First night of GALA the weekend after the 4th of July and we head to Wynkoop for dinner between tech rehearsal and the opening concert. Love the downtown Denver free bus that runs along the 16th Street Mall that kept us out of the rain and got us within a two block walk of the bar.
We've been to Wynkoop enough times that I've lost count--bellied up to the bar more often than any pub outside of the Twin Cities. I have notes from 2003, 2005 and 2008, doing the the tour during one of those visits. Eight bonus pints from the ticket stubs of our first Great American Beer Festival (GABF) helped us learn a well worn path through the LoDo District. My wife is a big fan of Wynkoop's B3K Black Lager and I drink whatever is new and hoppy, making Wynkoop a sure bet for a great start to any Colorado vacation.
Today's visit only confirms Wynkoop's status. I started with the Brewjolais (brew-szha-lay) Nouveau. Described as sour brown, it was light and wine-like with the filling body of Flemish brown and a solid sourness that's clear but not overpowering. Excellent and a hit with a range of drinkers in our party. Added another new brew to the list with the London Calling IPA on cask, which was a fine English Ale. After a sip of my wife's B3K, I ordered my own draft to savor this smooth dark lager. I could live next to Wynkoop's and be quite happy.
In between, we had dinner. Time has really helped Wynkoop's food. Veggie options used to be limited and perfectly adequate--nothing that I remember getting very excited about. We had developed a habit of drinking at Wynkoop and finding fool elsewhere. However, last night we were blown away by our dishes. First was the Veggie Green Chili that came with fresh soft toritillas for dipping (and we doubled checked that it is vegetarian and not just veggies). So good and just enough heat to make it interesting. We also shared the Mac-n-Cheese with Gratineed Cheddar and Asiago sauce with bread crumbs. It was baked and a took a little while to show up, but very worth the wait and being late to our show--our fault, not Wynkoop's.
We also had a great conversation with a local couple sitting next to us the bar. One was a regular volunteer at GABF and it was interesting to learn some of the behind the scenes going ons of the fest. Plus, we chatted about more local beer places to hit up in the future, which nicely confirmed some of my drinking choices for the week. Friends we brought to Wynkoop overwhelmingly approved and enjoyed the food and beer, even those that aren't committed beer geeks. Wynkoop is a must stop in Denver. I'm already looking forward to my next trip.