Enjoying the Fruits of Harvest
A Review of Secret Stash Harvest Ale by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
Posted on 11/19/2013 by Chops
                   
Delicious
Follow the craft beer movement for long enough and you will start to notice amusing idiosyncrasies. It takes both time and attention to notice them, but once you do, you cannot help but smile. One of the most enduring aspects of good beer is that it is in a state of constant transition. It changes. Some years are better than others. Some batches are better than others. Beer reinvents itself throughout its lifetime. Through writing beer reviews, this website has given me a window into that timeline. Seasonal beers are especially fun to look back on because you can sometimes tell exactly what the brewer was thinking. Less of this malt, more of those hops, etc. One of my favorite seasonal brews to follow is Flying Dog's Secret Stash Harvest Ale, a hoppy Saison-style ale that utilizes and reflects upon the yearly Maryland harvest.

In the glass, this beer has a sunny yellow coloration. Right away I notice that this version is much lighter than previous versions, so I was enjoying the contemplation right out of the gate. It comes with a big frothy white head that has really nice retention. On the nose, I found bursts of herbs and fresh cut grass. Rounding out the mix are notes of Belgian bread, light grains, and a hint of grape must. Secret Stash always has a warm and inviting introduction, so I dove right in without a second thought.

This year's version is crisp and refreshing with a light-to-mid body. The hop profile is mild and muted, giving this brew a very approachable demeanor. The aromatic notes translate very well into primary flavors, so I found plenty of grassy and herbal characters resting on top of a sourdough base. Also swirling around are notes of pine, tart citrus, light caramel, and a few savory fruits, namely pears and apples. The beer finishes dry and exits with a light grassy aftertaste.

Overall, the 2013 version of Flying Dog's Secret Stash Harvest Ale is a crisp and refreshing delight. The beer has a lot of interesting complexity without being heavy handed. Farmhouse Ales are well known for their subtle complexity, so I tip my drinking hat to Flying Dog for yet another skillful execution. Secret Stash is an inviting brew that can be appreciated by all beer fans. Seasoned drinkers will enjoy its artisan qualities while novices will be wowed by its array of engaging flavors. I always look forward to the annual release of Secret Stash because it's the kind of beer that perfectly compliments a nippy autumn day on the porch. After all, it's the closest to farming I will ever get. ''Mmm, good harvest this year.''

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Secret Stash Harvest Ale by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
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