The move marks Wynkoop’s return to providing packaged beer to Denver retailers. The brewpub’s previous distribution of Rail Yard Ale (then in bottles) ended in 2001.
Wynkoop began hand canning Rail Yard Ale four months ago, one can at a time on a tabletop machine from Canada’s Cask Systems. The cans had been available only in the brewpub’s allied Denver establishments (Cherry Cricket, Goosetown Tavern, Pearl Street Grill, Wazee Supper Club and Gaetano's) and a pair of local beer retailers (Argonaut Liquor and Wines off Wynkoop).
The brewpub has now placed Rail Yard Ale cans and Wynkoop kegs in over 50 select beer stores and bars in the Denver metro area. Assistant brewer Charlie Berger is serving as the brewpub’s outside salesman.
Rail Yard Ale has been Wynkoop’s most popular beer since its creation in 1992. A unique and hybrid style of amber ale, it is built with the premium malts and hops of a German marzen-style lager, but fermented with an English ale yeast.
The result is an elegant, mahogany-colored beer with a creamy tan head, aromas of biscuit malts and sliced apples or pears, and flavors of toasted malts and caramel. It is 5.3 % ABV. In age of increasingly “extreme” beer, Rail Yard is an extremely pleasing session beer for discerning beer lovers.
“Rail Yard gets its rich color and maltiness,” says Wynkoop head brewer Andy Brown, “from a very high percentage -- over thirty percent -- of German specialty malts. That’s unusual for an amber beer and it’s expensive to do. But we don’t cut any corners with Rail Yard.”
The beer was created 17 years ago by Tom Dargen (now with Gordon Biersch), with additional inspiration from Colorado craft beer pioneer Eric Warner. Dargen was Wynkoop’s head brewer at the time while Warner was an aspiring brewer doing volunteer work at Wynkoop. Both men made initial versions of the beer for their respective weddings and the beers were a hit for the events.
In addition to kegs of Rail Yard Ale, Wynkoop is distributing kegs of its two 2008 Great American Beer Festival gold medalists, Wixa Weiss and B3K Schwarzbier.
B3K is a German-style black lager made with 5 specialty malts and a German yeast strain. It is a deep brown beer with ruby hints, a soft mouthfeel, and richly roasted flavors spread across a very sessionable beer of just 4.8%. The beer’s grain bill includes a dehusked roasted malt that adds color and flavor without bitterness.
Wixa Weiss is a Bavarian-style wheat beer made of about 50% malted wheat and German hops. It's fermented with a Bavarian yeast brought from Germany to Denver years ago by Wynkoop founder (and current Denver mayor) John Hickenlooper. It features the trademark clove and banana aromas of its style, with the yeast leaning more to the clove side of the spectrum.
A list of some of the Denver establishments carrying Wynkoop beer can be found here.
Wynkoop Brewing Company was founded in 1988 by Denver mayor John Hickenlooper and a group of urban pioneers that included Mark Schiffler (current Wynkoop COO) and Ron Robinson, Wynkoop’s current GM.
The brewpub was a catalyst for the rebirth of Denver’s then neglected Lower Downtown section.
Wynkoop is also the creator of the annual Beerdrinker of the Year search for the nation’s most devout beer lover. Cody Christman of Golden, CO is the current title holder and the first Colorado resident to win the Beerdrinker of the Year crown.
Members of the media seeking more information, photos, samples and interviews can contact Marty Jones here or call 303-860-7448.