Impulse Theater faces an uncertain future after life at the Wynkoop
Impulse Theater has been putting on improv shows for 21 years in the basement of the Wynkoop Brewing Company. It's been there so long, in fact, that one of the FAQs on its website is: "Are you and the Wynkoop the same business?" The answer is: "No. But we complement each other nicely." Though not for much longer.
Impulse is moving out — to where, the group doesn't yet know. The change has been in the works for several years: We reported in November 2010 — a month before the Wynkoop and Breckenridge Brewery companies revealed that they were planning to merge — that the brewpub wanted to expand into the space. But Impulse's plans for a new location on South Broadway fell through, and Breckenridge-Wynkoop LLC has allowed it to continue its lease on a month-to-month basis since then.
But last week, an Impulse performer sent out an e-mail saying that the group would be moving out at the end of 2013. "Our relationship with the Wynkoop has slowly but quietly deteriorated over the years," the e-mail read. "More recently, that was exacerbated by new management that took over the entire Wynkoop company of restaurants.... We've decided to move on and find a better relationship, and the Wynkoop has decided to turn the basement into a tasting room.
"Where we end up is yet to be determined," the message continued. "When we will eventually find a new home, get moved in and ready to put on shows again is also unknown. It may be a while before we find a permanent home. We aren't really sure what the future holds at this point."
Lee Driscoll, who heads the brewery management company, says the change has been in the works for a while as the Wynkoop looked to grow and expand. He also said his company is working with Impulse to help the crew find a new location.
And it's true that the Wynkoop hopes to put a tap room in the basement space.
The concept hasn't been entirely ironed out, but Wynkoop head brewer Andy Brown says he'd like to turn the basement into a barrel-aging cellar and tasting room that has a speakeasy feel to it. "I'm hoping for someplace where we could do sour beers and maybe move in some foeders and give tastings and tours." (Foeders are huge wooden barrels typically used to age wine; several Colorado breweries, including New Belgium, Dry Dock, Ska, Epic and Crooked Stave, use them for beer.)
The space could also be used for storing cans: Wynkoop cans its own beer in both the brewpub and at Breckenridge's primary facility on Kalamath Street. Wynkoop expects to brew about 4,400 barrels of beer in 2013, up 15 percent over last year.
From A to zip: The Downtown Denver Partnership, the nonprofit business organization that helps manage parts of downtown, recently initiated a new "online platform" called CityTalk, "where the Downtown Denver community can engage, communicate and collaborate with leaders and other residents on what it takes to build a great city," and "from their own homes and on their own schedules."
And! If you log in, you can earn community engagement points that could lead to fabulous prizes from the CityTalk Denver Rewards Store. Prizes like..."a personal guided walking tour of Downtown Denver with the people that know it best" or "a one-on-one discussion with some of the top leaders in Downtown Denver."
So, is it working? Some of the suggestions for improving downtown Denver include "an open market similar to a European, Middle Eastern or Asian market with booths for lease"; tennis courts; better shopping, like a CityTarget; "a park with a large pond with fountains and walkway around, live ducks & swans to feed"; "a miniature Indoor Elitch's for year-round tourists visiting downtown"; and "a mega-zipline from Union Station to Broadway over the 16th Street Mall."
Which sounds great to us, but might not win that person coffee with a business leader.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.