Friday, July 7th, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 7.7.17: A Flight of Brewery Dogs

Ron Swarner


Beer-Flights-Logo-no-wordsDogs have been associated with breweries for centuries. Many a brewer has stood watch over a mash tun with a faithful canine companion, although not in Pierce County as the Health Department states reusable glassware and food don’t pair well with canines. Dogs are also a familiar sight on beer labels. Lagunitas Brewing Co. has a dog for its logo, a pit bull inspired by Petey from The Little Rascals. Taking it a step further, it could be said dogs are the animal equivalent of beer-drinkers: happy, loyal with a general joie de vivre that makes you want to hang out with them for hours on end. Peaks and Pints has Hellbent’s Steven’s Session IPA on tap, a beer names after the Seattle brewery’s dog, Steven, which inspired us to offer a flight of brewery dog inspired beers that we call Craft Beer Crosscut 7.7.17: A Flight of Brewery Dogs.

Avery-Ellies-Brown-Ale-TacomaAvery Ellie’s Brown Ale

5.5% ABV, 28 IBU

T’was 24 years ago that Adam Avery (blessed be his name), smiled upon Boulder, Colorado and the world at large by opening Avery Brewing, which begat White Rascal Ale, which begat Out of Bounds Stout, which begat Ellie’s Brown Ale. This beautiful, deep russet brew has the sweet and somewhat nutty character of Avery’s late (1992-2002) chocolate lab, for which it is named. We found a very rich maltiness and a complex caramel and roasted combination in the flavor profile of this very nicely balanced beer. Overall, a flavorful and sweet brown ale, almost too much so for an English Brown. More of an American Brown in flavor and English brown in its malty balance.

Top-Rung-My-Dog-Scout-Stout-TacomaTop Rung My Dog Scout Stout

6% ABV, 30 IBU

Named after Top Rung Brewing head brewer Jason Stoltz’s black lab, Scout, this puppy grabbed gold in the American Stout category of the 2015 Washington Beer Awards. “I think the My Dog Scout Stout took a gold medal home because of some of the choices in malt selection giving it a few different layers of flavor ending on the base malt used,” says Stoltz. “Also, our water allows us to brew darker beers very well.” Chocolate and coffee jump out of the glass. Deceptively smooth and black as the night, My Dog Scout Stout is an easy sipper due to the eight different malts used in the brewing process.

Hellbent-Stevens-Session-IPA-TacomaHellbent Steven’s Session IPA

4.5% ABV, 33 IBU

Named after Hellbent Brewing brewer Brian’s ultra-chill yellow lab, Steven, according to brewery dog hype, “Not only does Steven make all our key business decisions, he’s our mascot as well. We decided it was time for him to have his own beer, so here we go.” This sessionable IPA is hop heavy with Mosaic, HBC 342, El Dorado, Idaho 7, Amarillo and Bravo. It hits the glass hazy with an orange-yellow hue. Put your wet nose into it for aromas of melon, light pineapple and toasted malt. Lapping it up you’ll notice juicy, zesty, herbal hop flavors.

Lagunitas-LAG-Lagunator-Lager-TacomaLagunitas LAG Lagunator Lager

7.9% ABV, 42 IBU

Why is there a dog on Lagunitas Brewing Co.’s labels? Brewer and owner Tony Magee says he was inspired by “Petey,” the canine companion of The Little Rascals. “The dog, to me, was the star of the whole gang.” Magee has said. He always hoped the loyalty and positive feelings associated with man’s best friend would also become linked with his beer. The Petaluma, California brewery’s Lagunator Lager is a dry-hopped California Common with a massive malt character, rounded out by a bitter balance from some experimental hops from the Yakima Valley. LAG hits the nose with toffee, caramel and dark fruits. Taste is unexpectedly toasty up front, with citrus and floral notes into the finish. It’s very drinkable at 7.9 percent.

Caldera-Mogli-TacomaCaldera Mogli

8.5% ABV, 55 IBU

Caldera Brewing Company’s colossal brewery sits just off Interstate 5 near Ashland, Oregon. The brewery honors the passing of a beloved pooch named Mogli with its Mogli bourbon-oaked chocolate imperial porter. Both the style and the beer are a mouthful. The more we smell this craft beer, the more we are reminded of s’mores. We pick up slightly burnt marshmallow, powdery graham cracker and a lot of cocoa. Tucked beneath those notes were some toffee, charred oak and a bit of mocha. The taste opens with a lot of sweet cocoa notes, mixed with roasted malt, espresso and burnt chocolate. Marshmallow and a touch of coffee-like acidity and burnt brownies round out the flavors.