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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Febuary 2007 - Doggie Style Beers

For this month’s Memphis Beer Club we are going with an animal theme, Doggie Style Beers. It was a little difficult to find all of the Flying Dog beers here in Memphis so we had to reach deep and try some others. We tried a main stream beer that was big in the early 90’s, one from one of the best craft breweries in the country, two from the Flying Dog Brewery and one from a local Nashville brewery.

Food was catered by our local favorite taco place, Swanky’s. They do a great job providing everything for an event including all the fixen’s. They meat has lots of flavors different they the typical Mexican place. They have a great tequila selection and they have most of the Mexican beers. If you have a chance stop by and get the fish tacos or a burrito as big as your head.

Now let’s talk about the first beer of the night, Red Dog. This retro beer is still brewed by Miller but is marketed through their Ice House Plank Road Brewery. This was one of the most popular domestic beers in the late to mid 1990’s. Red Dog had faded into near obscurity around the turn of the century. In 2005 it was moved into the Plank Road Brewery Family along with Icehouse and South Paw Light. South Paw light is a light version of Red dog with only 110 calories.

The Plank Road brewery is sponsoring Maxim’s Hometown Hotties Contest. Inside each package of Icehouse is an activation code that could win the Grand Prize. The Grand Prize includes a 4 person trip to South Beach for the first ever Hometown Hotties Party. As you can see there is not that much to write about another crappy beer from Miller.

The next beer is a Kölsch style beer from Flying Dog Brewery out of Denver Colorado, Tire Bite Golden Ale. Kölsch is a local beer specialty, brewed in Cologne, Germany. It is a clear beer with a bright straw yellow hue, and it has a prominent, but not extreme, hoppiness. The term Kölsch was officially used for the first time in 1918 to describe the type of beer that had been brewed by the Sünner brewery since 1906. This type of beer developed from the similar, but cloudier variant Wiess. It never became particularly popular in the first half of the twentieth century, when the most popular beer was bottom-fermented, just as in the rest of Germany. Before World War II, there were over 40 breweries in Cologne, but in the aftermath of the devastation wrought by the war, that number was reduced to two.

The Flying Dog Brewery open up in 1990 and was the first brewery inAspen in over 100 years. Four years later the demand grew for their beers that they open up a much larger facility in downtown Denver in 1994. The Tire Bite is the lightest of the Flying Dog beers with a nice hint of hoppiness at the end. It is brewed using exclusive imported German hops and has about 17 IBU’s.


The Raison D Etre from Dogfish Head was the strongest beer of the night, an 8.0% Belgium Ale. As all of the other “extreme” beers from Dogfish head, Raison Etre is right on par. Dogfish Head uses thousands of green raisins to give this beer an earthy flavor unlike another beer. With the high alcohol content this earthiness helps smooth out the beer. This isn’t a beer I would drink all the time but it well worth a try.


Dos Perros is a Altbeir brewed by Linus Hall of Yazoo Brewery.I had a chance to meet Linus Hall the brewer/owner of Yazoo Brewery at a tasting here at the Fresh Market in Germantown, TN. After discussing his beer in great detail I realized that I had made a mistake in rating his beer on RateBeer.com. I tried the Yazoo Flight at the Flying Saucer in Nashville and tried to compare his Pale Ale to other American Pale Ales. Linus was eager to point out that most of the American Pale Ales use Cascade hops vs. Amarillo which gives it a different hoppiness. I have since tried quite a few Yazoo Pale Ales and would agree although it is different than other Pale Ales it is still a dame good beer.

Yazoo Brewery owners Lila and Linus Hall are both from Mississippi, and moved to Nashville in 1996. Linus has been brewing for over ten years, and has a craftbrewing degree from the American Brewers Guild in California, with an internship at the Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, New York. Since they opened their doors in October of 2003 Yazoo brews have become popular beers, favorites of local Nashvillians and sought out by craft brewing loyalists all over the world. At the 2004 American Brewers Festival in Colorado, Yazoo won the Gold Medal for their Hefeweizen. Brewmaster Linus Hall continues to adhere to the "4 pint principle" and believes in pairing carefully crafted beer with fine foods. Each Yazoo beer is hand-crafted to ensure the first sip is as satisfying as the last.

The Yazoo Brewery is located in what was once the Marathon Motor Works building. From 1910 to 1914, Marathon Motor Works made the first automobiles ever to be produced in the South. About 5,000 cars were made in those five years, earning Nashville the nickname "Detroit of the South". Despite their popularity, the hand-crafted cars were expensive and soon lost the market to the mass-produced cars of Ford and others.

The last beer of the evening was the flagship beer form Flying Dog, Doggie Style Pale Ale. The birth of the American Pale Ale is very interesting. By the late 1970s and early 1980s virtually no true top-fermented ales were being produced in the United States, and America's oldest brewing tradition was in imminent danger of disappearing entirely.

The new tradition arose in California. Anchor Brewing Co. began tinkering with a real ale in 1975 (which eventually emerged as Liberty Ale), and New Albion (perhaps the first true microbrewery) introduced an ale a year later. Within a few years homebrewers Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi launched Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., also in Northern California, and the craft-brewing industry began to take its first, faltering steps. No one at the time had any idea of how much would change, of course, or how quickly.

In many ways Sierra Nevada's ale can be taken as the prototype of the new American pale It is an all-malt beer, and the malts are very American (two-row pale, caramel, and dextrin). And significantly, the hop flavor is unabashedly American. In fact they are primarily the signature Cascade hops, citrusy and floral. Of all the American hops, Cascade and her sister varieties are the most obvious stamp of American pale ale, unmistakable in their assault on the palate.


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