Enamored with the current beer renaissance as we all are, it’s sometimes difficult to imagine a time before we could head to our local stores and choose from bottle after bottle of unique, interesting, and delicious craft beers. In this era, it is exceedingly difficult to imagine that not long ago, from Prohibition until October 14th, 1978, homebrewing was illegal. An absurd thought today, right? Thankfully, some impassioned brewers (including the famed Charlie Papazian) took action and, along with assistance from then-U.S. Senator Alan Cranston, demanded that Congress pass H. R. 1337, Other changes to alcohol-related legislation have followed since then, but some similarly antiquated Prohibition-based laws still exist. While everything is peachy when compared to Prohibition, there’s still work to be done.
Of course, the question you probably have now is, “Why the history lesson and, more importantly, what does this have to do with Flying Dog?” Here is the answer, straight from the mouth of the most honest man I know:
On July 1st, 2011, a series of laws went into effect in Maryland that expanded brewery tour beer sampling and permitted the purchase of up to 288 oz. of “to-go” beer after the tour. These legal changes were primarily initiated by Flying Dog who, in their words, “embraced their Gonzo spirit” and organized a coalition of local breweries to draft legislation overturning the existing restrictive tour laws. It is, therefore, not surprising in the least that Honest Abe would support their democratic and righteous endeavor.
Some of you may remember Flying Dog offering brewery tours in the past; you’re not crazy. They offered tours that creatively sidestepped the existing legislation until December 2009, after which they took a tour “hiatus” to address the laws and to attempt to enact some meaningful change.
And now we get to enjoy the fruits of their legislative labor.
Here are some important notes about the tours themselves, straight from the horse’s (dog’s?) mouth:
Tours will be offered every Thursday and Friday from 4 to 6 pm, along with two sessions on Saturday (12 to 2 pm and 2:30 – 4:30 pm). Each session will include a history of Flying Dog, an in-depth tour of the brewing facility — including the brew house, cellar, quality assurance lab, and packaging areas — as well as samplings and sensory explorations of some of the 18 draft beers available at any given time.
Due to the expected demand, you must make a reservation to go on a tour. Reservations can be made by calling the brewery at 301-694-7899 Monday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm. To limit long waiting lists, reservations will only be accepted up to six weeks in advance.
Tour participants can also pay $5 at the beginning of their tour to keep the commemorative tasting glass. The brewery’s gift shop will also be open with a full range of Flying Dog merchandise available for purchase.
Some members of the DCBeer.com staff will be heading up to Frederick in the near future to provide you with some more, first-hand information about Flying Dog’s new tours. Of course, this will be an entirely journalistic pursuit, not at all motivated by the prospect of sampling Flying Dog’s tasty offerings. Be sure to check back for more information, and try to get a reservation to see what the Gonzo spirit is all about.
Flying Dog Brewery
4607 Wedgewood Blvd.
Frederick, MD 21703