I’ve been on a lot of brewery tours. I like beer. I like factories. So it seems like an interesting way to spend a little time.
This was, I think, the best brewery tour I’ve ever been on. I learned more about how beer is made at Flying Dog in Frederick.
After hearing the story of how Flying Dog got its name, how it moved from Colorado and Hunter S. Thompson‘s connection to the beer — you have to hear all this for yourselves — the actual tour of the brewery begins. You need the glass — which is more like a goblet — because you’re going to taste the various stages of beer along the way: the tea-like water and barley brew before fermentation, the first ferment that tastes like beer and the beers themselves after the tour.
Tours take about 45 minutes as you pass though each stage of making, fermenting, bottling and packaging the beer. Our guide was knowledgeable with a sense of humor. I find the creation of beer (and wine for that matter) a matter of magic but as we walked through the stages of brewing at Flying Dog the whole process got a little clearer.
Flying Dog is the 33rd largest craft brewery in the country, and the largest in Maryland. The beers created here are available all over the country as well as in Europe. (It’s pretty impressive if a beer from the United States sells overseas, I hear.)
Yet the tasting room is pretty intimate. On the afternoon of my visit, I was advised to arrive as soon as the tasting room opened to be sure I got on the 4:30 p.m. tour. They also told me weekend tours are pretty crowded so I was happy with my convivial group of about 10. The only way to get a glass of beer here is to take the tour. If you want a growler filled, you can get that any time the tasting room is open. Buy one here or bring your own. They’ll fill anybody’s growler.
Nice way to spend an afternoon. But then I don’t think I’ve ever been disappointed by a brewery tour. Thanks, Flying Dog. Thanks, Seneca. Your tour was great.
© Text and photos
Mary K. Tilghman