As a “thank you” gift for helping out some friends, I was given an assortment of six Pub Dog brews in 750ml bottles. And really, when someone gives you 4.5 liters of beer, any beer afficionado should rejoice.
I’d been seeing Pub Dog beers around Maryland for a while, but hadn’t the opportunity to try them. But being a fan of several Maryland beers (including some gems from Heavy Seas and the masterpieces of Brian Stillwater), I was excited to try the line of brews from Baltimore-based (and Westminster, MD-brewed) Pub Dog.
I brought home the box, and decided to get crazy with their “Raspberry Dog”. I grabbed my favorite glass, and poured in the lager-style beer (5.0%, I believe). It had a dark color and, with no surprise, had a very slight tint of pink. Cute.
I immediately buried my nose into the top of the glass to experience the aroma and found, well, nothing but bitter air. Not bitter as in, “I smell hops,” it was bitter like, “ew, is that old raspberries?”
Still giving it the benefit of the doubt, I took a sip. To be completely fair, it does actually taste like raspberries. You get an immediate flavor in the center of your tongue, which finds its way to the sides and finishes with a very flat flavor. I ended up finishing the bottle, but just didn’t feel fulfilled.
The following night, I reluctantly reached for the bottle of, “Blueberry Dog.” As soon as I poured it into the glass, I realized I was probably in for a repeat performance. It’s also a 5% lager, but comes out of the bottle in purple-red color that is really quite attractive.
But like the raspberry beer, this also had no aroma. Even worse, it has no good flavor, either, which is really disappointing because I love blueberries. You find neither any identifiable blueberry flavor, nor any malt, hops, or even residual sugar flavoring.
“I know what it tastes like,” commented my wife. “Ass.”
I’m not as harsh, but I found that the beverage it most resembled was when you get a soda with very little syrup in it. Just a flat, bitter, lifeless flavor. Oddly enough (and not meaning to be this disgusting), I found that when I belched, I actually tasted blueberries. So really, they must be in there somewhere.
Unfortunately for Pub Dog, I prefer to taste my beers going down, and not coming back up. In the end, I could only stomach about four ounces, and the rest of the bottle was poured down the drain.
I still have a bottle of “Peach Dog” awaiting me, which I will give a fair chance to, but I suspect it may also be a let down. There are some non-fruity beers in the queue, so I’ll be interested to see how Pub Dog does with, well, normal beers.
As much as I like to support the small brewers, beers this devoid of flavor should really be re-imagined by their brewers. A lot could be learned by them cracking open something like 21st Amendment‘s “Hell or High Watermelon” or even something as mundane as “Bud Light Lime”.