This week, Il Vicino took the gold for its Barber Shop Brown Ale in the International World Beer Cup competition in New York City. Il Vicino, the downtown eatery and brewpub, competed against brewers from around the world for the first place award in the best brown ale category. The awards are held every two years.
And, the noble prize was bestowed on brewer Tucker Mitchell, who is actually a native of the Springs.
"Having the best brown ale on the planet is maybe a very small news item in the grand scope of things, but maybe for Colorado Springs it brings a little bit of notoriety for a small brewery that's right around the corner," said a jubilant Tim Mitchell, Tucker's brother.
So there you have it. We got the best brown ale on the planet. This is exactly what Colorado Springs leaders must have meant when they said they want things around here world class. Somebody give that brewmaster a key to the city.
* * *
In contrast, the Denver Rocky Mountain News deserves awards for tackiest timing and most vacuous news story for its latest three-part series unveiled last Sunday detailing the gripping lifestyles of the young, white rich in Colorado's capitol city.
Called "In the Money," the series focused on the "growing phenomena" of "Colorado's New Wealth" -- a group of all-white, party-loving men who spend their days cutting corporate deals and their nights picking up blondes.
Here's the scenario: a new breed of 20-and-30-somethings are loaded to the gills and partying down every night. Unfortunately, the Rocky's image of Denver's young millionaire crowd evoked an uncanny resemblance to the life and times of Spicer Breeden.
You remember Breeden: His lavish lifestyle and life in the fast lane ended four years ago when he committed suicide rather than surrender to cops after his hit-and-run accident which left beloved Rocky columnist Greg Lopez dead. Ironically, Lopez had spent his career as a champion of the little guy.
Strange contrast then, because the Rocky on Sunday could have easily named their whole package "Spicer Lives!"
In page after page, the daily gushed over Colorado being the ninth richest state in the country, in per capita income. It bragged about the luxury-car crowd, and the hot housing market. In this utopia -- as depicted by the Rocky -- everybody eats at ultra-trendy restaurants, everyone drinks Dom Perignon and everybody plays polo.
Oh yeah, and everybody's white.
"It's never been easier to find a $12 cigar here," Rocky reporter Bill Scanlon boasted. "Ten years ago, there were four specialty cigar stores in the US West DEX Yellow Pages for Metro Denver. Now, there are 21."
An accompanying article, written by reporter Dahlia Jean Weinstein, literally offers a minute-by-minute account of a routine night on the town with rich-guy Zach Pashel and his pals. Basically they go out, pick up blondes, go to a fancy restaurant, get drunk, go to a nightclub and get drunker, then go to another after-hours joint. Accompanying pictures show the rich guys seated at restaurants amid empty cocktail glasses and dancing in trendy LoDo nightclubs. In one, rich-guy Dov Soble, 31, is surrounded by three lookalike blondes, one of whom is lying on his lap.
The package was vile, inane, abject piddle.
And, sadly, it appeared the same weekend that people of all races, but especially African Americans, were celebrating Juneteenth. That was the anniversary of the June 19, 1865 date which marked the great day of deliverance two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, when slaves in Texas learned that they were free.
The Rocky did run a small inside piece on Denver's Juneteenth celebration, but barely acknowledged it was the largest celebration of its kind in the country.
So why did the Rocky glorify the idea of being rich and young and drunk? Well, last weekend coincided with a date that the Associated Press has identified as a "contest day." According to its new contest rules, rather than having member news outlets identify and submit stories for contests, the wire service has targeted specific dates when newspapers will be judged for content and possible awards (the concept is sort of like the TV sweeps' month).
But, in a concession to its member newspapers (the Indy is not an AP member) the wire service has informed them ahead of time of the contest dates, allowing members to prepare potential award-winning stories and packages.
It'll be interesting to see what they win.
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Amazing story of some amazing groups of people who care. Well done.