This Dog Don’t Hunt

Sometimes you really want to like something, but the spark’s just not there. For me that includes the new Battlestar Galactica, that hot girl I dated briefly in college, and (I get it, we’re uptight). These are all things that other people are crazy about and looked interesting to me, but I just don’t connect with. After working my way through a sampler of their brews, we can now add every beer from the Flying Dog brewery to that list, at least the ones I’ve tried so far.

Flying Dog makes beers that are perfect for the Bud drinker who wants to expand his or her horizons. They are gentle beers that do an adequate job of representing their particular styles. Like the Road Dog Porter I’m sipping right now. Nice mahogony color with a generous ivory head, but not much on the nose. A sip reveals a beer that tastes a lot like Guiness Draught but with a better, bitterer finish. There might be some chocolate or coffee tones hiding in there as well, but I’m not gonna work to find ‘em. It’s just not worth it. This beer would be a revelation to a sheltered Guiness fan, but it’s not doing much for me.

And that’s a shame. This is a brewery that I really had hopes for. I had seen their stuff so many times and kept hearing good things. When this sampler fell into my lap I thought it was a golden oprtunity to find a new set of session beers. Unfortunately, nothing I’ve sampled has moved the needle. Drinkable, yes; cravable, no. Unless there’s a beer I’m missing, I’m going to steer clear of these guys in the future.

I wish I figured that out this quickly with that girl in college, because that turned into one heck of a hairy mess!

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Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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19 Comments on “This Dog Don’t Hunt”

  1. Rob Crozier
    January 4, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    I can honestly say that I have never tried any of their beers. Like you, I’ve seen and heard about their beers but never had the desire to buy or try one. Even though I have fair warning, I’m the person that does not heed the “Do Not Touch” signs at a museum so now I’m intrigued and have to try for myself. Hmmm…maybe I’ll wait until someone brings a 6-pack to a party and I can try one then.

    • Jim
      January 4, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

      I’m not suggesting that you avoid these guys, just that I had high hopes and was disappointed. I guess I was thinking they’d be like Troegs, a nice regional brewery with a tasty selection of mostly session beers. Not so, at least for my tastes.

      The ones I had were leftovers from a sampler pack I bought for our company holiday party, otherwise I think they’d still be on my “to try” list.

  2. Rob Crozier
    January 4, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    I understand completely; I’m never one to take someone’s word for gospel – I always have to try it for myself. However, I won’t be so quick to buy some Flying Dog next time when I’m in the liquor store. Speaking of stores, I made a trek to OakTree BuyRite in S. Plainfield as I kept reading that it was the mecca of beer – I wasn’t that impressed; I think Boonton Liquors is just as impressive and their prices are a lot cheaper. I did take home some Mikkeller – can’t wait to try it!

    • Jim
      January 4, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

      I feel lucky to have the Liquor Outlet in Boonton on my drive home- it’s a pretty special place for craft beer lovers. I keep meaning to try Mikkeller’s stuff, maybe on my next trip to Boonton…

  3. Rob Crozier
    January 4, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    Very lucky to have Boonton so close.

    Mikkeller – another beer I always read and hear good things about, I hope its not another “Flying Dog experience”!

  4. January 4, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    I would say try Flying Dog’s Gonzo Imperial Porter. I really enjoy that. I feel that their mainline brews like you tried are merely OK. However, some of their bigger, specialty ales, are much better.

    • Jim
      January 4, 2010 at 6:35 pm #

      I’m an Imperial type of guy, Brian, so the Gonzo Porter could be just the thing I’m looking for from these guys. Actually “gonzo” anything sounds good. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Katie Pizzuto
    January 4, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    Funny, I was reading the comments before leaving a note, and then saw Brian’s mention. I completely agree…try the Gonzo Imperial Porter. I’ll be the first to admit that the ONLY reason I picked that beer up was because of the “Gonzo” name. How can you have a blog called “Gonzo Gastronomy” named after Hunter Thompson, and NOT try a beer also named after him, right?! It was damned good. Mind blowing? No. But I’d certainly buy it again…this time for the quality of the brew instead of the label on the bottle.

    • Jim
      January 4, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

      Actually, I think I might have had this one before. It’s hard to keep track (I drink lots of beer, you know), but I can see the label in my head. Come to think of it, that taste of Gonzo Porter might be why I had such high hopes for this brewery. The other beers I’ve had didn’t come close to being memorable.

      This is like regressive beer therapy. I remember now, doc, I remember now!

      Now I definately need to check it out.

  6. Steve
    January 4, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    The only beer worth having of the Flying Dog variety is the “Tire Bite Golden Ale” which I know is not your type of beer to begin with. It is, basically, a simple golden lager, Budweiser done right if you will. Now while I wouldn’t call it a great beer by any means, if you are in the mood for a light finish, preferibly in the warmer months, you’d be hard pressed to go wrong with this one.

    As to the rest of their collection, I’d agree, and I would sadly put Dogfish in that grouping as well.

    You totally missed the boat on BSG though.

    • Jim
      January 4, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

      I knew you’d chime in and represent for Tire Bite, Steve! I agree it’s a good summertime session brew, but I’d probably go for a Victory Prima Pils first. There’s a little more there, and you know I like my beers big, even the little ones.

      As for BSG, it just seems like such a commitment to get started on a new TV show, even if it’s awesome. A woman I work with loaned me the first two seasons of The West Wing a year ago and I haven’t opened the box, and I like Aaron Sorkin’s stuff.

  7. January 4, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Try the Gonzo. Otherwise, I agree. I don’t like their stuff. Lackluster is the order of the day. But listen to the rest of us and try the Gonzo. You seem like you’re not sure if you had, so it’s worth trying again.

    • Jim
      January 4, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

      Good advice. I’ll definately try the Gonzo. Sounds like it’s full of all the stuff they left out of the porter I had. Good to know they’re putting it somewhere at least…

  8. January 5, 2010 at 12:12 am #

    Jim, did you try the In-Heat Wheat? I didn’t think it was too bad, but I’ve also had better Hefes as well. I dind’t care for their ‘Doggie Style’ or the K9 Winter stuff out now. Eh. But, I’ve also heard mostly good stuff about the Gonzo Porter so someday I’ll try it!

    • Jim
      January 5, 2010 at 1:28 am #

      I haven’t tried the In Heat Wheat, but I’m not a big fan of wheats, so one by these guys probably wouldn’t float my boat.

      BTW, they get a demerit for every cutesy dog name they give a beer.

  9. Kevin M
    January 8, 2010 at 1:48 am #

    Jim, the more I think about Flying Dog, the more I remember which stand-outs they have. I’m agreeing with everyone about Gonzo… that is a pretty nice and tasty Imperial Porter. And the K-9 Cruiser I’ve certainly enjoyed in the past. BUT! I’m going to chime in my two cents and mention the Dogtoberfest and the Double Dog Pale Ale. I know a buddy of our’s would agree with me on both of those. Stop in one evening on your ride home…

    • Jim
      January 8, 2010 at 2:42 am #

      I’ll do that, Kevin. All the beers I sampled were of the basic variety. Maybe I’ll enjoy the bigger beers more.


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