On Saturday my wife and friend accompanied me a few miles north to Frederick, MD to tour the Flying Dog Brewery. Flying dog originated in Aspen, Colorado as a brewpub, but came to Frederick, MD when the opportunity to expand presented itself through the acquisition of the Frederick Brewing Company. Flying Dog has a really great story and I would encourage you to take the tour or read "About" it on their webpage.
When we arrived at the brewery we were able to meet our tour guide - a fellow homebrewer and distant relative through marriage, Jamie. All tour members got a sample to sip on and the tour began. I was impressed to find out Flying Dog is currently operating 24 hours a day 6 days week and just about at their capacity around 100,000 barrels. This allows them to execute some energy efficient practices liking taking the hot water, a byproduct of using the heat exchanger, from cooling one batch of wort down and recycling it to start mashing the next batch. Flying dog has 50 bbl boil kettles which feeds into 200 bbl fermenters.
Flying Dog has its own lab for quality assurance and have two proprietary yeast strains (FDL - Flying Dog Lager and FDW - Flying Dog Wheat) which they use and maintain for many of their beers. The brewery uses a 2-step filtering process for all of its beers (not including two of their wheat beers) and they have a rock-solid bottling machine (Krones brand is built to last). I also learned that some years hop crops can be chemically different and will be more or less affected by storage temperature. After lab analysis of each hop, different beers are allowed to be stored in Flying Dogs warehouse at room temperature before being distributed, as they will not have an adverse affect on the beer. Those beers which need to be kept cold are housed in their cold room. Flying dog also hand packages all of its variety packs by pulling 2 beers from 6 different cases and combining them.
After the tour we headed back to the tasting room to sample the great assortment of beers there on tap...at least 15 offerings I believe! They currently have 3 different single hop Imperial IPAs (using El Dorado, Chinook, and Citra hops), their year-rounds, seasonals (Pumpkin Porter, and Marzen), some gruit (no hops beer) and even some small batch's from the staff. This is a really cool aspect of Flying Dog as a business - all employees are given the opportunity to pitch an idea (I believe it is monthly) for a beer and have it be brewed on a small scale.
Overall, it was a really great tour. Many thanks to Jamie for fitting us in and being an awesome guide! My wife took a bunch of pictures so be sure to scroll through those!
(Would love to have this much Stainless Steel)
(First Part of the Filtering Process, OR a rocket ship?)
(Pallets of wonderful beer! Forefront is where/how variety packs are made)
(Jamie, our great tour guide!)
(About Half of the Tap handles in the Tasting Room)
(Me on the right, occasional co-brewer on the left)
(Panoramic Cheers! Can see all the tap handles in the back)
(Mrs. Shegogue Brew and Myself)
(2008 Horn Dog Barleywine...delicious)
"Good People Drink Good Beer"