Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Fliegender Hund

I had a good ol' Flying Dog session a few weeks ago, but still had (and indeed, have) a few more bottles stashed away for a rainy day. It rains here often though, so no worries there. For my last mini-session, I decided to go for a selection of their beers that I later ended up calling the German Pack. Some for obvious reasons, but some only dawned on me later. Read on, McDuff!

My colleague, Christian (one of the many), very kindly brought me a couple of Flying Dog beers back from a trip across the border to the Netherlands, just a week before I realised I could buy them on-line from Bier Zwerg in Cologne. One of these was the In-Heat Wheat. Ok, so it's gonna be an American-styled, Hefe-Weizen, right? It's a dirty-looking and orange-tinged with a short-lived, coarse-bubbled head. So, not quite in the German whipped-cream-alike appearance. This has a nice spicy aroma with classic Weizen cloves to the fore, underpinned by a kind of burnt orange effect. It has a malty-wheaty profile which is sweeter than I expected, in the malty sense, and the cloves are not as prominent as they were on the nose, but definitely there, along with a hint of banana and something biscuity. It's got a nice soft mouthfeel going down, but perhaps a little thin in the finish, although that's pleasant enough, with an overt suggestion of orange juice in the finish, along with a slight soapiness and just a hint of sweet cherry juice. A nice beer that stands well beside German Weissbiers, and dangerously chuggable at that.

The other one Christian brought back was Tire Bite Golden Ale, a simple-looking ehh.. golden ale. The aroma struck me as being very like some German beers, in that there is a kind of resinous hoppiness. Unfortunately for me, strongly resinous hops are not my favourite, but whatcha gonna do? I also picked up a slight maize note, which was not unpleasant. First impression is of a nice, fullish body supporting a decent, bready malt base and, again, that German hop profile. A touch minty, a touch of resin (in perfectly acceptable levels to my sensitive taste buds) and a touch citric, but all with a bit of Oomph! that you don't get in many German beers. It ends with a slight orange sorbet finish. Nice. It's not a big wowser beer by any means, but it's solidly built and satisfying. What satisfied me even more was looking at their website afterwards and seeing that Tire Bite does indeed use the German hop varieties Perle and Hallertau (although the latter always confuses me as the Hallertau is a region, and many hop varieties are grown there), so my taste buds were not tricking me.

Dogtoberfest Marzen [sic] literally shouts "Germany", so it was one I was eager to try. It pours a richly-hued amber-red with a dense head that lasts well. The aroma really reminded me of many German Bockbiere, with a strong caramel element, butterscotch and a hint of fruit. The flavour is definitely malt-driven, with thick wadges of carmelised sugars, a hard-to-identify fruity suggestion and a thrust of resinous hops. The butterscotch edge makes a show, but although possibly from Diacetyl - often considered an off-flavour - this was at an agreeable level. The finish is sweet, but with a toasted edge and a reasonably long-lasting herbal/hay/resin hop note. Overall, this tastes pretty German-like, but to my mind it feels more like a cross between a Bock and a Märzen, mainly because the heavy caramel gets a bit wearing as it warms. My tip: don't let it get too warm and it'll go down a charm.

Old Scratch also uses German hops, but I'll come back to that another day.

I've been thinking about doing a blind tasting for my colleagues involving German and US and/or UK beers, but I might sneak some of these in and pretend they're German ;)


Leigh said...

I do like FDs work - although I agree about the Marzen - it's kind of off-balance, and more like an interesting interpretation of a Marzen.

Barry M said...

Yeah, have to say I like their stuff in general, and there's definitely some great beers in their range. Have a few of their Canis Major series to go though yet. Looking forward to that :)