Sweet and Sour

Fermentation is the blessed process that gives us beer, wine and spirits, but it’s also one of the oldest forms of food preservation in the world, and this weekend’s second annual Fermentation Festival & Market plans to highlight that history, as well as showcase everything from pickles and sauerkraut to kombucha and kimchi. There will be plenty of beer, wine and spirits around, too.

The event features unlimited tastings, along with fermentation classes on subjects like sake and lacto-fermented veggies. There will also be a pickle toss, in which people fling pickles into their teammates’ waiting mouths from a variety of distances. Open to all ages, the fest includes a fermentation “petting zoo,” where kids can experience the process with all of their senses — even the stinky parts.

“Fermentation kind of smells, especially with kimchis,” says Joe Kim, the owner of Dae Gee Korean BBQ in Westminster, which will be on hand with both barbecue and his fermented goods; Kim is also teaching a kimchi class. “But the sourness and bitterness bring out a lot.... Fermentation is very healthy, and there are a lot of options out there.” Kim learned the process from his mother-in-law, who owned a restaurant in Hawaii for more than fifteen years — and she learned from her mother.

The Fermentation Festival runs today and tomorrow from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Highlands Masonic Center, 3550 Federal Boulevard. General-admission tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door; VIP tickets are $60 in advance and $65 at the door. Get more information at fermentationfestival.com.
Sat., Aug. 9, 3:30-7:30 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 10, 3:30-7:30 p.m., 2014

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes