Event Recap | 2019 Wynkoop Brewing Day of Darks
Again this year dark beer lovers filled the top floor of Wynkoop Brewing Co. for some of Colorado’s best dark beer pours. Breweries from up and down Colorado’s Front Range brought heavy, dark and malty brews to Day of Darks. Meanwhile, Wynkoop supplied chocolate treats for pairing, including ice cream made with Wynkoop’s own Cowtown Milk Stout.
Brewers brought their A-game with kegs, cans, bottles and even some growlers with extra-special brews. While most beers were production-level and available at the breweries, enjoying them all in one space was certainly a great convenience. Attendees also had fun trying a handful of one-offs and pre-release beers that some breweries brought, although one had to sniff those out early as they tended to go fast.
Geeking Out With The Brewers
As usual, the event was an intimate affair, with enough of a crowd to provide energy but not impede access to pours. One of the best things about this festival is the relaxed atmosphere that encourages talking to brewers about their breweries and their beers. It seems that brewers feel the same.
Ray Vincent of High Hops Brewery enjoys the ability to interact with the beer-loving attendees and the fact that the crowd is more sophisticated about beer. “It’s small and personal and we really get to talk to the people coming up to us.” He added that the love of great beer is tangible throughout the festival as “everybody geeks out.”
FlyteCo Brewing Owner Morgan O’Sullivan appreciates that the setup of the festival allows his beers to really stand out and reach a targeted audience. “It’s a smaller and more intimate festival where the complex flavors from our Sour Cherry Porter will be more appreciated,” he notes.
Variety Yields Numerous Standouts
FlyteCo’s B2X Sour Cherry Porter was definitely one of the standout beers of the fest. With the addition of Brett and organic dark cherry juice, this beer provided a nice break from the standard-and tasty-dark, malty beers filling the festival. The Porter was, of course, dark but had a crisp sourness and structure of what tasted like oak tannins to make for a great sip.
Other notable beers included Resolute Brewing Company’s Imperial Chai Brown Ale, Elevation Beer Company’s Red Wine Barrel Aged Apis IV Belgian Quad, and Wynkoop’s own ubiquitous Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout.
Using a tincture of cinnamon, cardamom, anise, and other spices, Resolute created a complex and flavorful brew with anise dominating the flavor profile and a potpourri of other spices fills in around it. At 8% ABV the Imperial really feels more like a winter warmer.
Elevation’s wine barrel aged Apis takes an already-amazing beer and pumps up the complexity. Honey still stands out but is balanced by a light sourness and tannins, along with some fruit flavors. There’s a lot going on in this beer.
Finally, Wynkoop’s own Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is a great old standard with a thick, creamy body and malty goodness with hint of cocoa. If you can get past that it’s aged with bull testicles in each barrel, it makes for a rich and pleasant drinking experience.
Breaking Out Of Standard Darks
The festival also offered the occasional break from the rich and heavy dark beers, Jade Mountain Brewing stocked their table with several lighter fruity beers along with a non-alcoholic option. Heading the boozier direction, Bear Creek Distillery brought their bourbons, rums, and whiskey. The intense and pleasantly-flavored spirits made for some great sipping.
Overall, the couple-dozen breweries proved just the right number for an enjoyable afternoon of sampling dark and often high-alcohol brews. The four-hour festival allowed plenty of time to migrate around the room and try anything and everything that looked tempting. Now it’s a waiting game til March rolls around and Wynkoop hosts the similar Day of Dorks, showcasing breweries’ wacky and interesting creations.