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“What’s more important, having a good product or having good marketing?” This rhetorical question is worthy of academic debate, but Maryland’s Flying Dog Brewery has hit both sides of the question with their latest offering, “Dead Rise Summer Ale.”
This beer’s key “marketing hook” is a lesson in local marketing. Deadrise Summer Ale is a celebration of Maryland’s cultural icons - blue crabs, a Bay built deadrise boat and Old Bay seasoning. The beer is brewed in collaboration with Maryland based McCormack Spice, the makers of Old Bay Seasoning, to celebrate the spice’s 75th Anniversary. And to give consumers another reason to buy the beer; they are donating a portion of each sales dollar to “True Blue,” a program that benefits the Chesapeake Bay’s professional watermen. That’s for the good marketing part, now for the product.
The beer is the color of pale gold and pours a thick, creamy, but quickly disappearing head. It, however, does leave a generous amount of beer lace inside the glass. Old Bay Seasoning is an integral part of the beer that, in combination with other interesting ingredients, gives this beer a unique taste and aroma. The brewers at Flying Dog use three hop varieties to give the beer plenty of hop character. CTZ hops (Columbus-Tomahawk-Zeus high alpha hops) provide it with strong, spicy, citrus overtones. Cascade hops give it a floral aroma, and Northern Brewer hops add a mint like/evergreen flavor. Acidulated rye and malted white barley are the backbone of the beer. The rye provides a sour component while the barley gives it a milder and lighter taste. German ale yeast further adds to the beer’s fruity character.
Dead Rise Summer Ale has a moderate alcohol level of 5.6% abv, but is at the top end of the bitterness range for most ales at 25 bitterness units. There are moderate yet discernible notes of Old Bay, in fact, there is just enough to let you know it is there, but the unique blend of ingredients gives this medium bodied ale an effervescence full of fruity flavors and generous amounts of citrus and pine scents that put both tastes and aroma in harmony.
If you haven’t already done so, pour one for yourself and give this summer’s beer selling sensation a try and enjoy a taste of Maryland.