Windy Saddle hosts its last Golden Beer Talks

The event outgrew its home venue, will be moving to Buffalo Rose this June

Posted 5/22/19

Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza was 7 when she saw the movie “Jaws.” “Things changed for me in a weird way,” she said. “I was terrified (of sharks). And the only way I knew how to get over my fear …

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Windy Saddle hosts its last Golden Beer Talks

The event outgrew its home venue, will be moving to Buffalo Rose this June

Posted

Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza was 7 when she saw the movie “Jaws.”

“Things changed for me in a weird way,” she said. “I was terrified (of sharks). And the only way I knew how to get over my fear was to read about them.”

She eventually overcame that fear, did extensive study on the creatures in college and today, McComb-Kobza has spent about 25 years doing fieldwork with sharks. She is also the executive director of Ocean First Institute, a Boulder-based nonprofit that uses research and education to promote ocean conservation.

McComb-Kobza was the guest speaker for the May 14 Golden Beer Talks — the final talk to take place at the Windy Saddle Café in downtown Golden.

Golden Beer Talks “is getting bigger,” said the Windy Saddle’s owner DeAnn Wieber, “but the space can’t grow.”

Golden Beer Talks is a local version of TED Talks organized by a small committee of community members. It features a guest speaker — usually an expert from the greater Colorado community — who speaks on an interesting and/or educational topic from their field of work.

Each event features two different beer options — one from a local brewery and one from a guest brewery — and a dinner selection from the Windy Saddle for purchase.

Since its beginning about five-and-a-half years ago, Golden Beer Talks has been hosted at the Windy Saddle. Wieber was on the original planning committee and said she is grateful to have had the “opportunity to bring the community together for something fun and educational.”

And “I loved cooking for the people in my community,” Wieber said. “I will miss seeing the familiar faces each month.”

Through the years, the Golden Beer Talks crowd packed the Windy Saddle each second Tuesday of the month, and it eventually gained so much popularity that it became, often, a standing room only event.

“It wouldn’t have been possible to make Golden Beer Talks what it is without the Windy Saddle,” said Whitney Painter, one of the event’s organizers. “It is with mixed emotions that we leave this home.”

Golden Beer Talks got its start on Oct. 8, 2013. The topic was soul food, and the speaker was Adrian Miller, author of “Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time.”

Since then, Golden Beer Talks’ guest speakers have run the gamut — scientists, cowboy poets, historians, ecologists and university professors, for example. They have spoken on home brewing, mapping and cartography, bee keeping, human health, climate change and everything in between.

Larry Day of Golden has been attending Golden Beer Talks for about three years, and since, has been to most of them, he said. He has enjoyed all of the topics, Day said, but was especially impressed with Margaret Blaha’s talk on the Horse Protection League, where she serves as the barn manager.

Blaha’s talk took place on Nov. 14, 2017, and Day was so inspired by it that he became a volunteer at the Horse Protection League, which is something he continues to do today.

“I’m sad for it (Golden Beer Talks) to leave the Windy Saddle,” Day said, “but I’m excited about the new place.”

Beginning on June 11, Golden Beer Talks will take place across Washington Avenue from the Windy Saddle at the newly remodeled Buffalo Rose.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of the new Buffalo Rose,” Painter said. “It’s an iconic institution in Golden, and we want Golden Beer Talks to be iconic as well.”

André and Amy O’Connell have attended about five Golden Beer Talks through the years. They came to McComb-Kobza’s talk on sharks because their daughter Maggie, who attends Golden High School, volunteers with Ocean First Institute.

And “because we wanted to attend the last one at Windy Saddle,” André O’Connell said.

McComb-Kobza’s talk was engaging, Amy O’Connell added. “She made you think about a topic that you don’t normally think about as Colorado residents.”

Ten-year-old Josh Dollar of Golden, who attended the event with his mother Christine, agreed. Dollar is a shark fanatic, he said, and is excited that he got to meet a shark expert.

“It’s important for people to know about sharks because they help the ecosystem,” Dollar said. “They’re such a cool species and I don’t want animals like them to become extinct.”

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