White Snow and Black Beer: Wynkoop’s Parade of Darks

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Fresh, flitting snow—delicately alighting upon the earth with its virginal whiteness—pairs best with the teeth-staining, belly-busting corruption of a stout, barleywine, or black IPA.  Indeed, when the seasons turn cold, when the blizzards roll in, and when the nights outweigh the days, it’s time to put away the crisp, light lagers so well-suited for the summer months.  It’s time to drink to the season with an inky black, robust, heavy-as-a-rock, warm-you-from-the-inside-out, burly-ass ale.  Just as the bitterness of hops balances the sweetness of malts, an alcoholic, dark beer does much to balance the twinkling lights, family togetherness, and other such wholesome drivel often associated with the holiday season.  Wynkoop Brewing Company understands that need for balance; they do, after all, host the Parade of Darks (Saturday, Dec. 7th, 1-4pm).

Parade of Darks is possibly the grandest celebration of dark beers.  To gain entry into the event, all beers must be at least amber-colored or blacker resulting in one of the most monochromatic beer festivals in existence.  This isn’t an event for craft beer newbies who automatically associate (and not without reason) dark beers with confrontational flavors, this isn’t an event for people with a delicate palate, and, with Wynkoop’s billiard room filled with excited beer geeks jostling for their next pour of porter, it’s definitely not an event for anybody wearing a white shirt.  Parade of Darks is, however, for people who appreciate a core-heating brew, for people who don’t mind having to brush their teeth extra hard when they get back home, and, because nearly all booths will have a brewery rep present, for people who like to talk beer with the experts.

It’s also an event for people with big hearts.  As I said earlier, dark beers pair excellently with the holly jolly atmosphere of the holidays and one can’t have all the darkness of Parade of Darks without a balancing light.  Black liquid may flow through the attendees but the light of generosity will pervade the event as all proceeds from Parade of Darks will go to Denver’s largest hunger-relief program: Metro CareRing.  Furthermore, a silent auction (with prizes ranging from piano lessons, weekend getaways, beer and brewery schwag, and local gift cards) will also benefit those most in need.

If ever you had justification to support your drinking habits, Parade of Darks is it: you’ll have a fun time, you’ll get unlimited samples, you’ll interact with fellow beer geeks (there’s a possibility that a certain governor with ties to Wynkoop might be in attendance), and a very worthy charity will receive funds to continue their good work.  If you’d like to attend, pre-event tickets are $35 and day-of-event tickets are $42.  Last year, Parade of Darks raised $14,000.  Let’s see if we can top that.

Purchase tickets here.

What follows is a near-complete list of breweries and beers that will be at Parade of Darks:

AC Golden Brewing Company: 2012 Whiskey Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, Dark Fruit Sour Frambois Noir

Arvada Beer Company: Jolly Holiday Ale: Spiced Winter Warmer, Pool Hall Porter: Brown Ale

Avery Brewing Co.: Out of Bounds Stout, Old Jubilation: Winter Strong Ale, The Czar: Imperial Stout

Black Bottle Brewery: Carlos: American Brown, Liquid Metal: Imperial Rye Stout, Cerealiously: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Milk Stout

Breckenridge Brewery: 72 Imperial Double Chocolate Cream Stout, Christmas Ale, Vanilla Porter, Oatmeal Stout

Bristol Brewing: TBD

Crazy Mountain Brewing Company: Cara De Luna: Black IPA, Snowcat Coffee Stout.

Copper Kettle Brewing Co.: Mexican Chocolate Stout, Black IPA, Pecan Smoked Brown Ale

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project: TBD

Denver Beer Co.: Irving: Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Graham Cracker Porter

Dry Dock Brewing Co.: Shotgun Russian Imperial Stout, Urca Vanilla Porter, 3 Heavy Wee Heavy

Elevation Beer Co.: Little Mo’ Porter, Apis IV: Quadrupel

Epic Brewing: Smoked Porter, Double Skull Doppelbock, 825 State Stout, Big Bad Baptist: Imperial Stout

Fort Collins Brewery: Double Chocolate Stout, Smoked Rye Porter

Funkwerks: Oud Bruin, Dubbel

Gravity Brewing: Ante Meridiem: Espresso Stout, Jubileum: Belgian Peppercorn Ale, Ebb & Flow: Double Red Rye, Tsar Bomba: Russian Imperial Stout

Great Divide: TBD

Green Flash Brewing Co.: Double Stout

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse: Fearless Youth: Munich Dunkel, Master Thief: German Porter, Devil’s Riddle: Bourbon Barrel Old Ale.

Left Hand: TBD

Mission Brewery: Dark Seas: Imperial Stout, Shipwrecked Double IPA, Carrack Imperial Red

Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery: Cat Bugler: Black IPA, Big BOI BOB: Imperial Milk Stout

Odell Brewing Co.: Isolation: English Winter Ale, Mountain Standard: Double Black IPA

Odyssey Beerwerks: TBD

Our Mutual Friend Malt & Brew: Cottonwood Rauchbier: Smoked Ale, Huckleberry Roasters Coffee Stout: Dry Stout, Winter Warmer Infused with Bourbon Soaked Cherries & Oak Chips: Old Ale

Phantom Canyon Brewing Company: TBD

Renegade Brewing Company: Hammer & Sickle: Russian Imperial Stout.

Santa Fe Brewing Co.: Santa Fe State Pen Porter, Imperial Java Stout, Black IPA

Ska Brewing:  TBD

Strange Brewing Company: TBD

Tommyknocker Brewery: Legend: 20th Anniversary Olde Oaked Brown Ale, Cocoa Porter

Twisted Pine Brewing company: Big Shot Espresso Stout, Hoppy Knight: Black IPA

Upslope Brewing Company: TBD

Verboten Brewing: Mountain Man: Imperial Dark Cream Ale, Rum Barrel Aged Pure Imagination: Double Oatmeal Stout Aged in Dancing Pines Rum Barrel, What Hump: Sour Porter

Yak & Yeti Restaurant & Brewpub: Chai Milk Stout, Yak’s RIS: Imperial Stout

Wasatch Brew Pub & Brewery: Polygamy Porter, The Devastator: Dopplebock, Wasatch Winterfest: Amber Ale  

Squatters Pubs & Beers: Squatters Outer Darkness Stout

Wynkoop Brewing Company: Gingerbread Stout: Imperial Sweet Stout, 2013 Whiskey Barrel Aged Barley Wine, Coconut Milk Stout, Brewjolais Noveaux 2013: Spontaneously Fermented Sour Beer with Marash Chile Peppers, Cuit la Coche, and Foch grapes

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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 Examiner.com. Contact Chris by e-mail at chrisdbruns@gmail.com or through his blog at www.beerincolorado.blogspot.com.