The Fusion of Hops and Heads


Wynkoop: The Pioneer Brewery

Mark Dutell and myself with Wynkoop’s friendly ape.Mark Dutell and myself with Wynkoop’s friendly ape.

When you think Colorado, you probably think mountains, Broncos, and hippies. When I think Colorado, I think great beer. My home state is also home to some of the best breweries in the country - breweries that together produce more delicious hoppiness than any other state. And it all started with Wynkoop Brewing Company. Twenty-five years ago, Wynkoop pioneered as the first brewpub in the state, with John Hickenlooper, our current governor, as a founding partner. Their presence set the stage for LoDo, Denver’s now popular downtown area. Wynkoop also paved the way for breweries such as Breckenridge and Great Divide, who cite Wynkoop as their inspiration. When I think of a Colorado without Wynkoop, I think big-name beer and small variety.

A sampling of Wynkoop’s large selection.A sampling of Wynkoop’s large selection.So what exactly makes Wynkoop special? Allow me to share some highlights from my most recent visit.

Patty’s Chile Beer – My personal favorite. This daring pilsner delivers a smoked Serrano aroma reminiscent of the Boulder farmer’s market, and a jalapeno kick that will make that famous Colorado green chile seem mild. The light malty body is a perfect vehicle for some bold, authentic Colorado flavors.

Rail Yard Ale – Wynkoop’s flagship. Named for Union Station right across the street, this is a long-standing crowd favorite. This buttery amber has spent the past 25 years circling perfection, and you can taste it in the hints of smokiness and caramel. This is the go-to beer if you’re settling in to watch the game.

Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout – The ballsiest of Wynkoop’s many creations. I must admit that I’ve never been able to stomach an actual Rocky Mountain oyster, but in beer form, I’ll try anything. This stout is made with dodgeball-sized bull testicles (a local delicacy), and the result is a salty yet surprisingly smooth experience. What began as an April Fool’s Day prank is quickly becoming a crowd favorite.

Wynkoop is a pillar of Denver and of the craft beer industry. As such, they’ve taken it upon themselves to crown a Beerdrinker of the Year each year. Finalists are flown in from all over, and the prizes are enviable. Go ahead, dust off your beer-drinking resume and submit!

January 14, 2013
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