Flying Dog adds to its litter

One of the great things about a craft brewery is that you can fool around with lots of experiments and not worry about disrupting a gigantic manufacturing operation.

Take the Flying Dog Brewery in Denver. The city's largest craft brewer -- and Colorado's second largest -- is set to release a new beer aged in whiskey barrels and packaged in 750ml champagne bottles.

It's called Gonzo Imperial Porter, the latest addition to the brewery's "Wild Dog Series."

After brewing, this porter was put into charred white American oak barrels from the neighboring Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey distillery, and aged for three months. It then was hand bottled, corked, labeled and conditioned for another six weeks before being shipped.

The taste? Says Matt Brophy, the head brewer, it will "remind you of sweet chocolate, dry oak and smooth whiskey. The barrel's distinctive characteristics will compliment the Imperial Porter's already robust, full-bodied flavor."

The Brewery is located at 2401 Blake Street, two blocks north of the baseball stadium. Tours are given weekdays at 4 p.m. and Saturdays at 1 and 3 p.m. Hunter S. Thompson, the infamous gonzo journalist, had a hand in the brewery's development, and the beers are easily spotted thanks to gonzo artist Ralph Steadman, the packaging designer.

Only 5,000 bottles of the whiskey barrel-aged brew will be packaged. Of those, Flying Dog also is offering 500 Limited Edition Wild Dog gift box sets. Each will contain a 750ml bottle of the brew, a Wild Dog glass, collector's button and an authentic piece of the wood barrel used in the aging process.

"The wood will still hold the great aromas from the whiskey and beer that aged in it," said Neal Stewart, Flying Dog's marketing director.

Flying Dog's "litter of ales" includes nine everyday brands and four seasonals. The Wild Dog Series started in 2004 with the release of a Double Pale Ale then continued with a Weisenbock in 2005 and last year's Colorado Saison. The brewery is planning to release another Wild Dog this coming October. The line is available in 45 states.

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