Flying Dog Brewery returns to Denver to open new tasting room tonight

I'm going to give Flying Dog Brewery another try - tonight.

Although I wasn't a big fan of their beers when the brewery was based in Denver - and even less so after they scampered off to Maryland for bigger digs - Flying Dog is opening a new tasting room today at 2330 Broadway where craft beer fans can sample some of their staples (hopefully, Raging Bitch will be among them), as well as experimental and small-batch brews.

And any move that breeds downtown Denver beer culture deserves some recognition.

Brewery CEO Jim Caruso says Flying Dog has wanted to open a tasting room for a while, but was waiting for the right space. Now that the brewery has moved its offices - Caruso and six other corporate employees still live and work in Colorado even though all of their beer is made on the East Coast - they have that chance.

Today's grand opening is from 5 to 7 p.m. with free beer and munchies.

The tasting room can seat fifteen to twenty people comfortably and hold up to fifty, Caruso says. Hours will be based on popular demand -- which could be high since Flying Dog doesn't plan to sell pints; rather, the brewery wants to give away samples of its beer to tasters coming through. They'll also showcase artwork and hold other events.

"It will be a high energy space...one that will just get cooler and cooler as it evolves, which is what happens with most of what we do," says Caruso. "We'll introduce new beers there, some of which you won't be able to sample anywhere else."

Flying Dog was founded by famed rancher and Aspen legend George Stranahan (who also co-founded Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey), along with Richard McIntyre and Caruso. Its artwork is all done by Ralph Steadman, illustrator and friend of the late Hunter S. Thompson, who knew and lived close to Stranahan.

The brewery moved its operations to Frederick, Maryland, at the beginning of 2008 because it had run out of room in Denver. It also wanted to serve its large client base on the East Coast and in Europe, Caruso says.

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