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How John Hickenlooper Made Denver History

Many residents in and around Colorado know the name John Hickenlooper to belong to their state’s governor. Especially in the Denver area, some may still recognize him as the former mayor of the Mile High City. But Hickenlooper means so much more to the state of Colorado and the history of Denver, and much of that has to do with his early professional journey.

history of denver, as it relates to drinkingMention the name “Wynkoop Brewing Company” to residents of Denver, and their eyes will light up. It’s the first brew pub to open its doors in the historic downtown of Denver after prohibition ended in the state of Colorado, serving its first beer to the public in 1988. In the 27 year since, the Wynkoop has turned into one of the largest microbreweries in the entire United States.

Today, the pub is located within convenient walking distance to Coors Field, and offers hearty pub fare along with live music and comedy and, of course, self-brewed beer. The facilities even include a BCA-sanctioned billiards parlor upstairs, completing the unique and comfortable feeling that keeps guests coming back to the Wynkoop.

But it’s how one of the two landmark microbreweries in downtown Denver got started that really deserves attention. Guess who was the person who brewed and served the first beer, all the way back in 1988? That would be beloved ex-mayor and current Colorado governor John Hickenlooper. Considering the Mile High City’s rich history and array of different brews, we hardly think so.

Of course, the Wynkoop Brewing Company is just one of the many beer-related locations worth exploring in and around Denver. For a tour of this and many other famous microbreweries, pubs and their stories, contact us.


Breckenridge Brewery – 1 of 5 Colorado Breweries on Top 50 List

breckenridge brewery

Breckenridge Brewery is riding the craft-beer wave and is soon to open another brewery, with a beer garden, in Littleton, CO.

The count is in and the results are awesome: Colorado is home to five of the fifty biggest craft breweries in the nation!

According to the Denver Post, Fort Collins’ New Belgium Brewing maintained its position as the state’s largest craft brewery and snagged itself 4th place in the nation-wide list. Coming in behind were Longmont’s Oskar Blues Brewery at 24th, Fort Collins’ Odell Brewing at 34th, Longmont’s Left Hand Brewing at 40th, and Denver’s own Breckenridge Brewery at 50th.

The craft brewery rules, defined by the Brewers Association, stipulate that a brewery must have relatively small production, be independently owned, and use traditional ingredients in its beer in order to qualify.

These rules don’t seem to be hindering the craft beer industry, however, as it is experiencing a huge boom in popularity and growth. Breckenridge is riding the wave and is soon to open another brewery, with beer garden, in Littleton. The project is valued at $36 million, but it should be paying for itself soon enough. According to spokeswoman Terry Usry, “Our (2014) growth was only 4 percent because we are so capacity constrained.” With the new location, production should jump from 64,000 barrels to 184,000 barrels. As such, Breckinridge will be doubling its sales and marketing staff this year. They’ll also be experimenting with some new malts and hops and increasing their barrel-aged program, meaning new and exciting beers are on the horizon!

If you want to keep up with all the Denver brewing happenings, contact us today and arrange a tour!


A new addition to Denver breweries, shows us the skills.

On July 5, 2014 there was a new addition to Denver breweries. Baere Brewery in the baker neighborhood at 320 Broadway, is that great new addition. The co-founder Ryan Skeels has used his mindset as a skateboarder to build on the simple foundation of brewing to create unique flavors and styles. In skateboarding simply landing a trick and riding away is not good enough. One must have style.

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Mastering both craft-beer brewing and skating takes artistry and personality. Baere Brewery does both.

The foundations of brewing beer are simple. Barley, malt sugar, and hops get boiled together. Yeast is then added to the mixture and left to ferment. In street skateboarding, the foundation is the ollie, or jumping with the skateboard. These two things might sound easy. What’s so hard about mixing a bunch of ingredients together? What’s so hard about jumping with a board. In reality, these are both very hard to learn. Mastering them is another story, altogether.

When kids first learn to skate, they practice for hours, days, even weeks to learn the ollie. When they finally get the coordination down and jump without falling, chances are they are barely leaving the ground. It takes another few months to actually get any height. Similar to brewing, which also begins with practice at home. Anyone’s first brew is probably drinkable, but usually lacks any style or complexity.

Once the ollie is master, to add complexity, the skateboarder learns flip tricks. Skateboarders do flip tricks by flicking feet in various ways while doing an ollie. This makes the board rotate before they land back on it, and ride away. Each variety of trick takes hours of practice, repeated failure, and often pain. After learning a trick, landing and riding away isn’t enough. The skater has to make it his own, by adding style. This basically means, making it look effortless in a personally artistic way. When it comes to brewing, simply creating a beer with an alcohol content isn’t enough for the skateboarding brewmaster. Through years of practice, he has learned to make beer personal, by adding complexity, artistry, and style. The people atBaere brewery really have created something amazing.

After I had a drink at Baere Brewery, later that evening I couldn’t get it out of my head. The smooth delicious taste, the aroma, the overall feeling, became a memory. I was back the next night to relive that memory.

To talk more about this, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.


Denver Breweries: A Place for Those Who Are Sweet on Sours

Denver breweries may not always have a lock on original beer names but they do know how to create one-of-a-kind atmospheres for their patrons. Such is the case with the heavy death metal focused, Trve Brewing Company on Broadway. They opened in the early 2000s but expanded their portfolio by adding a new location in 2014. Presently dubbed, “The Acid Temple”, it’s a great place to go when you want to have a rousing, albeit sour, night of revelry.

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Trve Brewery’s new location spotlights sour, barrel-aged beers.

That’s right. The new location spotlights sour beers. They’re traditionally made with wild yeasts or fruits and come in a variety of styles. Among the most popular are oud bruin, Berliner weisse, gose, American wild ale, limbic and Flanders red ale. Trve Brewing Company has been producing several of them for some time now and we can’t wait to see what sour beers they come up with next. Their current line of sour beers is made with the aid of Breckenridge Whiskey, California Chardonnay and California Cabernet soaked barrels. They give the company’s brews a taste that even today’s self-proclaimed, Norse Gods would be hard-pressed to ignore.

At this time, there is no food slated to be served at either location. So, fuel up before or after you swing by for a great tasting brew and a throbbing earful of death metal. There are plenty of restaurants along South Broadway and in the general area. Consequently, it shouldn’t be difficult to find everything from a good egg roll and wood-fired pizza to a traditional pad Thai. The next time you join us for a guided tour of Denver’s best places to down a wild beer, ask us and we’ll be sure to point out our favorite dining spots nearby. To learn more about the tour and places like the ones we mentioned above, please contact us today.


A Self Serve Bar in Denver

The Denver brewery and bar scenes are both booming, but this summer something new is coming to town, according to Westword. Mark Slattery, the popular beer blogger also known as the Denver Beer Guy, is moving into the 2601 Larimer development in River North, and he’s bringing a dream with him.

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The dream is a tap room that is completely self service. In lieu of a bartender, the room is managed by a program called iPourIt, which allows customers to open tabs and pour their own beers in amounts strictly tabulated by corresponding wristbands. It’s an excellent way to sample small amounts of a variety of beers.

And the beers are worth sampling. Slattery says he plans to carry beers that are one-third to one-half from Colorado breweries, with the rest being choicely selected from across the country. “We plan to showcase the best beers we can get our hands on,” he says. The beers, as well as ciders and wines totalling forty in all, will rotate regularly.

Slattery has only the highest respect for Denver’s breweries, but felt he wanted to take things in a different direction. “Denver already has a great craft brewery scene,” he says. But rather than add his voice to many, he has decided to bring “a unique drinking experience” to the city.

First Draft will feature small but quality plates of food that pair well with the beers on offer, as well as a 900 square foot patio with a fire pit. He hopes to be open in June.

If you want to learn more about the latest beer news in Denver, please contact us!


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