Once Upon a Brew Pub: Laughing Dog Brewing Co.

Can you believe it’s almost a new year? The last time I turned around it was summer, when Canda and I were busy watching the grandkids three days a week, and had limited time for adventures visiting brew pubs.

After the kids returned to school in the fall, we decided to celebrate with a road trip. The place we chose was near Sandpoint, Idaho. It’s located in the Idaho panhandle, and right on Lake Pend Oreille, the largest lake in the state of Idaho. It’s a beautiful area, and of course (knowing us), we searched for local brewpubs.

Laughing Dog Brewing Company is a well-known brewery in the area, and we were anxious to try it. Fred and Michelle Colby are the owners, and the laughing yellow lab that appears on all of LDBC logos and beers is Ben, their dog. He gets final approval on new ideas and flavors, one bark for OK two barks for NO. Ben at some point plans to retire and pass the baton on to his son Ruger.

Established in 2005, their motto remains the same as when they started, create “Fetchingly Good Beer,” so go visit and fetch a bone. Sampler tray that is.

219 Pilsner

Low to medium grainy maltiness accompanied by a medium hop aroma. A pale yellow, with a just a bit of haziness. Medium body with a creamy mouthfeel, the moderately high malt sweetness balances well which make this a very pleasing Pilsner. This beer was an NABA Gold Medal winner in 2011. I can see why.

ABV 4.8% IBU’s 11

Hefeweizen

Low hop aroma with a light malty sweetness, no clove phenols. Medium light body accompanied a soft fluffy impression. A pleasant sweet doughy flavor with just enough bitterness for a nice balance. A great example of an American wheat beer. Clean and refreshing.

ABV 4.8% IBU’s 6.5

Anniversary Brown

The aroma is very malt forward with rich caramel character. Dark amber with reddish highlights, clear. A medium bodied beer, moderate malt sweetness, nutty with a touch of caramel. Lightly astringent from the roasted malt, which leads to a pleasing dry finish. A nicely done brown ale.

IBU’s 46

Huckleberry Cream Ale

A very pleasing huckleberry aroma with light malt notes. A smooth, refreshing and easy drinking beer. This cream ale is light on hop bitterness, the somewhat sweet malt finish blending very well with the flavor of the huckleberry. Overall, Huckleberry Cream Ale is a great warm summer day lawnmower beer. Another award winner from LDBC.

ABV 4% IBU’s 8.9

American Amber

A great malt forward aroma with hop notes of citrus and pine. The color is coppery brown. Medium bodied, a smooth finish with little bitterness or astringency. Moderately strong malt flavor but balanced with enough hop bitterness so the sweetness is not cloying. A pleasant enjoyable amber. I could drink more than one.

ABV 5.5% IBU’s 30

Grapefruit Pale Ale

Another clean refreshing session brew from LDBC. The aroma is fairly light on both the malt and the hops although there is a touch of citrus. Low bodied, the grapefruit flavor is noticeable but not overpowering. Another great lazy summer day beer and with the low alcohol you can have another.

ABV 4% IBU’s 43

Rocket Dog Rye IPA

Another award winning brew from LDBC. Moderate hop aroma, a touch of pepper from the rye otherwise low malt notes. The color is medium gold and the beer is bright and clear. Medium bodied, the Cascade, Cluster and Simcoe hops meld well with the peppery rye malt. This produces a very quaffable crisp Rye IPA. The local tap room’s favorite. I do enjoy a good well balanced rye beer. Pour me another.

ABV 6.7% IBU’s 63

Pecan Porter

Ahhhhh Pecan Porter! Porters and stouts must always be sampled (especially if Canda is with me). What can I say, Canda loved this porter. Great pecan aroma accompanied with pleasing chocolate notes. Opaque. Full bodied with the pecan flavor in the moderate to medium range, a touch of chocolate and a light bitterness from the roasted malt. A very well balanced robust porter, she will have another, and she does if she sees it anywhere.

ABV 9.2% IBU’s 34

Alpha Dog Imperial IPA

This award winning IPA has a moderate piney hop aroma from the generous quantities of Columbus and Mt. Hood hops. Light golden and clear. Medium to high bitterness, assertive but it does not linger nor is it astringent. The use of Victory and Honey malts give this IIPA a great balance. This is one for all you Hop Heads out there.

ABV 8% IBU’S 125

Stop by if you’re in the area. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. As usual some of the beers reviewed are seasonal and might not be available. Canda and I are planning on going back next summer!

Laughing Dog Brewing
805 Schweitzer Plaza Drive
Ponderay, ID 83852
(208) 263-9222

Don Williams
Don Williams has been a home brewer since 2002. He is a recognized BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) judge, and has taught brewing classes. Don enjoys visiting brew pubs in various parts of the country. He and his wife live in Kalispell, Montana.
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5 Responses

  1. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    I always enjoy your columns; a mini-vacation oriented around visiting brew pubs has a lot of appeal.

  2. Dave Munro says:

    Pecan Porter sounds amazing. I’m sure that was right up Canda’s alley. Will you be doing an article on Tamarack Brewing in Lakeside?

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