Sep 22, 2011

Review: Flying Dog Secret Stash 2011

Flying Dog Secret Stash photoHerbal, funky, awesome

I’m not entirely sure how long Maryland based Flying Dog has been releasing the fruits of this project, but I certainly love what they are doing with their Secret Stash seasonals. Each year, the brewery sources local ingredients to develop an once-a-year beer that uses nothing but those elements in it’s recipe. This year, Flying Dog is using “…fresh Cascade and Chinook hops balanced with soft red wheat, sweet corn, potatoes, and honey.”

Now, I’m all for fresh hops in my beer. There’s an intrinsic quality that is almost indescribable when trying to articulate their effect on a beer — simply put, I love them! It’s the addition of the sweet corn and potatoes that has me a little concerned. I’m not entirely sure if I’ve ever had a beer with either (let alone both) of these ingredients in it’s frothy depths.

It wasn’t until I started sipping on the beer, however, that I found myself fully immersed in enjoying Secret Stash 2011, but also completely forgetting about the corn and potato — I’m not even aware of their presence in the aroma or on the palate. I was more focused on the Saison-like funk and the fresh, grassy hop character.


Secret Stash pours a hazy, golden amber in color with a decent sized, foamy head that fell slowly to a patchy surface cover.


There’s a good deal going on within this beer’s nose: hay, fresh-cut grass, herbs, a light funk, piny hops and an overall earthy character.


It’s the sharp mouthfeel that caught my attention first as it transitions to a fairly dry finish that lingers a good bit. Once past that, elements of a moderately funky Saison emerged with a healthy dose of grassy, lemony hops that bring with them a decent level of bitterness. There’s an earthy character to everything in this brew, from the piny hops to the herbs, spices and not-at-all-sweet honey. I can’t say that I was able to pick up any of the corn or potato though.


Flying Dog certainly has themselves a unique brew with this latest round of Secret Stash. I love the fresh, earthy attitude of the beer as well as the sharp crispness and light funk. It’s a fairly easy drinking and refreshing beer, though it may take some a few sips to fully get into it’s herbal and fresh hop character. At 5.5% ABV it’s not quite sessionable, but is certainly light enough on the alcohol that a few of them in a sitting won’t hurt.

Rating: 4.25/5

This is a review of a promotional sample received from the brewery.