Beer Man

Wynkoop Brewing will package its "ballsy" Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout in cans

It took balls for the Wynkoop Brewing Company to turn an April Fool's Day joke about a brew made with bull testicles into reality in October, during the Great American Beer Festival. But the brewery really had to sack up after that as it negotiated with the feds about what it could and couldn't put on the label that will be used to can the beer.

A beer that will be sold in two-packs, of course, when it debuts in late January.

See also: - It's been A Wonderful Life for the Wynkoop Brewing Company - Does the Wynkoop's Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout have enough balls to win at GABF? - Wynkoop Brewing will serve a ballsy new beer -- only on April 1

"Initially, they wanted us to provide some information on bull testicles as a food additive," Wynkoop spokesman Marty Jones says of the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. "I am not sure they were aware that bull testicles are an actual food and that they are a regional delicacy out west."

But the real issue for Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout, surprisingly, had nothing to do with bull testicles -- or even the words "uniquely ballsy," which made it onto the label. Rather, it was the word "oyster" that the label-approval agents took to task.

"The original label said 'Rocky Mountain' in small letters and 'Oyster Stout' in big letters. But they didn't want people to think it was an oyster stout made out here in the Rockies, so they asked us to make the letters all the same size," Jones says.

The Wynkoop also changed the description from "flavors of roasted barley, coffee and nuts" to "notes of roasted barley, coffee and nuts," since there isn't any coffee in the beer -- and there aren't any nuts. Well, not the normal kind of nuts, anyway.

"Overall, I think we were very impressed that it all worked out," Jones adds. "The goal of the TTB is always truth in advertising, and the fact that this beer is uniquely ballsy is very true. So I applaud their attention to detail."

Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout will be part of a smaller-batch series of beers that the Wynkoop plans to hand-can and hand-label in 2013 as part of its year-long 25th-anniversary celebration.

And although the cans won't be available in liquor stores until late next month, you can find the beer on tap at both the Wynkoop and at all three Yard House locations in the Denver area for about six weeks in January and February.

The beer started off as a brilliant April Fool's Day joke but became reality when the Wynkoop decided that the reaction to the accompanying video -- and requests from beer writers to try the real thing -- merited serious consideration.

Eventually, head brewer Andy Brown secured 25 pounds of Rocky Mountain oysters, a local delicacy, which the staff in the Wynkoop's kitchen hand-sliced and then roasted. The first batch consisted of eight barrels, and the brewery has since whipped up a second batch.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes