Best Place to Symbolize Denver for the Rest of the World 2012 | Wynkoop Brewing Company | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

Best Place to Symbolize Denver for the Rest of the World

Wynkoop Brewing Company

Wynkoop Brewing

Since the first wave of gold-hunters washed up on the banks of Cherry Creek, Denver has always attracted pioneers. In fact, Governor John Hickenlooper made this state's entrepreneurial spirit the focus of his State of the State speech this January. And no one better exemplifies that spirit than Hickenlooper, an East Coast-educated geologist who moved out to Colorado in the early '80s, was laid off in the middle of that decade's oil-and-gas bust, and joined with other adventurers to start Denver's first brewpub, the Wynkoop Brewing Company, which opened in 1988. Since then, of course, craft beer has become a major growth industry in Colorado...and Hickenlooper himself wound up using the bar as a launching pad for a political career that took him first to City Hall, then to the State Capitol. Although Hickenlooper is no longer involved with the Wynkoop, it remains a great place to get a taste of Denver's history, whether you're drinking its brews inside the renovated, Victorian-era warehouse or sitting on the Wynkoop-side patio, watching the sun set over the mountains...and the Union Station project, which will transform that piece of history into a futuristic, multi-modal transportation hub by 2014.

Readers' Choice: Red Rocks Amphitheatre

The boom in medical marijuana dispensaries has not only made Denver one of the most medicated places in the United States, but it's also made the Mile High one of the dankest-smelling cities in the nation. On some streets, you'll catch just a faint whiff over the other scents of a bustling urban area; at other corners, you'll wonder whether a skunk was hit by a car nearby. The most chronic corner in town, though, is at West Sixth Avenue and Kalamath Street, where the smell of ganja is pleasantly overwhelming.

Bret Saunders has earned several Best of Denver nods before, and for good reason. Of the seemingly endless options on the local airwaves in the mornings, he's still the best. Tuning in to Saunders is like checking in with a well-read friend who always proves to be good company. With a smart sense of humor, broad sensibilities and informed opinions, Saunders offers dependably intelligent quips and monologues with an amiable, low-key delivery, making him and Robbyn Hart, his trusted counterpart in the mornings, the ideal companions to help loosen the white-knuckle death grip of the daily commute.

Readers' choice: Nerf, Channel 93.3

Ryan Warner's even tone and talking-over-coffee volume — the loudest he gets is a hearty chuckle — is a daytime treat for cubicle dwellers and anyone within earshot of a radio. On his long-form interview program, Colorado Matters, which airs on Colorado Public Radio stations, Warner offers intelligent discussions of such important issues as juvenile crime, the environment, political corruption and — perhaps that most critical of journalistic topics — heartwarming animal tales.

Ross Kaminsky may be a conservative, but he takes a liberal approach to talk radio, discussing a wide range of subjects with common sense, smarts and humor. A professional derivatives trader for more than twenty years and a senior fellow with the Heartland Institute, he writes about current events on his own, excellently named But he really gets to sound off on his Sunday show on KOA, as well as the many fill-in gigs he does for the station. Talk may be cheap, but Kaminsky's opinions matter...and he values the views of his listeners, too.

Readers' Choice: Peter Boyles

Best Reality-Show Contestant From Colorado

Mondo Guerra

Colorado has sent contestants to Survivor, The Bachelor, America's Got Talent; Denver's hosted The Real World. But Mondo Guerra's recent victory on Project Runway All Stars has this city looking very, very good. As a kid growing up here, Mondo would take thrift-store clothing and repurpose it for his own designs with scissors and a glue gun; he got more formal training at Denver School of the Arts and then the Community College of Denver, and started designing seriously in 1999. And thanks to designers like Mondo, the business of fashion has become serious indeed in Denver, with a lot of homegrown talent working hard to make the industry work here. This was Mondo's second stint on Project Runway; during his first run in 2010, he won fans not just with his designs, but also with his revelation that he's HIV-positive. Mondo not only makes us look good, but he does good, too; he's a shining All Star.

Readers' Choice: Mondo Guerra

When was the last time you heard a tenth-grader talking about nuclear proliferation or deep-space exploration? If your answer is "never," then you haven't been to a Denver Urban Debate League tournament. Launched in 2008, the program aims to bring an intensely intellectual activity usually reserved for affluent suburban high schools to inner-city schools such as Manual, West and Thomas Jefferson. And the results are nothing short of incredible. Think today's youth have never heard of Henry Kissinger and couldn't find North Korea on a map? Think they're not paying attention to the world? Think again.

The era of Ron Burgundy is long over. Those ultra-cushy teleprompter-reading gigs that come with hefty clothing allowances are a thing of the past for local talking heads. Which is why anchors like Jeremy Hubbard of Fox 31/KWGN/Channel 2 News are such a welcome sight in these days of shrinking news holes and budgets. Hubbard's a workhorse who's done some heavy lifting, both on-site at disaster scenes across America as a reporter for NewsOne (a service of ABC News), and here at home, where he still hustles to get stories. With his go-getter attitude and smooth delivery, Hubbard's earned some quality ass time in the anchor's chair. And there's no chance that he'll tell us to go fuck ourselves live on air.

Peoples' Choice: Kyle Dyer, Channel 9

"I always drink beer, and when I do, I prefer good beer," says the bottling-plant employee whose name tag reads "Bob" and who holds up a bottle of Breckenridge brew. The anti-big-beer-company beer commercial, produced by Breckenridge Brewery, managed to not only take stabs at the big boys, but spoof Dos Equis's "Most interesting man in the world" commercial as well. The spot — all part of a "Truth in Beervertising" campaign — ran on Super Bowl Sunday, although not during the game, and just locally on Fox 31. Still, it was plenty crafty.

Readers' Choice: Rocky's Auto

An hour-long digest of local news that's on at the right time for anyone who actually works for a living, KWGN's 7 p.m. newscast on Channel 2 provides the right mix of breaking local fare — fires! weather! sports! more fires! — with strong national pieces. In an information-flooded world, this local newscast helps keep Denver's head above water. 

Readers' Choice: Channel 9

Best Of Denver®

Best Of