The Dark Side of Wynkoop

Join the dark side.  They’ve got great beer!

No, I haven’t been spending time with Darth Vader and my soul is no more corrupted than usual. In fact, my propensity for darkness helped raise $14,000 for Metro CareRing, a local food pantry, during Wynkoop Brewing Company’s Parade of Darks.

Revelers at Parade of Darks

Parade of Darks is Wynkoop’s annual celebration of beers amber and darker.  With 33 breweries, most of them local, pouring porters, stouts, barleywines, and other shady brews, fans of the darks had much to celebrate.  For those of you who missed it, here are some highlights:

  • Denverites are quick to boast about the unseasonably pleasant weather the city enjoys each winter. However, this meteorological anomaly served as a shortcoming this weekend as beer geeks usually sip heavy, robust beers  on cold, snowy days. Of course, this didn’t stop any of the beer geeks that rolled out to Wynkoop from enjoying rare and unusual darks. As a rule of thumb, winter warmers are better appreciated in a ski lodge than they are in a sauna.
  • The silent auction enticed attendees with schwag–beer-related and otherwise. I put my name down on a Great Divide Brewing Co. sweatshirt and cap as well as a bottle of Firestone Walker anniversary beer–both hot items as the bids were richer than my BAC. Further complications came from another gentleman who nearly shared my name while routinely outbidding me. In addition to our shared appellation, we both have the kind chicken-scratch handwriting that is almost illegible after drinking heavy beers all afternoon.

Proof that I at least tried to give to charity; I just didn’t have enough money to win any bids

  • I told the folks at Strange Brewing Company: “I hope you kick those Massachusetts guys’ asses” to which they responded with a broad smile and a thanks that masked an unsaid “hell yeah!”  Click here if you need a little more backstory.
  • I’m a geek for new packaging so I was psyched to see Upslope Brewing Company’s Christmas Ale can—very striking in its bold red.
  • I have a hat made from a Left Hand Brewing Company’s Fade to Black six-pack holder which turned out to be very popular with the crowd. The folks at Westword also thought it was pretty snazzy, check out the photo they posted on their website.
  • I’ve always said that AC Golden Brewing Company—the craft division of Coors—makes great beer but I wish they’d be a little more upfront about their parent company; it seems underhanded that “Coors” isn’t found anywhere on the packaging. After Parade of Darks, my stance on AC Golden is only strengthened. Blueberry Sour and Plum Sour were perhaps the best beers at the event. Tart and refreshing, they’re are as artisan as you can get.  But, once again, while I acknowledge the great effort put forth by the AC Golden brewers, I am still put-off that they try to pass themselves off as a small craft brewery. I guess what I’m trying to say is if you have the opportunity to order either Blueberry Sour or Plum Sour, take it.  Just know where it comes from, that’s all.

Plum Sour and Blueberry Sour; possibly the best beers at the Parade

Giza aint got nothin’ on this pyramid

After three hours of revelry, the Parade of Darks ended and attendees dispersed.  Breweries got their exposure, Metro CareRing got a significant boost in funding, and beer geeks got their fill. Come to next year’s Parade, join in on the fun, and help raise more money for a good cause by drinking good beer. Maybe we will be fortunate enough to have a respectable blizzard blow through and give us some decent dark beer-drinking weather.


About Chris Bruns

Chris Bruns is a self-professed beer geek living in Denver. Chris spends much of his time brewing beer at home with friends and family, attempting to visit every brewery in Colorado, attending special beer events and festivals, purchasing and assessing the latest releases from local breweries, and blogging about his adventures in the world of craft beer. He is also the Denver Craft Beer Examiner on Contact Chris by e-mail at or through his blog at