Wynkoop Brewing Company
Wynkoop Brewing

Flash back a hundred years and there's a good chance you'd see horses pulling carts loaded with beer from Denver's breweries to its saloons and restaurants. Now, thanks to the Wynkoop Brewing Company, you can see the same thing today. The brewpub, co-founded in 1988 by now-governor John Hickenlooper, began delivering kegs and cans of its handcrafted suds to accounts around downtown last April via horse and carriage as a way to bring back some of the Queen City's storied beer culture. And in January, the Wynkoop's hired rig delivered beer and the governor himself to his own inauguration at the Fillmore Auditorium. Now, those are some hoof prints that will be hard to fill.

The goal of the inaugural Colorado Gives Day, a 24-hour online charity bonanza powered by the Arvada-based Community First Foundation, was to raise $1 million for 536 local nonprofits. The foundation pledged to pick up the credit card transaction fees, ensuring that 100 percent of the money went to charity. But as it turns out, the original goal was too modest: In one day in December, more than 18,700 people gave over $8 million to more than 500 nonprofits, proving both the generosity of Coloradans and the power of the Internet.

"Everybody's a photographer" goes the lament often voiced by grizzled newspaper shooters regarding the wave of iPhone shutterbugs jostling for elbow room at concerts, conferences or even traffic accidents. And while quantity may not always correlate with quality, the digital age means that you can find a picture of almost anything out there. Enter UnseenDenver.com, a blog that relies on its users to submit pics of graffiti, street art and creativity in unusual spaces around the city. While there are few beautifully composed images, the subjects of these pictures are often overlooked. It's worth a daily visit, if only to see what might have already been painted over and forgotten.

Lala's Wine Bar + Pizzeria

Some Foursquare mayorships bring coolness, while others bring sweet satisfaction. Only a few offer the mayor any benefits, however, or at least anything good. Which is why Lala's Wine Bar & Pizzeria stands tails and tie above the rest. If you can oust the current mayor of this spot, you'll be treated to a free glass of wine (under $10) on every visit. You'll have to pay for the second, third and fourth glasses, but that's the price of politics.

The craft beers made in Colorado are fantastic, but if you want to make a beer with Colorado, you'll need to either grow your own hops or pick wild hops that grow like weeds on the hillsides around Central City. Legend has it that the vines were originally planted in the late 1800s by residents of this old mining town, who would then harvest the flowers and sell them to local brewery owners like Jacob Mack. And while the Mack Brewery now lies in ruins on the outskirts of town, the hops have kept that history alive. Need help finding them? Ask for advice from the folks at Central City's only active brewery, Dostal Alley, which makes one of its own beers from the wild hops.

Downtown boosters recently conducted a major study of the 16th Street Mall, which turns thirty next year, trying to determine what directional changes it needed to truly be a pedestrian paradise. Their conclusion? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. So beyond getting some basic repair work and a general sprucing up, the 16th Street Mall will carry on as it has for almost three decades, a mile-plus artery stretching through downtown that's an ideal place to stroll, window-shop for bad Colorado souvenirs made in China, and watch all kinds of people — from punks to businesspeople to buskers to tourists amazed by the bustle, some good, some bad, all lively. That's what you get at the heart of a vibrant city.

Junkies still miss the Stump, which supplied Rocky Mountain News readers with a regular fix of political tidbits. But its spirit lives on in the Spot for Politics & Policy, the Denver Post blog devoted not just to political news reported by the paper's own writers, but a roundup of other worthy stories in the fast-changing media world. At the center of the Spot is former Rocky reporter Lynn Bartels, who continues to be Denver's best, most tireless political beat reporter, covering — and uncovering — the scene with the verve of a sportscaster offering a play-by-play account of the biggest game in town.

Before he was elected to the Colorado Senate, Michael Johnston had achieved national renown as an innovative educator — and he didn't stop pushing the envelope when he became a legislator. While most lawmakers have a staff that consists of a part-time aide and a part-time intern, this session Johnston recruited a team of over twenty law students and experts to serve as his unpaid (except for credit) policy directors and analysts, with a goal of not just saving money, but increasing the public's access to information about the bills before the Colorado General Assembly. This committed crew puts in a total of more than 200 hours a week, researching proposals and writing non-partisan assessments that are available on Johnston's website. Want to educate yourself on what Johnston and his staff are doing for Colorado? Go to http://mikejohnston.org/in-the-legislature, and if you plan to attend a staff meeting, be sure to bring a lot of bagels and coffee.

Yes, doctor! There is nothing quite as exhilarating as waking up to the jubilant voice of Hal "Baby" Moore on Cruisin' Oldies 950. A seasoned radio vet with a half-century's worth of experience behind the mike, Moore is a living local legend. From his time at KHOW until now, at KRWZ, he's been the trusted on-air companion of several generations of Denverites. He's always a joy to listen to, whether he's sharing his memorable anecdotes from the past or offering insightful details of the songs he's playing. From the excitement in his voice as he pages through the annals of rock, you'd never know that these are tunes he's played a million times over. Hal reminds us of radio the way the way it was meant to be. There's a reason the Broadcast Professionals of Colorado have chosen Hal to enter their Hall of Fame.

When you're relegated to a windowless office or stuck behind the wheel in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Slacker and Steve, the hysterical duo who run the airwaves of KALC during the 3-to-7-p.m. time slot, make life much more bearable with their on-air theatrics and dramatics. From the Great Mate Debate, wherein couples argue over credit card debt, football, beer and ex-BFFs to the White Trash News Flash segment, five minutes of backwoods bumpkin accents articulating the world's weirdest news — the woman who carried a monkey in her bra and made it through the metal detector, for example — it's a laugh-out-loud romp of banter and conversation that never gets stale.

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