter was amazing and, having never had their coffee stout (Kujo) before, I was quite pleased with it as well. The other beers were pretty good as well; however, I promise you I didn’t have the International Arms race beer.
After quite a bit of tasting, we headed off to tour the brewery. If you read my review of my visit to Brooklyn, you know I got angry about how bad their tour was. Thankfully, Flying Dog does a much better job. They start you off on a wall full of different paintings related to the different things that got their brews brewing. Everything from how their founder got the idea from climbing K2 to pictures relating to the great brews they’ve made and are making. My visit to Brooklyn brewery involved standing in one room while a guy on a ladder pointed at different stuff and then we left. At Flying Dog, we walked around the entire place. We were shown all the different brew kettles, the hops, the fermentation tanks, the bottling, and the packaging. They left no stone unturned.
We headed back to the tasting room for a few more good beers, and I couldn’t leave without picking up some rare bottles. I grabbed a vintage bottle of their Horndog Barleywine from 2009 and a bottle of a brewery only St. Eadmon Belgian Dark Ale. Don’t worry I’m sure there will be some reviews forthcoming. Finally, right before heading out, we got to meet the CEO Jim Caruso. I’m not going to say it was some crazy experience, but it’s cool to say I shook his hand.
In the end, I should have eaten a lot more that day because things got a little hazy on the way home; however, it was a great trip and I’m really glad I got to go on it. If you haven’t been to Flying Dog before, you definitely need to get up there. I’m sure they are slightly more limited on their tastings, but it was a nice place full of nice people. Oh and the beer is really good!