Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Win free beer in our Wynkoop Brewing Co. essay contest

Twenty years ago this month, a group of intrepid entrepreneurs opened Denver’s first brewpub in LoDo, which had just become an official historic district that year. This, of course, was before the city had a major-league baseball team, much less a Coors Field that would rise to the northeast of the old warehouse district in 1995. And it was long before a candidate with an unlikely name and resume who would become mayor in 2003.

Westword, which officed opposite the Wynkoop Brewing Co. for a decade, is doing its bit to mark this big birthday (and commemorate all the beers we drank there), by asking readers to submit their memories of the Wynkoop. (Details below).

My own memories spill across two decades -- from the day the Wynkoop opened with a free lunch that attracted every freeloader in town, to a late-night party after the opening day of the Democratic National Convention, when John Hickenlooper stood, listing slightly to the left (of course), to introduce the Flobots. But my favorite may well have been when the then-brand-new brewer invited Mayor Federico Pena over to celebrate his birthday, and presented him with a little something he’d picked up at a pawn shop up the street: bongos.

We dutifully covered the occasion, but some typographical gremlin changed Hickenlooper’s gift to the man whose job he would one day hold to a “thoughtful set of birthday bongs.”

Pour out your own stories in the comments section below. Did you meet your future spouse at the Wynkoop? A future mayor? The best story will win free beer at the Wynkoop –- and the chance to make some more memories. (Be sure to include a working email address).

Last call for entries is Wednesday, October 22, the day before the Wynkoop’s twentieth anniversary celebration begins. The decision of the judges will be final, and no doubt inebriated. -- Patricia Calhoun

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun