I do enjoy beer, but am not that much of an expert, so I was delighted to be asked to a tutored tasting of Flying Dog Ales, at the Sloaney Pony (aka the White Horse on Parsons Green) as part of their American Beer celebration.
The first indication that the tasting was going to be quite special was the appearance of Oz Clarke. Oz is a man who knows his wine and beer, and must be asked to umpteen events every evening, so I am sure that he is fairly selective about which ones he chooses to attend.
The Flying Dog brewery, is based in Maryland, USA and was established in 1990. They bought over six beers for us to try, covering a full range of styles, and regaled us with the story of the founding of the brewery, a tale ranging from a seemingly foolhardy climbing expedition on K2 to the influences of Hunter S Thompson, the original gonzo journalist and author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Chief brewer is Matt Brophy, who started brewing at 17 (in a state where the legal drinking age was 21 – apparently his parents were delighted that he had found an interest) and thus has been brewing half his life. He became head brewer in 2003.
On to the beers. There is a progression as my notes got less detailed with every beer tasted. Respect to those who had been at the Great British Beer Festival all day and left the tasting standing.
In Heat Wheat 4.7% ABV
With a German style, made with 50% malted wheat
Strong banana flavours, overlayed with clover. Very refreshing.
Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale 5.5% ABV
An American style pale ale, made with American ingredients where the hops are more assertive.
Similarly refreshing. Hints of apple aromas, with citrus.
Single Hop Centennial Imperial IPA 10 ABV
Very hoppy, thick powerful IPA. Very lively, might be considered unbalanced. Hints of mango, lychee & caramel
Raging Bitch 8.3% AVB
“Belgian IPA”. Can’t remember too much about this one – I scribbled thick and caramel on my notes. The tasting notes say sweet malty body, contrasted with pine & grapefruit hop flavours and exotic fruity notes.
Dog Schwarz 7.8% ABV
Made in a similar style to German Rauchbier, with the smoky flavour coming from malted barley dried over an open flame.
Smoked double lager. Dark. Sweet, smoky. Flavours of bacon. Lovely. Perfect with bacon, BBQ, Pork.
Gonzo Imperial Porter 9.2% ABV
A warm, dark, sweet porter. Flavours of chocolate, coffee & Tia Maria. Lovely – perfect for puddings. I want to bake something using it.
All Flying Dog beers are vegan.
“Good people drink good beer”
Flying Dog motto.
Thank you to Flying Dog for a fun and informative evening.