In honor of the Wynkoop Brewing Co.'s twentieth anniversary, we're asking readers to send their memories of the brewpub -- with the author of the best account getting free beer! As a former Westword employee, John Kessler is not eligible for that prize -- but his story is definitely a winner. Leave your own memories here.
When I was the dining critic at Westword in the early 1990s, we used to hand out a wide range of Best of Denver awards to restaurants with categories like those Harry Potter jellybeans — some sweet, some sour, some borderline repulsive. And so, after one beer-fueled editorial meeting, we decided to bequeath the Wynkoop Brewing Co. with the not-exactly-coveted prize for "Best Place for Beaver Watching," in honor of the bar counter that faced the front plate-glass windows when the brewpub first opened. More than a few unsuspecting women in skirts sat at this counter and, well, you get the idea.
After that Best of Denver issue came out, restaurateur Pierre Wolfe invited me and editor Patricia Calhoun to appear on his local radio show to discuss our picks. Wouldn't you know, he breezed over the infinitely discussable categories — best Italian, best green chile — and chirpily brought up the beavers.
"I'm so surprised by that award," said Pierre. "I've never seen any beaver downtown."
I offered condolences.
"I'd think you'd have a much better time looking for beavers in the mountains. Say, at the Fort," Pierre persisted. "Do they really come out in the streets?"
"It's a different kind of beaver in the city," Patty shot back, deadpan."Much friendlier."
Oh, God. I looked at the floor, at my fingernails, at the microphone. Anywhere but at Patty. From that point on, I couldn't answer a question without a whooping giggle emerging like some weird manifestation of demonic possession. "The best pizza is...WOO...HEEE!!"
Patty took over the interview, and I sat there, rocking in my chair and putting beavers out of my mind.-- John Kessler
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.