Gov. Hickenlooper’s last speech mentions a favorite: beer

Colorado Gov. John W. Hickenlooper delivers his final State of the State address Thursday at the Colorado State Capitol. (Photos by Evan Semón Photography/Special to the SOS)

Gov. John Hickenlooper, a former brewpub owner, twice mentioned “beer” when he delivered his eighth and final State of the State Thursday.

The term-limited governor has mentioned beer in at least six of his eight State of the State speeches.

The first reference this year to beer came when the governor talked about “topophilia.”

The brewpub that John Hickenlooper founded, Wynkoop Brewing Co., commemorated his first inauguration with a beer.

“It’s our love of place, and reflects our love of Colorado,” Hickenlooper told the 100 lawmakers and others in the packed House chamber.

“It’s the growling of tractors in Brush’s Fourth  of July parade. It’s the smell of barbecue at the little league ball fields in Sterling on a summer night. If you’ve seen a sunrise over the plains, drank a cold beer after a day of hunting, or consider ‘Rocktober’ a real month, you’ve experienced it.”

He also talked how in ancient Greece, discussions about hot topics took place over large dinners and lasted days.  There was no “cable TV debate or tweet storm,” different viewpoints emerged and people “invested their time in each other, often fueled by wine.”

“Here in Colorado, we’ll stick with beer,” he said, drawing a friendly protest from Rep. Edie Hooten, a Boulder Democrat who likes her wine.

Hickenlooper also said “giddy up” twice on Thursday. That refers to a story he tells often, with someone asking about the opposite of the kind of “woe” that means sorrow and distress and getting the cheerful answer “Giddy up!”

Two years ago, Hickenlooper published his memoir, “The Opposite of Woe: My life in Beer and Politics.”

He ended his State of the State by saying, “Thank you for your partnership, your friendship, and for deepening our love of this wonderful, wild ​place. One last time from this podium: Giddy up!”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, and state Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Gov. John Hickenlooper’s eight and final state of the state speech Thursday. (Photos by Evan Semón Photography /Special to the SOS)

Here’s a look at beer references in Hickenlooper’s other State of the State speeches, according to his prepared remarks. The speeches provide an interesting  historical perspective of the last seven years, from a measure legalizing marijuana, the hell of fire and floods, and dealing with a massacre inside a movie theater.

2017:  “Lincoln once said, ‘I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts”– and beer.” The speech.

2016: No mention of beer, but he did end the speech with another favorite B word in Colorado. “Thank you. Go Broncos, and God bless the state of Colorado.” The Broncos the next month won the Super Bowl. The speech.

2015: Another year with no mention of beer, but a mention of the Broncos.  The speech.

2014: “As some of you know, I took what you might call an unconventional path into running for office. I started out here in Colorado as a geologist. During a downturn, everyone in our company got laid off. Next thing I knew I was making beer and starting a brewpub business.” The speech.

2013: “Some have suggested a divided government – that is, divided chambers – has been a blessing for our administration. They say I got lucky,  but I don’t see it that way. Our blessing was not divided government in the last two years; our blessing was in the many relationships we formed with lawmakers from both parties  and that you have with each other. These relationships endure. They span the geography of our state and they transcend political affiliation. And they’ve been nourished by our working together , helped along every once in awhile by a cold Colorado beer.” The speech.

Colorado Gov. John W. Hickenlooper clasps Rep. Dan Pabon’s hand Thurday after delivering his final State of the State speech. (Photo by Evan Semón Photography /Special to the SOS.)

2012: Two mentions.

“When people think of the West, it’s easy to envision wagon trains, Buffalo Bill, the glory days of the Gold Rush. Cowboy hats come to mind, rocks, even beer, but but let’s talk about hats. John B. Stetson left Pennsylvania in the early 1860s, suffering from tuberculosis, and came West.”

“We also start the year with the country’s strongest and fairest rule disclosing the ingredients in the ‘fracking’ process. The old geologist in me is champing at the bit to go into detail about this process, but I won’t. Of course, the brewer in me would like to talk about it over a beer.” The speech.

2011: “Together, we can work to show the people of Colorado that we are here to serve them, and that our efforts reflect the Western values of hard work, honesty and respect. And let’s not forget humor. Or the value of sharing a beer after a hard day’s work.” The speech.

** Thank you to the amazing Evan Semón, an incredibly talented photographer who has shared his pictures over the years. He has photographed Hickenlooper since the mayor kicked off his gubernatorial campaign.