It’s Friday…ain’t got shit to do.
[sorry for swearing, mom]
My suitcase and I made it away from Denver Tech Center and back to downtown. It was time to visit the oldest brewpub in Colorado (the oldest microbrewery in Denver), Wynkoop.
Wynkoop was founded in 1989 in downtown Denver, on the edge of a very historic area which is easily accessible by bus – Union station is across the street. The brewery is clearly well-established, and feels a bit like Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery meets Duluth’s Fitgers Brew House.
The beer list contains a vast number and variety from classics to creatives. Nothing is terribly innovative, however.
I ordered a few samples while I was waiting to take the upcoming tour, simply out of curious desire to see the historic place. I tasted The B3K Black Lager, the St Charles ESB, and the Mile High Pale Ale.
The best of these three was the Black Lager. The roast on the aroma and in the taste is in appropriate balance to the bitterness. Nice supplementary flavors of earth and tobacco make it more interesting, too. It has a gentle carbonation and a pleasant crispness.
The Mile High IPA came strongly recommended, however I found it to be significantly skewed towards bitter. It would benefit from more early hop additions. The most pleasant aspect was the aroma – pine and grass. I wanted to love the St. Charles ESB on cask, but it had a fairly strong apricot note that, while not unpleasant, was out of place and odd. Even the aroma had honey, floral notes, and apricot. If I blindly tried this beer, I probably would have enjoyed it more.
As we gathered for the tour, I poked around the place. The bar was fairly full, and my guess is that the brewpub gets packed to the gills during baseball games due to its location. I reflected on the odd service – an unenthusiastic waitress who didn’t chat with me, not even one bit, even when she noted that I ordered her favorite beer.
The canned beers shown above were sampled on the tour. The Silverback Pale is being replaced by the Mile High that I previously tasted. The final taste was the Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout which I was definitely not impressed with. The body was all wrong and the depth of flavor simply was not there.
At the end of the tour I glanced into the brewhouse, proud of the pink boots doing some of the brewing. I returned to the glorious patio, out of the basement and back into the light to taste a bit more while waiting for my next host.
The London IPA was not bad, either. It did not scream “British” but was served at the perfect temperature, earthy and herbal hops, and a nice balance.
Wynkoop has earned its place in the Denver beer scene simply by history. And while this post seems to fall on the negative side, I enjoyed Wynkoop. The beer was better than average overall, but I found it somewhat boring. If I had any pull in the company I would urge the place to shake things up somehow. It seems too consistent, almost too rehearsed, and generally devoid of spontaneity. In all likelihood, none of these changes are necessary, but as the beer business – one that has always been huge in Colorado – continues to grow, Wynkoop may need a stronger niche.