Sep

27

Day in Bat Country

What do Zappos, Nordstrom, and Amazon all have in common? None of them carry Flying Dog condoms. And they are also notorious for offering an incredible online shopping experience.

We’re pretty passionate about customer satisfaction around here. Running a remarkable brewery starts with the beer, but it also extends to your experience on a tour, your interaction at a Flying Dog event, and (hopefully) filters all the way down to the Bat Wing-emblazoned shirt you wear on your back. We’re deeply proud of Ralph Steadman’s artwork and way he continues to reinvent his unique and indelible mark on our brand. His imagination and creativity is woven into every piece of clothing and accessory that bear our name.

Plus, we’d never expect you to buy anything we wouldn’t buy twelve of ourselves.

In keeping with that standard of excellence, we’ve spent the last six months updating our digital storefront to reflect our passion for creating an exceptional customer experience. We’ve reorganized our navigation, simplified our checkout, improved our backend fulfillment and consolidated our shipping rates. What didn’t change? Our commitment to quality assurance, order accuracy, and our seasonal offering of totally fucking awesome merchandise.

Take, for instance, the shirt celebrating the 75th anniversary of Gonzo and the Good Doctor Hunter S. Thompson. We burned through all our inventory in July because you guys love Dr. Gonzo as much as we do. So we decided to bring back a limited run of our Day in Bat Country T-shirts (men’s and women’s sizes S – XXL). This time, when they’re gone, they’re gone. (Basically, they’re like the Franklin Mint coins, only less expensive, more wearable, and arguably more valuable.)

Take a minute to peruse the site and familiarize yourself with the friendly faces of our Flying Dog staff who were neither starved nor man-handled in the modeling of this merchandise.  Like what you see? Let us know. Want to see us carry something different? Let us know. Want us to produce some custom pajama jeans? We’re one step ahead of you.

Click. Shop. Enjoy.

Sep

27

September 28 is our final Firkin Friday of the regular season and we speak for everyone in Charm City when we say, “thank God for post-season play.”

Every Friday home game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards features two cask-conditioned beers from yours truly at our storefront (lower level, between section 23 and 29) and in the new Roof Deck bar above centerfield.

This Friday, we offer a toast to baseball in Baltimore in October and invite you to join us for a pint of our Single Hop Imperial IPA with Nelson Sauvin at either location.

Let’s go O’s!

Sep

21

Somewhere across the pond, the dawn is breaking and a team of BrewDog foot soldiers are quietly ironing their kilts, inspecting the viscosity of their blue face paint, and preparing for redemption. A guttural battle cry emerges from the back line and it is determined Alastair from accounting has pulled a hamstring. Only the strong will survive this war.

Still licking their wounds from a bitter loss in the UK International Arms Race, BrewDog Captain James Watt has spent the last 25 days retooling his plan of attack for round two. The battle for taste supremacy continues on October 15, when the BrewDog militia arrives on U.S. soil for three days of head-to-head competition. Civilians and supporters can seek refuge from war and try each brewery’s International Arms Race at the following:

  • Monday, Oct. 15 at Max’s Taphouse, Baltimore, MD
  • Tuesday, Oct. 16 at RFD, Washington, DC
  • Wednesday, Oct. 17 at Frisco’s Taphouse, Columbia, MD

Six months ago, Flying Dog and BrewDog decided on the terms of this most unusual craft beer collaboration. Hops and flame throwers were banned from the battlefield, but a host of other weapons to impart bitterness – spearmint, bay leaves, rosemary, juniper berries, and elderflower – were agreed upon to eventually formulate a no hop, Zero IBU IPA. Then, it was decided that each brewery would craft its own version of the beer to highlight the individual brewer’s influence on the recipe and avoid unnecessary in-person conversations that end with gross mispronunciations of the word Slàinte.

In the meantime, some 3,384 miles from Glasgow, the staff at Flying Dog is preparing for another epic battle.

Eight stories below the brewery, bunkered in a safe room filled with Gatorade and canned goods, 23-Star General Matt ‘Lovefreedom’ Brophy and Marketing Rear Admiral Ben Savage are finalizing their strategy for the three-city invasion by drawing X’s and O’s and dramatic looping arrows on a white board. The two are confident in their recipe but acknowledge the wild card in this race: America’s unreasonable love affair with UK accents.

May the best man win.

Sep

19

If it feels good, do it again.

Taking a cue from the success of our first class back in May, we’re hosting the second edition of BYOG at the brewery, on Sunday, Oct. 7. The syllabus will cover the great American pastime of grilling. (And, of course, drinking beer while grilling, which needs no instruction.)

The class runs from 11 am to 6 pm and will be taught by BBQ legend and CarterQue founder, Chris Carter. And it’s BYOG.

That’s right: Bring Your Own Grill. Borrow your friend’s truck, Mom’s minivan…whatever it takes to get that sucker on the road and fired up at the brewery for some serious action.

The “bring your own grill” format will allow Chris to teach you how to grill on the equipment you already know, own, and love. Here are some additional details:

  • Grills can be gas or charcoal. Anything from a super-deluxe monster to a Weber with a bag of charcoal is welcome.
  • Sharing grills is allowed, but each student will need his or her own ticket.
  • All attendees are encouraged to bring charcoal (if applicable), wood chips, special sauces, or any other elements or tools they’d like to perfect in the class.

Tickets are $80 per person / $100 per couple and includes admission, instruction, all of your grilling meats, and Flying Dog beer samples. Students will also leave with a takeaway grilling guide.

Only 25 spots are available, so get your ticket before they sell out.

Sep

17

Our week-long Support Local initiative culminated this past Saturday with a free Local Bazaar featuring artistic demonstrations, farm-to-fork prepared food, and educational activities on sustainable living. It’s just the beginning of what, we hope, will be a lengthy relationship with the local artists, artisans, athletes, and musicians making up the fabric of our vibrant community.

We encourage your continued support of all local business entrepreneurs and hope you’ll keep tabs on our recent collaborators both online and in your community. Here’s a quick list of where you can follow the participants at our Local Bazaar and the artists featured in our Support Local video series.

The Perfect Truffle
Twitter @PerfectTruffle
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Perfect-Truffle/178142641881

PRS Guitars
Twitter @prsguitars
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/prsguitars

Pit Crew Skate Team
Twitter @Pitcrew207
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/PitcrewSkateboards

Charm City Roller Girls
Twitter @CCRG
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/charmcityrollergirls

Bryan Voltaggio
Twitter @BryanVoltaggio

Common Market
Twitter @CmmnMrktCoop
Facebook   http://www.facebook.com/thecommonmarket

Art and Soul
Twitter @ArtandSoulDC
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/ArtandSoulDC

Rappahannock River Oysters
Twitter @RROysters
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/Rappahannock

Oyster Recovery Partnership
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/OysterRecoveryPartnership

Chef Driven DC
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/ChefDrivenDC

Cafe Nola
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/cafenola1

Dublin Roasters
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/dublinroasterscoffee

Maryland Hop Growers Association
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Maryland-Hop-Growers-Association/208992835809884

Frederick Community Garden Association
Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Frederick-Community-Garden-Association/185769784784554

 

Sep

14

The Good Doctor Hunter S. Thompson once asked, “Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads?”

Hunter was no stranger to challenging the U.S. political system and those who lead it. But the answer to his question is that we do. We vote for the honest and dishonest shitheads alike who make a lot of our choices for us. 

That is why on the last day of our Support Local Week, we ask you to LISTEN Local. And it starts by exercising your right to vote:

  • Register to vote: There are many options for registering and the guidelines vary by state. You can start by going to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission website to learn more. (The most common way to register to vote is to fill out the National Voter Registration form and send it in by mail.)
  • Know your state deadlines: Each state has different guidelines for registration, early voting, absentee ballots and more. Find your state on the EAC’s interactive map. Our local deadlines for voting registration are:
    • Maryland: 21 days before the election
    • Virginia: 30 days before the election (or 15 if registration is delivered to the local locater registration office)
  • Vote absentee if you’re living outside of the U.S.: Your vote still matters and the Federal Voting Assistance Program can help. 
  • Find your polling place: The National Secretaries of State operate CanIVote.org, which will help you find polling places and prepare you for election day. 
  • Learn about your candidates from the top down: Project Vote Smart is a non-partisan and non-profit organization that’s only goal is to provide information on candidates across the country. 
Then, LISTEN. Know who is making decisions that affect you, your family, and your community. 

Sep

13

“Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.” – Alfred Austin 

Nothing beats the satisfaction of making something from start to finish (except for maybe sex, a thick-cut steak, and dick jokes). Now imagine growing something, then making something from start to finish. Even the perfectly drawn penis on an important memo can’t top that.

Over the past year, we’ve been amazed at what we can grow here on the brewery grounds alone, from the hop trellis on our patio to an established hop yard in the grass along our parking lot. We also cut old oak barrels in half and converted them into planters, creating a small (yet functional and really, really good looking) employee garden. 

So what options do you average Joe’s and Jill’s have with (likely) not a lot of space and (very likely) not a lot of time?

Here in the mid-Atlantic, we have mild springs and falls with hot, humid summers. You can grow almost anything with soil, sun, and water, but here are a few plants that grow exceptionally well in this area:

  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Beans
  • Squash

Space-wise, the possibilities are endless. Instead of flower pots on your deck, try a tomato plant or two. An array of herbs is a beautiful and delicious replacement for window boxes or flower beds. 

No outdoor space at all? No problem. See if your area has a community garden association. We have the Frederick Community Garden Association in our town, among a slew of others in the surrounding areas. Most cities have them and it’s as easy as donating money for your very own plot all growing season long. 

And doesn’t your favorite craft beer pair perfectly with achy muscles, sunburn, bug bites, and dirty fingernails?

Sep

12

We’ve asked you to PARTY, EAT, and DRINK Local. Now, it’s time to SHOP. (And you thought Support Local Week was going to be hard.) 

Let’s start with a vocabulary lesson. If you’re like us, you hear terms and acronyms thrown around, but don’t know exactly what they mean. 

  • Farmer’s Market (or Green Market): Where farmers sell their products directly to consumers. Probably the most “no duh” term in the list, but here’s a great resource for you: The Fresh Food Finder. It’s an app that enables you to find markets within a city, state, or zip code.
  • Co-op: A jointly owned commercial enterprise (usually organized by farmers and consumers) that produces and distributes goods and services and is run for the benefit of its owners. The Common Market here in Frederick is a co-op and you can learn about becoming an owner there at our Local Bazaar this Saturday
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): A system in which consumers receive food directly from the farmers who produce it. But unlike a farmer’s market system, consumers pay in advance for a portion of that farmer’s crop, thus, sharing the yield risk of each harvest. (Local Harvest can help you find the CSA nearest you.)

One of the biggest obstacles small farmers face is finding retailers who are willing to sell their products. Most mass-market retailers do not want to deal with the limited production volumes and less predictable supply of small, local farms. 

According to a study by the National Cooperative Grocers Association, conventional grocery stores source slightly less than 6% of its food from local sources. But an average co-op purchases almost 20% of its products locally. Plus, “for every $1,000 a shopper spends at their local food co-op, $1,604 dollars in economic activity is generated in their local economy — $239 more than if they had spent that same $1,000 at a conventional grocery store in the same community.” And when you shop at your local farmer’s market or join a CSA, the economic impact is immediate and 100%. 

Vocabulary and statistics aside, we understand that your budget is what matters most to you. And taking the local leap may seem like it will make that Mint account go mad. What we recommend is figuring out what items are most important to you to buy local and determine your budget from there. Our post earlier this week on eating local may help

Know more resources that help you SHOP Local? We’d love to hear them. Post your thoughts on our Facebook page or give us a shout on Twitter

Sep

11

There is art, ingenuity, resourcefulness, and creative expression in all of you, but the world wants you to fit in.

Will you stand out or fit in? 

For us, every step — large or small — in the brewing process is art. And we’ve learned that embracing the fear that comes with standing out is what being true artists is all about. 

So during our Support Local Week, and as our spotlights on local creativity come to a close, we ask you to DRINK Local.

There were 1,940 operational craft breweries in the United States in 2011 — a figure that’s only growing. Craft brewers currently provide over 100,000 jobs in the U.S., including serving staff in brewpubs. Craft breweries are independently-owned, innovative, and in it together. 

And we are all artists.

Go to CraftBeer.com to find the local craft brewery near you

Sep

10

Have you ever roamed the aisles of a grocery store and thought about where the food you’re buying came from? Better yet, ever wonder if it’s really worth it to eat organic, especially when you’re on a budget? 

Our goal during Support Local Week is not to pound you with statistics, force you to change your entire lifestyle, or guilt you into submission. (Although, the later is tempting.) Rather, we want to provide simple resources that will enable you to make more informed choices as consumers. 

So for Day Two, here are five of our favorite resources for EATing local and organic: 

1. The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15 

The Environmental Working Group releases both The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15 lists each year as shoppers’ guides to pesticides in produce. The top five of The Dirty Dozen (meaning the most important to buy organic)? Apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, and strawberries. The Clean(est) of the 15? Onions, sweet corn, pineapple, avocado, and cabbage. Each guide is a crucial tool to help you decide the most important foods to buy organic within your budget. 

2. Seasons App 

Having watermelon in the winter may be a godsend for pregnancy cravings everywhere, but it’s not exactly how nature intended. As a society, we’ve grown so accustomed to imported fruits and vegetables being available year round that we forget about the seasonality of our favorite produce. By following the natural seasons, with the assistance of this simple phone app, you can experience a greater variety of produce at the peak of freshness (all while supporting local agriculture). 

3. Why Buy Organic Meat and Dairy 

Most of us instantly think about fruits and veggies when we think about buying local and organic. However, this top 10-style list provides some compelling reasons why buying organic meat and dairy products is not only a healthier choice, but also helps environmental issues like deforestation and air and water pollution. 

4. Seafood Watch

Most seafood is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help boost immunity and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and more. However, not all types of seafood are safe for regular consumption. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch list highlights types of seafood that are low in environmental contaminants and good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

5. Eat Well Guide 

Eat Well Guide is a free online directory for anyone in search of fresh, locally grown, and sustainably produced food in the United States, including family farms, restaurants, farmers’ markets, grocery stores, community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, U-pick orchards, and more.  

Know more resources that help you EAT Local? We’d love to hear them. Post your thoughts on our Facebook page or give us a shout on Twitter

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