Old Bay Summer Ale, Your New Go-To Warm Weather Beer

Rachel Tepper Paley

YES. It’s what we say to things that are awesome. Yes.

Photo credit: Flying Dog Brewery

Those hailing from the Mid-Atlantic region know well the pleasures of cracking open a steamed crab flavored with the pungent spice mix known as Old Bay and chasing it with a well-chilled summer ale.

Among them are the daring folks at Frederick, Marylandbased Flying Dog Brewery, who have officially blown our minds with their latest seasonal brew: Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale, a beer brewed with (you guessed it) Old Bay. 

When a few bottles arrived at our office last week, we didn’t know what to think. Old Bay? In beer? To put it delicately, some editors were put off. But then, we tried it.

It’s better than “not bad.” It’s pretty darn good.

The brew has a lingering Old Bay kick after the beer has dissipated on the palate, but overall it’s a crisp, drinkable beer perfect for quaffing on a hot day near the water—preferably one that involves eating crabs.

How much Old Bay is in a bottle of Dead Rise? The Washington Post tried and failed to get the answer out of brewmaster Matt Brophy, but he did reveal this:

"It’s not insignificant," he said. "If you make the beer and you call it Old Bay beer and people have to use their imagination to figure out where’s the Old Bay, that seems kind of gimmicky to me. If we say there’s Old Bay in it, there’s Old Bay in it, and you’re gonna taste it."

Truth. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Dead Rise will be on shelves in Maryland, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and North Carolina. But according to Brophy, if we’re really lucky the beer might become an annual release.