Every serious presidential campaign has its own grassroots symbols and slogans. For Barack Obama, it was those red and blue Shepard Fairey "Hope" posters; for Donald Trump, it has always been red MAGA-hat-clad xenophobes; and for Hilary Clinton, it was #PantsSuitNation. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that a Colorado brewery has created — and trademarked — a beer in honor of John Hickenlooper.
The Post Brewing Company, which has a string of beer-and-fried-chicken spots in Denver and Boulder County, will debut Hickenlooper American Ale on Wednesday, March 27. At an easy-drinking 5 percent ABV, the beer will have plenty of hops flavor, but without a lot of bitterness, just like the man himself.
"It drinks light and easy, and, much like its namesake, these suds are a true friend-maker and fence-fixer of a beer,” jokes Brad Landman, brewmaster at the Post. Landman should know: He worked at Wynkoop Brewing, which Hickenlooper co-founded, from 2009 to 2011. And although Hickenlooper was long gone by then, having become Denver mayor in 2003 and Colorado governor in 2011, he was still a frequent visitor.
The idea for the beer came about in part because of the longtime friendship between Hickenlooper and fellow restaurateur Dave Query, who founded the Big Red F Restaurant Group, a company that owns the Post, along with five Jax Fish House locations, Lola Coastal Mexican, Zolo, Centro and the West End Tavern.
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“We weren’t the first restaurant in lower downtown Denver when we opened Jax Fish House in 1996, but we were certainly early to the party. John lived next door and worked around the corner; he and I became friends over oysters and beers," Query explains.
Although the beer isn't associated with Hickenlooper or his campaign in any way aside from its name, Query did use his connections to make sure that the name wouldn't upset the candidate. He also filed a trademark application for Hickenlooper, as it relates to beer, last fall. The Wynkoop itself never named any official beers after Hickenlooper, though it did make a one-off called Inaugurale, or Hickenlooper's Inaugurale, to celebrate the man when he first became governor.
To help the beer name go down easier, though, the Post will donate 10 percent of all sales of Hickenlooper American Ale to Take Note Colorado, a charity that Hickenlooper and Isaac Slade of the Fray helped form in 2017; Take Note provides access to musical instruments and instruction to K-12 students in Colorado.
Hick American Ale will hit taps at the Post on March 27 and will be distributed to other Big Red F restaurants after that; it's likely to hit taps at a variety of locals bars and restaurants, as well.