Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This post wasn’t supposed to happen.

“Good people drink good beer” –Hunter S. Thompson

Monday I had an appointment to have my wisdom teeth extracted. However, the lovely folks at my dental insurance managed to lose any record of me in their system…so the appointment was postponed. As mad as I was at the time, it worked out for the best. The suckers are being taken out next week and I had the opportunity to watch the Nuggets game, and Melo was back after a five game absence.

But on to beer.

To help me recuperate from my frustrating day my friend, Kyle, agreed to tolerate watching a Nuggets game with me. We met at his local, Don’s, which is conveniently down the street from me. Now that I have this blog, every drink becomes a lesson and a potential blogpost. Given the circumstances I took it as a sign that I should pay attention to my beer, not just the game, and contribute to the blog.

Having received a request to discuss Flying Dog on my last post (I have a feeling I know who you are, anonymous.), I figured I’d try their Tire Bite Golden Ale, which Don’s carried on tap.

I’ve never found one of their beers that I really love, but I do have a personal appreciation for their craft. It was while drinking Flying Dog in New York City years ago that I solidified my friendship with the woman who suggested I start this blog. Maybe it’s the number of unfiltered beers they carry, or that I just haven’t tried the right one, but it’s not among my favorite breweries, or even close.

Tire Bite reminds me of Samurai, Great Divide’s rice ale, but with a weaker flavor, so it’s easier for me to drink more than one. It has a slight bitter taste, which I felt seemed out of character for a golden, or at least my expectations of what a golden should be. Turns out I was wrong.

Golden ales are, from what I’ve gathered, intended to be a more complex lager with malty flavors and a slight bitterness that contrasts the spicy or citrusy flavor also found in the beer. It’s expected to have a dry flavor, which Tire Bite definitely did, and four to five percent alcohol. Knowing all this, I need to revisit the beer. All I know is after two beers, I swapped to Titan IPA.

Now some information about the brewery:

I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I didn’t notice this before, but sometimes I miss the obvious. It turns out that Flying Dog has connections to one of my favorite journalists, the man who proved to me that journalism was still entertaining when I was dragging through the second half of my degree: Hunter S. Thompson.

The reason this is an embarrassing lapse of knowledge is among Hunter’s other contributions to the brewery, which includes a hefty unpaid tab, is introducing the brewers to Ralph Steadman. Ralph Steadman is one of those names I should know, but can never remember. Simply put he did this:

As well as this:

Flying Dog is Gonzo beer. And my respect for their brewery just grew. (This is the kind of trivia I love. Expect more of it in posts to come.)

The question posed to me by “anonymous” was about Flying Dog moving from Colorado to Maryland. At the end of 2007, the brewers at Flying Dog acquired a state-of-the-art facility in Fredrick, Maryland, about 45 minutes outside Washington D.C. (D.C. friends, you should go visit for me.) Before moving, the brewery sold about 60% of their beer east of the Mississippi and with an increase in the cost of raw materials (hops, malt, glass, etc), moving their brewery would make it more efficient. Overall smart business. The corporate office remained in Denver, maintaining Flying Dog’s, at least in my opinion, status as a Colorado brewery. And with an Aspen-based history like that, it’s hard to deny that they’ll always be Coloradans.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the answer on Flying Dog. And yes I have always loved the Steadman art they have on all their products. I was sad, though, that it moved out of Colorado. Not sure why since it won't change my personal ability to drink it, but I just culturally THINK of it as a rocky mountain beverage.

    Okay, smarty pants... Here's your next research project. River Horse brewery.
    This is a new discovery I have made. I love this beer. The problem is that about 1 in every 4 or 5 bottles explodes into foam when you open it!

    So my questions:
    1) Can you tell me why a random handful of every 12 pack would foam over when opened? Why does this happen - thus wasting delicious beer?

    2) Do you know River Horse? Have you tried 'em? Are they someone to watch? Discuss!

    I remain, as ever, anonymous...