The session logoThis is my first crack at “The Session”, where one day per month a plethora of beer bloggers white about a common topic. This month’s Beer Blogger Friday is devoted to beer labels with animals on them, and is called The Brew Zoo. Rick over at Lyke 2 Drink got to come up with this month’s topic. Being the Creative Manager at Flying Dog, I am in a unique position to talk about what I do for a living for this month’s session. If you know about us, you’ll know that most every style we have has an amazing illustration of an animal (Woody Creek White, Gonzo Imperial Porter, and our limited release Wild Dog being the only exceptions).

We’re very lucky to have Ralph Steadman illustrations on all of our bottles. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last 35 years, Ralph Steadman is one of the world’s most recognizable illustrators who worked closely with his friend Hunter S. Thompson.

I had just started working at Flying Dog last year when Ralph came to town to promote his book “The Joke’s Over”, a memoir about his relationship with Hunter. After watching his presentation (complete with over a hundred slides) in Downtown Denver, a few brewery employees went out with Ralph and his wife for a few drinks. There I got to talk to him for a little while as he related a few choice stories to us about hanging out with Hunter. Getting to meet Ralph better helped me to understand where his artistic style, cynical humor and sharp wit was coming from.

My time around Ralph inspired me, big time. When I was hired, one of the projects the brewery wanted me to tackle was a redesign of our labels. I was eager to keep the spirit of Ralph’s illustrations while better organizing and standardizing the label content. Due to circumstances beyond our control, the project took longer than expected, but our new labels are in the process of being printed, and with any luck they’ll start appearing on shelves before November 1. Below is our redesigned label for Doggie Style, our Classic Pale Ale.


You’ll notice similarities between this dog and our logo, as it plays a large part in the inception of the brewery. Rather than relating this story to you myself, please watch this video of brewery co-founder George Stranahan explaining where the Flying Dog came from (click the below image to start the video):

Since we’ve got the word “Dog” in our brewery name, it makes sense that many of our labels feature dogs on them. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill pooches, though. Many of his illustrations are mythical beasts related to the dog. The character on our Horn Dog Barley Wine is part Rhinoceros, part dog, part T-Rex. To me, this is the most wonderful illustration that we’re currently using on our labels. That is to say, amongst the labels we’ve got on shelves today. We have a few things up our sleeves that you’ll just have to wait to find out about.


The process in which we work with Ralph is relatively simple. We determine a style and then a name. Ralph lives in England, so we email him our general thoughts. Within a few weeks Ralph emails us a high-resolution JPEG which we then review. If we have any changes (which is extremely rare), we write Ralph back and he sends us finalized work. I then trim out the background in Photoshop and place the artwork into our label template. The non-traditional look of our labels makes them unique in the beer world. These aren’t symmetrical, centered, and certainly aren’t boring. Our labels give our beers a personality of their own, and we think of them not merely as pieces of paper affixed to a glass bottle, but as art themselves.

Please feel free to review the rest of our redesigned labels here.



Dustin is Flying Dog’s new brewery intern. What a lucky bastard! Now all we have to do is break him of his hippy, tie-dye shirt wearing ways. Just think if you had relentlessly bothered our head brewer Matt Brophy you could be in Dustin’s shoes. Good luck Dustin and don’t screw it up for yourself.



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Our brewer Kurt Randall prepares our new pilot filter system to run our inaugural batch from with our brewer’s newest toy. Naturally, the first batch is Doggie Style. You gotta stick with the classics. This system will be pumping out the newest additions to the Flying Dog line and the test brews will occasionally be available through the Flying Dog tasting room.



ABC NEWS recently featured a story on fun Summer jobs.  They stopped by the brewery to see what it’s like to be a Tour Guide at Flying Dog and now Rippe thinks he is a huge deal now because he was on TV.

Click here to view the video

Rippe w hand



Barrel Aged Horn Dog Many people who visit the brewery have the impression that we have uber secret brews stashed
away that we don’t share with the public. Well, all those people would be right.

This Wild Dog is our Horn Dog Barley Wine aged in used Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Barrels for 14 months. This was one of our secret stashes that we made for our drinking pleasure with no intensions of ever releasing it to the public. Luckily, for all you out there in the People’s Republic of Flying Dog, we over shot a little on the volume and ended up with about 700 extra 12 oz. bottles of this brew. This very limited Wild Dog beer is only available through the tasting room and upon request at that. This beer won’t be around much longer, so come get your grubby paws on some.

Due to the extremely limited nature we are raping people for $8 a bottle. Supply and demand folks, were in no hurry to get rid of this stuff.

[tags]flying dog, test beer, test brew, beer, limited beer, limited brew, wild dog, stashed beer, stashed brew[/tags]



It’s always pretty easy to find people to participate in some research and development around here. At a brewery, you can also call this process “sampling beers and exerting your opinion on anyone who will listen.”

Tuesday was R&D day for the new Trippel we’re planning to launch at the beginning of 2008. We all sampled a variety of Trippels from around the world and waxed poetic on what we smelled and tasted, while Head Brewer, Matt Brophy diligently took notes and contemplated the recipe.

trippel group

This new beer will be the 4th member of our Canis Major Series which already includes Horn Dog Barley Wine, Gonzo Imperial Porter and Double Dog Double Pale Ale. All of our Canis Majors are what can be considered “big” or “extreme” beers. They are available in 4-packs and on draft.

[tags]beer research, beer tasting, beer test, experimental beer, extreme beer, big beer, beer samples, flying dog, brewet[/tags]



We launched a couple weeks back, and so far, we’re getting some good feedback.

Appellation Beer made a great point – Shouldn’t every dinner be a “Beer Dinner”?

There’s been quite a bit of chatter on

And seems to like the Grilled Sausage, Jicama; Apple Slaw and Scottish Porter Apricot Mustard. Chris tried this recipe himself and agrees – it’s awesome.

Grilled Sausage, Jicama and Apple Slaw, and Scottish Porter Apricot Mustard with Road Dog Porter 5

Inside tip: Be on the lookout for an announcement in the next couple of weeks. We’re co-hosting a Beer Dinner with DRAFT Magazine during GABF. Time, date, location , and how to buy tickets TBA.

[tags]beer dinners, beer dinner, flying dog, flying dog brewery, denver brewery, colorado beer, beer and food, craft beer[/tags]



Dogtoberfest Bottle
Denver’s Flying Dog Brewery is set to release their Fall seasonal Dogtoberfest. The Denver-based brewery’s third seasonal of the year is a traditional-style Marzen, brewed with 100% imported German ingredients. Dogtoberfest’s grist includes a mix of Light and Dark Munich and Vienna malts. It’s hopped with German Perle and Hersbrucker hops and is lager fermented.
Flying Dog’s Head Brewer, Matt Brophy says that Dogtoberfest is unique from other Fall seasonals, “We use a blend of five different German malts to give this lager a complex and satisfying malt character. Combined with our proprietary yeast strain, it strikes the perfect balance for the style”.

According to Flying Dog’s Director of Marketing, Neal Stewart, Fall seasonals are especially popular, “There are a lot of great seasonals brands available around this time of year and Dogtoberfest has historically been our most popular seasonal. I think a lot of that has to do with people experimenting with darker, malty beers as the weather starts to cool off again.”

Dogtoberfest is available throughout September and October in six-packs at your local grocery or liquor store and on draft at bars across the country. Dogtoberfest is part of Flying Dog’s “litter of ales” which currently includes nine brands and three other seasonal selections.

[tags]flying dog. octoberfest, seasonal beer, brew, beer, dogtoberfest, experimental beer, experimental beers, marzen beer, denver beer[/tags]



As many of you know, Ralph Steadman illustrates our packaging. What you might NOT know is how unbelievably vast Ralph’s collection of art is.

A few months back, after a speaking engagement here in Denver, Ralph was kind enough to give us a disc with many of his best pieces on it. So, here is a video showing off some of our favorites. You can also log on to our Flickr page to see more of Ralph’s work.

[tags]ralph steadman, picture slideshow, art slideshow, photo slideshow, ralph steadman art, artists, flying dog art, flying dog[/tags]

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