Taking the tour de burger

Alan Richman is a well-traveled food writer and essayist. He estimates he traveled 23,750 miles and consumed more than 150,000 calories while taking the measure of 162 burgers across the country so he could come up with a list for GQ magazine of the 20 best burgers in America.

Of course, such lists are great for conversation starters but they're fraught with fraught. In a nation of 230 million people, it's likely there will be at least 220 million different lists. I discount 10 million people right off the bat to account for vegetarians,, infants and ne'er-do-wells. Plus, Richman often stirs a lot of criticism, most recently for his comments about New Orleans cuisine.

Nevertheless, Richman is an amusing guy who doesn't stint on his research. So, here's his list. You may want to print it out to keep on hand during your travels:

(1.) Sirloin Burger, Le Tub, Hollywood, FL.
(2.) Luger Burger, Peter Luger Steak House, Brooklyn, NY.
(3.) Not Just a Burger, Spiced Pear Restaurant at the Chanler Hotel, Newport, RI.
(4.) Rouge Burger, Rouge, Philadelphia, PA.
(5.) Kobe Sliders, Barclay Prime, Philadelphia, PA.

The others:

(6.) California Burger, Houston's, Santa Monica, CA.
(7.) Buckhorn Burger, Buckhorn, San Antonio, NM.
(8.) Hamburger, Miller's Bar, Dearborn, MI.
(9.) Cheeseburger, Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien Hotel, New York, NY.
(10.) Number Five, Keller's Drive-in, Dallas, TX.
(11.) Grilled Bistro Burger, Bistro Don Giovanni, Napa, CA.
(12.) Hamburger, Bobcat Bite, Sante Fe, NM.
(13.) Cheeseburger, White Manna, Hackensack, NJ.
(14.) Hamburger, J.G. Melon, New York, NY.
(15.) Build Your Own Burger, The Counter, Santa Monica, CA.
(16.) Hamburger & Fries, Burger Joint, San Francisco, CA.
(17.) Double Bacon Deluxe with Cheese, Red Mill Burgers, Seattle, WA.
(18.) Hamburger, Poag Mahone's Carvery and Ale House, Chicago, IL.
(19.) Our Famous Burger, Sidetrack Bar & Grill, Ypsilanti, MI.
(20.) Hamburger Sandwich, Louis' Lunch, New Haven, CT.

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.

Wynkoop: Denver's First Brew Pub
Denver Breweries and Brew Pubs
Denver Tourism Guide

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