Cafe Society

Mouthing Off

Beer today, gone tomorrow: On Saturday the three finalists in the Wynkoop Brewing Company-sponsored "Beerdrinker of the Year" contest came to town for a grueling round of questions by a panel of bewigged and wigged-out judges. And the winner (who receives untold fame and, more important, a year's supply of beer): Jack McDougall, a 48-year-old pipefitter at an Exxon refinery in New Jersey who says his favorite beer snack is a certain potato chip "fried in 100 percent lard" and available only in a small segment of Pennsylvania.

McDougall wrested the title with his strong knowledge and appreciation of beer--just about all beer, starting with a Rheingold "Chug-A-Mug" when he was a mere lad and including 654 different brands last year alone. During Saturday's judging at the Wynkoop (1634 18th Street, as if you didn't know), he chugged from an impressive array of tasters lined up before him. The Stout, generally not McDougall's favorite brew, was the last to go, although he pronounced the Wynkoop's version very good. And what, one perverse judge wondered, would McDougall do if he were stuck in Colorado on a blue-law Sunday and had to buy something, anything, to drink from a local 7-Eleven?

Coors, of course. "I would not pick up Bud," he says.
Instead, on Sunday McDougall dropped by eight more Colorado brewpubs as well as the Brown Palace, sampling a total of 44 different beers. If he'd stuck around a few more days, he could have added a visit to Dillon Dam Brewery, set to open this week--and "it's about Dam time," according to the brewpub's birth announcement. The Dillon restaurant/brewery--Summit County's fifth brewpub--is a joint venture between former Breckenridge Brewery brewmaster Michael Reed and brewer John Androsky, along with longtime Summit County restaurateurs George Blincoe and Michael McKillop, who'll serve as chef.

This just in: "Thank you, Kyle," writes Peter Wolfgang Schlicht of Basil Ristorante, which I reviewed in the January 30 issue. "After your review, my business went up. All my loyal customers and all the Westword readers who voted for 'Best Pasta Restaurant' and use my Westword coupons daily love Basil's. Even the $5 pasta lunch plates are very popular.

"Only my New York chef Willy Butera, who graduated from culinary school and worked in several New York restaurants and is a master in making excellent soup, thinks you have a Campbell's soup palate. Question: How does a pantry person become such a one-sided food critic?"

Answer: Just lucky, I guess.

--Kyle Wagner

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Kyle Wagner
Contact: Kyle Wagner