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Wynkoop Brewing Company

Wynkoop Brewing Company, Historically Crafted

Wynkoop Brewing Company is so much more than Denver’s first brewpub; it’s housed in a building that is steeped in the city’s mining and railroad history. Though the J.S. Brown Mercantile Building was not built until 1899, the area it is built on and the owner, John Sidney Brown, had been doing business with miners, brewers and grocers since 1861.

It’s almost like history set the stage for Wynkoop‘s successful destiny: world-renowned craft beer and New American pub grub.

And, it’s as if the building itself was meant to be tied to historical events forever.

In 1868, J.S. Brown was among the men who broke ground for the railroad in Denver. A strong advocate and key player (alongside other historical names like George Morrison and Governor John Evans) in bringing the railroad to Denver, Brown lobbied and raised money until the completion of Union Station, 13 years later.

With his business located directly across the street from Union Station, the building was meant for success.

In 1902, the Mercantile building made the news again, and was named “a magnificent structure, fitted up in a perfectly modern style, having railroad switches in its front and rear, and every convenience necessary for the prompt transacting of business” by the Denver Times (Denver Post).

Fast forward 80 plus years, and the building is still making history.

In 1988, a relatively unknown and laid-off geologist by the name of John Hickenlooper started the Wynkoop Brewing Company inside the old Mercantile building.

Mr. Hickenlooper went on to become the Mayor of Denver from 2003 to 2011. He was then elected as Governor of Colorado and assumed office on January 11, 2011.

But the political fame for the famous brewpub doesn’t stop there.

On a normal Tuesday in July of 2014, President Obama made a surprise visit to the unsuspecting brewpub. It was widely reported that Mr. Obama enjoyed a Rail Yard, the pub’s best-selling ale; and played a friendly game of pool with GovernorHickenlooper.

Wynkoop Brewing Company has and always will be connected to and making history. The experience of the historic atmosphere and the quality, crafted beer make this destination a Denver institution.

Want to experience the magic of Wynkoop Brewing Company in person and learn more? Check out these brewing tours today!


Wynkoop Brewing Company is a political hotspot

There’s a lot happening in Colorado’s capital city: Bills are signed, laws are passed, campaign stops are drawing crowds, and sometimes – if you’re lucky – you find a big time politician sitting at the bar next to you.

Last July, Wynkoop Brewing Company was taken by surprise when President Barack Obama decided to stoop in for a beer and a game of pool with Colorado’s Gov. John Hickenlooper after a fundraising event.

The brewery told the Denver Post they didn’t receive any notice that the POTUS would be in that night.

Hickenlooper is thought to be more of a regular around Wynkoop. He founded it in 1988 before getting into politics in 2003 when he was elected as the City of Denver’s mayor. He held that office until being elected governor in 2011. He’s now in his second term.

The brewery was really at the forefront of the microbrew culture when it opened in LoDo. Hickenlooper left the geology field to venture into microbrews. His brewery is still going strong. Wynkoop offers 40 different styles of beer each year.

The two were drinking Rail Yard. It’s an amber ale and the brewery’s most popular beer.

For locals, mixing beer and politics seems pretty normal now. Hickenlooper chimed in when the White House released the recipes of the home brews Obama most enjoys.

“It’s none of my business and I don’t want to criticize the White House chef, but I think maybe they could use a little less honey,” he told the Atlantic.

Hickenlooper isn’t shy about his experience in the beer world.

The Denver Post even keeps a running list of the governor’s beer references. He hasn’t failed to somehow work in drinking into each of his State of the State speeches.

Wynkoop Brewing Company is one of the stops on our microbrew tours. Contact us for more information on this stop and others.


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.