Whose Up For A Flea Bath?!

Brewery and Country of Origin: Flying Dog Brewery of 4607 Wedgewood Boulevard, Frederick, MD, 21703, USA

Date Reviewed: 9-17-12

Based in the wealthiest state in America, Flying Dog is obsessed with canine related marketing, stemming from an old story about a water painting (see brewery page for more info) which the owners described the four legged main subject as a dog that "had left the ground." Of course, they might have been a few beers deep as this was happening. Either way, they had appropriately named this brew "Old Scratch," referring to the ever so brutus-humbling condition of having fleas. Fleas are dirty, and in a way, so is this beer. Though as you can see, it has a clear appearance overall, this beer's character is a bit unclear. A dull, murky flavored aftertaste, a weak foam head, and a flavor profile uncharacteristic of the style in general. What this is then, is an unrefined, yet entirely unique, and definitely enjoyable way to salute the dogs and their owners who've had to suffer the itching, flea baths, and embarrassing calls to the exterminator, in order to get rid of that Old Scratch.
Date Sampled: 9-07-12 At: 7 Prescott Place, Allston, Boston, MA, 02134, USA
Beer Style: Amber Lager
Alcohol by Volume: 5.50%
Serving Type: 12 oz Bottle, 16 oz Stange Glass
Rating: 3.09


Old Scratch pours mostly smooth with low carbonation action, giving it a thin foam head which has little retention. There is only a small amount of lacing happening on the glass. This beer is clear with a rich amber color and a full shine.


The aroma is full of caramel and amber malt character, accompanied by a subtle grainy flavor typical of most lagers. There is no hints of any hops in the aroma. Because this beer has a low level of foam, the aroma is not very prominent. Make sure you aren't sick.


This is a light bodied, easily drinkable beer with a fair bit of weight, a typically low viscosity, and a medium/average amount of carbonation. The beer finishes with a dullness in the aftertaste, and no lingering. This beer's lighter character makes it a good hot weather beer for people looking to accomplish something malty.


Though this is a lager, it is domiated with mainly caramel malt flavor. There are some other darker and roasted malt flavors present as well, and almost no hoppy tastes come out, even in the finish. This beer's slightly grainy flavor comes out the most during the finish, which has a short lived aftertaste.

Our Take

Though this is technically a lager, we think of this beer as more of a hybrid style. The lager half comes out with a light body, forgiving finish, and easy drinkability overall. The other half is derived from the amber ale, which features a more sweet, malty (especially caramel), and of course, darker colored experience in general. So essentially, you potentially get the best of both worlds. If you are a fan of a nice, easy going summer beer with a bit more substance in the malty taste department, look no further. This is definitely a hot weather brew which (though it is offered on a year-round basis) will satisfy even the most parched beachgoer on the Fourth of July. Unfortunately, however, that is the extent to which things go well. This beer has a weak foam head which doesn't give off much of anything close to an impressive aroma, and even worse, this beer's finish will leave you rather unsatisfied, if you find that your sips have a good amount of time in between them. Still, this is a pretty good beer which you should give a chance. Though this brew doesn't seem to really know what it is, every dog has its day. And this beer, well, with it being half lager and half ale, it might as well be pulling diphtheria antitoxin to Nome, AK.