Denver Off The Wagon blog marks its first birthday with a beer and a three-day fest

Categories: Beer Man

Denver Off the Wagon, a booze-centered blog boasting a couple dozen suds-sodden writers, will celebrate its first anniversary this week with a three-day party centered around a beer that the Wagoners brewed in January at the Wynkoop Brewing Company. Wagon Ryed, as the beer is called, is based off of a homebrew recipe developed by PJ Hoberman, who founded the blog (which won a Westword #WebAward in November) on February 23. It's a rye dry stout made with caraway seeds.

"This recipe was the first one I ever made from scratch -- as it's not based on another beer somewhere out there -- and it's my favorite," says Hoberman, who hopes to open his own brewery some day, but recently put that effort on hold.

Instead, he's spent a huge amount of time and effort developing the blog, which boasted more than 14,000 unique visitors over the past month alone, about triple what it was when the blog started. But drinking is a subject he's passionate about.

"At the time, I was writing for's Hop Press, and was getting a little antsy writing at that level," Hoberman says. "The exposure was amazing, but it wasn't for me. I didn't feel I had much to offer to the beer scene on a national level. Also, while I love beer, I also love whiskey, so I figured it was time to focus on Denver's drinking scene as a whole, not just the beer, and do it all in one place."

And he's cultivated an eclectic set of liquid-lunch loving contributors, which includes writers, photographers and designers, some of whom work in the restaurant or booze industries. Roughly seven to ten of them contribute on a weekly basis, while a few write more intermittently. All of them work for the glory and the connections rather than a paycheck.

"The site is nothing without the contributors. I talk a lot and drink beer, but they make the site what it is," Hoberman says.

Some of that glory has come in the form of events from Hoberman and Denver Off The Wagon, including a special, beer-focused edition of Ignite Denver, which took place the night before the Great American Beer Festival and included several well-known brewers and beer personalities, and a Beer Vs. Wine cheese pairing at Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar.

"I think the highlight, however, has been the overall growth of the site, the reach we've found, and the fun we've had just about every day," Hoberman says. "When your office is Star Bar, what could go wrong?"

And "the office" will be a part of the three-day Wagon Ryed birthday festivities this week.

The partying starts at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 23 with the official release of the beer at the Wynkoop that will include a tapping of the beer and beer cocktails.

On Friday, the Wagoners and friends will reconvene at the Wynkoop at 6 p.m. for a Wagon Ryed Bar Crawl, in which they'll follow the brewery's horse-drawn beer delivery wagon to five other LoDo spots: the Wazee Supper Club, FreshCraft, Euclid Hall, Breckenridge Brewing on Blake, and Star Bar. The beer will go on tap at each.

And on Saturday, Star Bar will host a Birthday Bacchanalia starting at 7 p.m. and end when a host of cabs have poured the bloggers onto their doorsteps. This event, described as "the big shindig," will include not just Wagon Ryed, but other rare or small-batch beers on tap, along with beer cocktails and smoked cocktails. Want the insane list? Here it is:

Wagon Ryed - Wynkoop

Star Bar Proprietary Beers:
Leopold Bothers American Small Batch Whiskey Barrel Aged Belgian Yeti - Great Divide
Leopold Bothers Apple Whiskey Barrel Aged G'Knight - Oskar Blues
Star Folie - New Belgium
Star Sour #1 - AC Golden

Nomad - Great Divide
Maharaja - Avery
Deviant Dale's - Oskar Blues
Belgian Smidy - Oskar Blues
Saboteur 09 / Saboteur 12 - Odell
Footprint - Odell
Surette - Crooked Stave
Angel's Share - The Lost Abbey
Noble Rot - Dogfish Head

Featured Wagon Ryed Beer Cocktails:
Double Rye Black Walnut: Hattan Old Overholt Rye Whiskey, Carpano Antica, Black Walnut Bitters, Wagon Ryed Dry Stout

Smoked and Flaming Wagon Wheel: Tanteo jalapeno Tequila, Del Maguey La Crema Mezcal, Leopold Brother American Orange Liqueur, orange bitters

Follow Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan
and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan.

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My Voice Nation Help

So is Leopold Bros filling the whisky barrel gap left when Stranahans made its ridiculous exclusive deal with Breckenridge?

Thank you LB!!!!


 The caraway plant is a biennial herb usually with a fleshy root and slender, branched stems. It has feather-like leaves divided into very narrow segments and small white flowers. The fruit, when ripe, splits into narrow, elongated carpels, which are curved, pointed at the ends and have four longitudinal ridges on the surface. The dried fruits or seeds, brown in color, are hard and sharp to touch. They have a pleasant odor, aromatic flavor, somewhat sharp taste and leave a somewhat warm feeling in the mouth.

Caraway's qualities were- recognized by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. The herb was widely used in the Middle Ages. It has been used for centuries in breads and cakes, and ­

with baked fruit, especially roasted apples. Because caraway was said to prevent lovers from straying, it was once an essential ingredient in love potions. The seeds of caraway were prescribed for bringing bloom to the cheeks of pale-faced Young maidens.

The caraway seed is native to north and central Europe and West Asia . In India , it grows wild in the north Himalayan region. The herb is cultivated as a winter crop on the plains and summer one in Kashmir , Kumaon, Garhwal and Chamba at altitudes of 2,740 to 3,660 meters.

An analysis of caraway seeds shows it to contain appreciable moisture, protein, fat, substantial amount of carbohydrates besides ash, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. It also contains vitamins C and A. Its calorific value is 465 per 100 gram.

A valuable essential oil, containing substantial amounts of carvone, is obtained from caraway seeds. This oil is colorless or pale yellow with a strong odor and flavor of the fruit. The volatile oil contains a mixture of ketone, carvone, a terpene and traces of carvacrol. www.1wallmart.comHealing Power and Curative Properties of Caraway Seeds

The caraway seeds, leaves and roots are considered useful in activating the glands, besides increasing the action of the kidneys. It is characterized as an excellent 'house cleaner' for the body. Caraway oil is used in medicine to relieve flatulence. It is also used to correct the nauseating and griping effects of some medicines.

Stomach Disorders

Caraway seeds are useful in strengthening the functions of stomach. They relieve flatulence and are useful in flatulent colic, countering any possible adverse effects of medicines. However, the volatile oil of the seeds is employed more often than the seeds. For flatulence, a cup of tea made from caraway seeds taken thrice a day,. after meals, will .give relief. This tea is prepared by adding a teaspoon of caraway seeds in 1.5 to 2 liters of boiling water and allowing it to simmer on a slow fire for 15 minutes. It is then strained and sipped hot or warm. .


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