What wonderful timing. I walk into the house, thinking I'd like something interesting to drink that evening, and then I spied a package on the porch from Flying Dog Brewery. "I hope it's the Harvest Ale," I thought. I was right! Typically I set brewery-supplied samples aside until I am in the mood to "work," but I was looking forward to this release, so after a short chill time in the fridge, I opened it up.
Flying Dog Secret Stash Harvest Ale is a Saison/Farmhouse Ale, and as such, pours with a rapidly growing head. I forget what type of beer I was dealing with initially, and started pouring a little too quickly and had to wait for the beer to settle a bit before continuing. The foam on top of the beer is thick and stiff, with large bubbles, and is quite persistent. The beer itself is a cloudy, beige-yellow color. The aroma is strong in wheat and yeast, with a hint of citrus and spice. The flavors are built around a strong wheat and saison yeast base. Initially there's a hint of honey sweetness, followed by citrus and spice. There's a zest and pithiness that tingles the tongue. A drying finish and lingering bitterness wraps it up.
I was really enjoying this beer, but knowing Colleen's fondness for Saisons I also wanted to let her have a taste too. Fortunately she arrived home before I finished the glass, so I shared the remaining beer. I didn't tell her what is was or who it was from. She sniffed, tasted, gave a smile, and asked if we could get more. Yea, we'll look for more.
Secret Stash Harvest Ale is a seasonal release made with local ingredients, so the recipe varies from year to year. This year's batch is brewed with locally grown wheat, and Cascade, Centennial and Chinook hops grown by Black Locust Hops and Organarchy Hops in Maryland. The brewery held a hop tasting and selection event with local farmers in August to select local hops for use in the beer. It will be showing up on shelves in MD, DC, VA, PA, NJ and NY soon. I'll be watching for it.
The beer reviewed here was a promotional sample from the brewery. My impressions are provided of my own free will.