Holy Frijoles, have we been busy with some fun local beer events! Beer season is not even in full gear yet, and it seems every weekend there are lots of great activities to choose from. We’ve had so much fun that we have, once again, fallen behind in updating our BMT friends about all of our shenanigans. Yep, it’s a pitfall of being on the BMT crew; sometimes you’re enjoying yourself too much to stop and write! Today we’re going to make it right with a quick recap of some of the good times we’ve had recently. Enjoy!
Fat Tuesday at Wynkoop
Tuesday, February 12 was Fat Tuesday. The day before Ash Wednesday, Fat Tuesday is a celebration of excess that takes place on the last day before the start of the Lenten season. But even if you don’t practice Lent, you can still appreciate Mardi Gras and celebrate on Fat Tuesday! Parties were scheduled all around town, but with a parade, a special beer tapping and Cajun food on their calendar of events, there was no way we could pass up Wynkoop Brewing Company. The festivities started with drinks at Wazee Supper Club, complete with plenty of beads and a brass band getting everyone all jazzed up! Around 5:45 PM the party moved to Wynkoop with a “Kick the Keg” second line parade through the streets of Lodo. Everyone danced and marched behind the band and the keg-kicker until we arrived at Wynkoop. There the party continued upstairs in the billiard room with Cajun-inspired grub and a special tapping of a Big Easy Ale. A Dunkel Weiss, it was good, but we still prefer our other Wynkoop favorites. Still, Wynkoop knows how to party, so overall we had a great time.
River North Brewery 1st Anniversary
Saturday, February 16th we stopped by River North Brewery to help them celebrate the end of their first year brewing delicious beers in Denver! Judging by the size of the crowd, River North has made a great first impression during the past twelve months! It was standing-room-only in the tap-room and in the barrel room, which they had opened just for this occasion. There was good reason for the crowds, since River North had several of their rare Barrel Aged beers available for the shindig. One of the unique brews was the River North First Anniversary Beer, a 12.5% Imperial Stout. To be honest, we just stuck with some old favorites – the J Marie Saison for me, and the BPR Belgian-style Pale Red Ale for Jeff. Both were delicious, but we already knew that! We would have loved to stay longer, but had other obligations. Next year, we’ll be down to party all day for the 2nd Anniversary!
Castle Rock Homebrew Supply
This past Saturday, February 23, we were super-excited for the Grand Opening of a new homebrew shop in Castle Rock, Castle Rock Homebrew Supply! Finally, Rock Hoppers (our local brew club) and others have a place to get their brewing supplies locally! The store looks great and has an impressive stock of all your basic beer and wine making supplies. The owner, Eric, was quick to tell us that anything we didn’t see could easily be ordered. I can say with confidence that this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Expect to find us browsing the supplies there often…
2013 Beerdrinker of the Year
Later on Saturday, February 23rd, we found ourselves once again at Wynkoop Brewing Company, this time to watch the finals of their 2013 Beerdrinker of the Year awards! Each year Wynkoop does a national search for their Beerdrinker of the Year. We had never been before and had no idea what to expect, but as I said earlier, Wynkoop knows how to throw a party so we were confident it would be fun & interesting. We were not wrong — this event was a blast! There were three contestants selected from a national pool of applicants who were flown to Denver and put up at the esteemed Brown Palace Hotel for their competition weekend. The event was emceed by Marty Jones, our favorite Wynkoop cheers-leader and all-around fun guy! A panel of esteemed judges all donned in black robes and white wigs asked the contestants questions through several rounds to help them ultimately select the winner. This elite panel of judges consisted of a mix of previous winners and beer experts, and their questions ranged from the nearly impossible to the totally absurd! The contestants were judged not only on their beer knowledge, but also had to make us laugh in the Brew Ha-Ha round, have a brief chat with their favorite brew in the Beer Whispering round, and in a highlight of the competition, there was even an interpretive dance. But lest you think this is not a serious contest, these contestants had to go through some grueling rounds of questions and had to try to identify the style and brand of beer in three unidentified samples. For all the fun, this was no cake walk, but for the winner there were valuable rewards including FREE BEER FOR LIFE at Wynkoop.
The contestants were clearly experts in all things beer related, and each of them did well in various rounds. It was a nail-biter, but in the end, Warren Monteiro from New York City was named the 2013 Beerdrinker of the Year. Warren bested Jen Schwertman, a NYC bartender and “beer evangelist” who actually began her career at Wynkoop 20 years ago, and currently works at Warren’s favorite home bar! He also beat out Kevin Cox, a very tough competitor who has sampled over 6000 beers at 400 breweries, and whom I suspect will be back and claim that title for himself in the near future.
This was not Warren’s first BDOTY competition, and the previous experience may have helped him win the title. It didn’t hurt that he also brought along a keg of wonderful homebrew to share with the judges and crowd during the “bribe the judges” round! His brew, called Buster the Elder was really amazing. It had tons of hops aroma and flavor, but was smooth enough for both of us to enjoy. Yum! As the winner, Warren gets to bring another keg of homebrew next year, so you bet we’ll be there for the next contest. Congratulations Warren!
Those are all of our updates for now, but the beer calendar is certainly filling up, so expect more to come. Now get out there and make some beer memories of your own!