Since the original PUB DOG PIZZA & DRAFTHOUSE in Baltimore’s historic Federal Hill section didn’t open ‘til 5 PM as of this March 2012 sojourn through Maryland-Virginia, my wife and I headed a few miles southwest to the industrial-bound Columbia-based franchise an hour earlier on the Sunday trip back to Jersey.
Situated at the right corner of the white-topped, red brick-bottomed Lakeside Retail Mall in quaint suburbia, Pub Dog may be considered a pizza joint by foremost designation, but one step inside proves it more closely resembles a commodious public house. Hundreds of Grand Marnier bottles decorate the walls alongside maps and charts of dogs, verifying the assumption.
Opened in September ’07, six years after the initial Baltimore location began operations (but didn’t sell ‘house’ beers until ’07), Pub Dog’s clean black interior leads directly to the right side sportsbar, where three TV’s show different basketball games and a shuffleboard table keeps kids entertained. A small outside deck allows dogs to roam while their owners ironically quaff a few canine-designated ales.
Sitting at one of the twelve booths in the elevated left side dining area watching hockey and downing suds, I chomped on the Big Dog Salad, a red-peppered romaine lettuce with grilled chicken, smoked gouda and gorgonzola vinaigrette. My wife enjoyed Mr. Green Jean’s Pizza (with olive-oiled mozzerella, feta, spinach, tomato, mushroom and basil) while downing Peach Dog, a tart peach ale with washed-out stone fruiting, astringent hop bittering and tannic grape souring.
I countered with Blueberry Dog, an easygoing lacquered blueberry tonic with subsidiary cranberry, mulberry and quince hints over white wheat. More interesting was Belgian Blue Corn, a one-off hybrid tripel gathering lemony banana-clove tartness above sweet corn malts.
Before escaping, velvety Irish Stout, Black Dog, hit the spot (along with a courtesy shot of Grand Marnier). The soft-toned dark ale brought mellow coffee-roasted bittering to espresso-milked dark chocolate and toasted walnut.
Reviews of the bottled versions of Raspberry Dog, Brown Dog and Hoppy Dog are listed in the Beer Index.