Everyone knows dogs like beer. Thing is, you’re not supposed to give it to them.
The science is a little iffy—and anecdotes contradict claims that beer will harm your pooch—but giving a dog alcohol is generally frowned upon in polite society.
Daniel Keeton smelled malty opportunity.
Because the grains used to brew beer are worth little after their sugars have been sucked out for fermentation, they mostly end up as livestock feed. Dogs, of course, are a lot like furry little cattle. So Keeton combined some barley water with a little organic vegetable broth and packaged it in brown plastic bottles. He sells six-packs of nonalcoholic “Dawg Grog” for $36, including shipping.
It won’t get your dog drunk, but it has gotten Keeton, who works as a bartender at Boneyard Brewery in Bend, publicity from the New York Daily News, Huffington Post and television stations across the country.
Everyone had a chuckle, but no one asked the obvious question: Is this stuff any good?
We paid the $36 and assembled a panel of five canine tasters—plus music editor Matthew Singer—to find out what dogs actually think of the stuff.
5-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/poodle mix
An aloof and demanding dog who will aggressively beg for belly scratches, Mia is a fan of salty foods as well as dirty socks and dead birds. When she comes across something really smelly, she tries to roll in it.
Response: Mia liked the Dawg Grog the most of any pooch taste-tester. She even snouted her sister Lucy out of the way to lap up some from Lucy’s bowl.
4-year-old Shih Tzu/poodle mix
An enthusiastic and sporty little dog, Lucy is an avid short-distance fetcher who is very drawn to sweet foods. She whines for ice cream and likes to sniff beer, especially stouts. She hates riding in the car at night.
Response: Lucy took two quick licks and moved on from her own bowl, but did make a point of sniffing every other dog’s bowl to make sure she had the same thing.
A sweet and sleepy couch potato who goes nuts for ice cream, Sylvie thinks she’s a lap dog. There’s nothing (except ice cream) that she loves more than to sit on your lap on the couch. Or to crawl into bed and sleep under the covers. She will stay at the bottom of the bed under the covers until she gets so hot that she vomits. She hates riding in cars and dislikes loud noises.
Response: She was willing to try Dawg Grog, but began licking her mouth like she was trying to get rid of the taste.
5-year-old German shorthaired pointer mix.
A perfect day in the life of Dunkel involves chasing squirrels in the park or, better yet, seagulls at the beach, begging for food (bacon! But anything meaty will do) and loving on his baby brother—a 13-month-old human. He’s a total bed hog.
Response: This was Dunkel’s second encounter with Dawg Grog. Each time, after slurping a no-thank-you portion, he walked away.
A mellow old lady, Lily likes sitting in her parents’ laps after dinner and licking their hands. When she had more teeth, she loved carrots, but now bananas go down easier. Sometimes she tries to climb into the dishwasher to lick the dirty plates. Lily sleeps more than a lazy teenage boy.
Response: She took two sniffs of Dawg Grog, walked away and began licking the carpet. It must have had some effect: As the four other dogs sat obediently in their swivel chairs for photos, Lily repeatedly climbed onto the tabletop.
30-year-old music editor
A graying Italian-Australian mix with horrible eyesight and rapidly failing hearing, Matthew lives a mostly sedentary lifestyle, which he spends waiting for the day when it becomes socially acceptable to eat Peeps in public on days other than Easter.
Response: Took a sip of Dawg Grog, determined it’s not quite as bad as drinking one’s own bile, then took another and realized that, actually, it is. Went back to his desk and quietly questioned his career choices.
Martin Cizmar, Rebecca Jacobson, Ben Mollica, Brian Yaeger and Matthew Singer.
BUY: Dawg Grog is available at dawggrog.com.