Cheers to the watermen
A Review of Dead Rise OLD BAY Summer Ale by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
Posted on 5/21/2014 by Chops
Ah summer, that enchanting time of year when the giant ball of fire in the sky bakes your tender skin to a crisp. Did I say enchanting? I meant exhausting, especially for those like myself who live in sun-drenched bowls of unbearable humidity. Beer plays a very important role in my day-to-day tolerance of that fusion reactor overhead. And when that hygrometer needle is resting on the far right pin, the last thing I want to see is a warm Imperial Stout. This is why I am always happy to see the seasonal summer ales hit the beer store shelves. They are a much needed reprieve and my porch cooler is thankful to see them. I kick off this season with Flying Dog's Dead Rise OLD BAY Summer Ale.

As an added bonus to quenching my summertime thirst, Dead Rise ''was brewed to celebrate OLD BAY's 75th anniversary and proceeds benefit True Blue, a program that advocates on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay's 5,500 watermen.'' I always love when my beer drinking supports good causes, and Flying Dog is a brewery that often ties charitable support into their products, as if there wasn't enough reason to appreciate them.

In the glass, Dead Rise had a hazy orange juice-like coloration. It came with a big fluffy white head that had great retention. On the nose, I was greeted by a zesty blast of herbs, spices, and an array of peppery goodness. Resting underneath was a layer of floral citrus. To be perfectly honest, the first word to pop into my mind was ''Cajun''. This beer reminded me of a Cajun kitchen full of sizzling shellfish. At that point I re-read the description and sure enough, Flying Dog recommended that the beer be paired ''with tables piled high with shrimp, corn, and Maryland Blue Crab.'' I couldn't agree more, what a cool introduction.

I was quite surprised to find that the flavor closely mirrored the aroma. My taste buds were quite busy picking out all the herbs, spices, and peppers. The notes that stood out for me were black pepper, seasoned salt, a cayenne-like tingle, and lemony citrus resting atop a light herb-infused wheat bread. I was actually taken aback at how much complexity this light brew offered the palate. The hop profile was muted and served a more complimentary role. Certainly atypical for a Flying Dog brew, but a very wise decision on their part, which allowed the spice notes to shine through unhindered. The beer had a light body and was very easy to drink despite the tangy spicy presence. The finish was crisp, dry, and exited with a pleasant peppery aftertaste.

Overall, I found Flying Dog's Dead Rise OLD BAY Summer Ale to be a unique, flavorful and engaging brew. I greatly enjoyed the unexpected complexity and completely agree that it would pair beautifully with a big pile of shellfish. This is an excellent brew for both craft beer novice and seasoned beer geek. It has a lot of great character, is a lot fun to dissect, and is also highly accessible. I couldn't ask for a better kick off to my summer drinking season and I thank Flying Dog for another delectable creation. I'll certainly be enjoying a lot more Dead Rise this season, hopefully in the company of zesty shrimp cocktails.

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Dead Rise OLD BAY Summer Ale by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
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