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Raise a glass to Prohibition’s end at Bristol speakeasy party

Published: April 4, 2014, 8:45 pm, by Stephanie Earls

prohibitionColoradoans took their last legal sip of pre-Prohibition alcohol on New Years Eve, 1915, four years before the 18th Amendment took effect on a national scale.  More than 18 years of imposed sobriety followed before the state approved the 21st Amendment, repealing the ban in September 1933.

To avoid the fuzz during dry times, libation seekers had to go underground, gathering at secret, back-room nightclubs called speakeasies. Those not privy to the secret password – whispered to a door keeper to gain entry – were turned away. 

Personally, I can’t help but imagine a bunch of nervous binge drinkers huddled in a basement pounding rotgut, but Hollywood and wishful drinking have promulgated a far more sexy image. Plus, there’s no arguing, the clothes were pretty awesome.

Celebrate that idealized version of the drought in the proper way (with booze!), at Bristol Brewery’s 9th annual Repeal of Prohibition Party, 6-9 p.m. Sat. at the Ivywild School, 1604 S. Cascade Ave.  It doesn’t cost to get in to the party, held in the fermentation room, but you must be dressed in 1930s garb (think spats and feather headbands) and first supply the secret password (it’s “wildcat,” but shhhhh – you didn’t hear it here).

The event marks the release of Bristol’s  seasonal summer craft brew, Yellow Kite Summer Pils, which replaces Winter Warlock Oatmeal Stout. In honor of the year Prohibition was ended, pints of Yellow Kite are just 33 cents during the party. 

“We’re excited to host the Prohibition Party for the first time at the Ivywild School,” said owner Mike Bristol. “Yellow Kite is one of my favorite beers. It harkens summer, when time slows down a little and you’re able to relax more.”

While we’ve got you, check out some interesting tidbits we learned during our exhaustive 10 minutes of online Prohibition research:

  • Early loopholes in the Colorado law allowed doctors to prescribe four ounce doses of alcohol to patients, which led to a spike in such medicinal needs (sound familiar?)
  • One of the first people nabbed for defying the ban in Colorado was a 49-year-old laborer named John Hanson, arrested on New Years Day in Denver
  • The end of Prohibition was celebrated with the release of a low-alcohol beer by the Coors Brewery in Golden
  • “What America needs now is a drink” – quote uttered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the end of Prohibition