Things to Do

Cider, wine, Belgian brews and laughs on tap this weekend

The holidays are over and we're well into winter. You may need to imbibe to stay warm -- and what better way to do that than with homemade apple cider, Belgian brews or a perfect Pinot Noir?

You can start today by raising a glass -- or two -- toStem Ciders co-founders Eric Foster and Phil Kao as they celebrate the grand opening of their cider production company at 2811 Walnut Street, Suite 150. The epic party will run from 3-11 p.m. January 10, and include three samples of their tapped ciders: Malice, a tart cider aged in stainless and fermented to be dry and clean on the palate; Le Chêne, a smoky cider aged in red zinfandel barrels with a smooth, round mouth feel and an oak tannin finish; and Banjo, a bourbon-barrel aged cider with a smooth front end and a sharp, sprightly finish. There will be two local food trucks on hand -- Kuechos and Crock Spot -- providing eats while the Lineage Music Project provides the beats, with live bluegrass from 7 to 10 p.m.

See also: Craft beer calendar: two brewery openings, a festival and a host of tappings

FRIDAY, JANUARY 10 The fourteenth annual Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival continues with the Traditional Collaboration Dinner at 8 p.m. tonight at the Vail Cascade Hotel. It's hosted by Cam O'Connor, brewmaster of Deschutes Brewing Co. in Bend, Oregon, and Scott Vaccaro, owner and brewmaster for Captain Lawrence Brewing Co in Elmsford, New York. At 8:30 p.m, a new addition to the festival, the Village Brewmasters' Dinner, will be heldat The Lord Gore Restaurant in the Manor Vail Resort (595 Vail Valley Drive). The dinner will be led by Gordon Schuck, founder and brewmaster of Funwerks in Ft. Collins, and Jared Jankoski, head brewer of Goose Island Beer Co in Chicago. Beers from both breweries will be paired with dishes prepared by executive chef Weston Schroeder and his team at The Lord Gore. For tickets to either event and a full schedule for the weekend, check out the festival website.

Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts is taking over date night with a couples cooking class from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight. Chef Andrea O'Loughlin will instruct the class on simple Mexican cuisine, including homemade flour tortillas, roasted Poblano guacamole and Guajillo chile sauce. Although the class is sold out, go to the Escoffier Culinary school website for info on other classes and possible cancellations.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 11 The final day of the Big Beers Fest at the Vail Cascade Hotel will begin with an Experimental Brewing Seminar from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. "Brewing Outside of the Box: Brewers Gone Wild!" will focus on Saisons, a broadly defined pale ale. Jason Yester from Trinity Brewing Co; Steven Pauwels from Boulevard Brewing Co; Dann Paquette, Brewmaster for Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project; and Ron Jeffries, Brewmaster at Jolly Pumpkin Artisanal Ales, will all be presenting. The Commercial Tasting from 2:30 to 6 p.m. will close out the festival, showcasing 200 specialty beers from around the world. For information and tickets, go to the festival website.

Don't believe the myth that white wines are only for summer. Master Sommelier Doug Krenik will be at City Wine from 2 to 4 p.m. for a free tasting and discussion of various white wines with rich flavors, which are perfect for cold-weather meals and entertaining.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 12 The leaders in Pinot Noir have come together to form the Pinot Posse, now on its ninth annual tour that starts today at the Summit in the Broadmoor. From 6 to 8 p.m. an interactive dinner will be prepared by executive chef Mark Musial, complementing various Pinot Noirs from the country's top producers, including AP Vin Wines, Owen Roe, JK Carriere, August West, Point Concepcion Cargasacchi Vineyards, Loring Wine Company and Bonaccorsi Wine Company -- and reps will be on hand to discuss their wines.Tickets are $125 per person (plus tax and gratuity); for reservations, call 719-577-5896. A special Broadmoor room rate of $139, plus taxes and services fees, is available, call 888-976-0433.

Jezebel's Southern Bistro is hosting its first Whiskey and Comedy Sunday, which features five whiskeys along with comedic host Ben Roy. The tasting begins at 8 p.m. and includes Blanton's Bourbon, Eagle Rare, 1792, EH Taylor and Buffalo Trace. The show starts at 9 p.m., Roy will be sharing the stage with fellow comedians Jason Wesoky, Sean David and Stephen Agyei. Make reservations at the Jezebel's website.

For information on dozens of culinary events around town, visit our online Food & Drink listings -- and if you have information for a culinary event you'd like included in our online calendar, send it to [email protected].