What, Maryland? Isn’t this Virginia Brew Review? Why did we trek all the way up to…oh, Hamilton broke this seal months back, also with Flying Dog? I happen to think that Flying Dog is the best brewery (that I’ve tried) in Maryland, so I’m actually happy to get to feature them among all the Oktoberfests I’ve been imbibing over the past month. They’re also perhaps the one brewery tour I feel most compelled to make. Nothing cheeky to this review, just a darn fine brew worthy of your notice.
Dogtoberfest, Flying Dog Brewery – @FlyingDog (Frederick, MD)
Märzen, ABV 5.6%, IBU 30
Presentation: Bottle pour into a pint glass.
Appearance: Very dark amber, almost closer to a Vienna Lager.
Taste: In addition to wallop of malt and caramel up front, there’s just the tiniest hint of floral/citrus notes both on the nose and the tongue. If you trust my palate, it’s closer to grapefruit than to the typical orange/lemon infusions, which is -ahem- refreshing. That being said, Flying Dog comments that the finish is more “light toasted and crisp.” The malt presence is definitely there, but all of these components are probably why during the Tailgate Throwdown the overriding comment this delightful beer received was that while solid, it didn’t remind many of an actual Märzen. If you had a scale between Märzen and Vienna Lager, this is probably closer to 60/40.
ABV/IBU: There’s a little bit of tartness here which is unusual for a Märzen, but there’s no real bitterness to be had.
Overall: You can call a beer something it’s not, but at a certain point it’s just good beer. We do debate how faithful the Dogtoberfest is to a Märzen, but excepting the presence of some Vienna malts (and what they say is a proprietary yeast strain), you can’t definitively argue against what Flying Dog did here…after all, as much as I like to tout all the medals places like Lost Rhino, Port City, Mad Fox, and others here in Virginia, this little -ahem- puppy took two GABF golds and a bronze within the last decade. The tartness isn’t my favorite aspect, but it really is so subtle that it’s not a nuisance either. Go out and try one for yourself – is it a Märzen? A Vienna Lager? Something in between? Nothing of the kind? How about just a good beer.