Things are truly going to the dogs this week — which is vastly preferable to the figurative way all of 2020 has screwed the pooch. Take your furry friends out for a beer and then a run and then another beer. Not a dog person? You're on thin ice, but we'll allow it, with dogless activities like a weekend fundraiser, a fair food drive-thru and a sake celebration also on the menu.
And keep reading for a taste of what's coming in September.
Friday, August 28
The bright-blue Stokes Poke VW minibus is back in action after ten weeks off because of damage caused by a drunk driver. We're stoked for a combo of raw fish and pre-Colombian beer styles when the Stokes bus shows up at Dos Luces Brewery, at 1236 South Broadway, on Friday, August 28, and Saturday, August 29. Food service begins at 5 p.m. each night and continues until the poke sells out. Visit Stokes Poke's website for menu details, then read up on pulque, chicha and tepache (Dos Luces's new fermented pineapple beverage) so you can choose the perfect Dos Luces brew to go with your salmon or tuna.
Swanky cocktail bar Death & Co., 1280 25th Street, may not be the first place you think of for breakfast, but now through Sunday, August 30, you can start the day off right with a fundraiser for the Colorado Restaurant Association's Angel Relief Fund. From 7 a.m. to noon, Queen City Coffee, Pandemic Donuts and Dis Burrito will be slinging breakfast bites, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the fund, which provides a safety net for any Colorado hospitality worker who has faced unexpected hardship within the last six months (aka all of them). Visit Death & Co.'s Facebook page for details and delicious-looking pics.
Is it really summer in Colorado without any beer or food festivals? We'd argue no, but luckily Coloradans are an enterprising bunch, and even if the show looks different this year, it's still going on. A prime example: the Colorado State Fair, which is bringing the most beloved part of the 148-year-old event — the food — to fans in the form of a fair food drive-thru starting Friday, August 28. From 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Colorado State Fairgrounds, 1001 Beulah Avenue in Pueblo, will be open to funnel cake fanatics who can't miss out on their favorite fried foods this summer. Enter at gate nine, then cruise down Main Street and order from a greatest-hits menu; the Pass Key sandwich, fried mac and cheese and pickles, corn dogs, fry bread, funnel cake, nachos, turkey legs, cotton candy and more will all be available for your noshing pleasure. The drive-thru will be set up through Monday, August 31; visit the fair's website for more details.
Despite decades of popular opinion and line-standing tradition, an ice-cold can of sub-premium beer isn't the only — and certainly isn't the best — beverage pairing for barbecue. On Friday, August 28, Russell's Smokehouse and sister bar Green Russell (both at 1422 Larimer Street) are proving just how sophisticated a night of ’cue and cocktails can be with their Whiskey Business virtual dinner. Capacity restrictions make hosting dinner in the tight subterranean spot impossible, so the virtual supper bell rings at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. That's when you'll dig in to three courses (roasted corn salad, St. Louis-style ribs and whiskey cake) accompanied by three mixed drinks (an Old Fashioned, a Brooklyn and a Smokehouse Sour). Two people can feast for $145; place your order on Tock for pick-up between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 29
How long does it take to become Denver's oldest sake company? Not long at all, as it turns out. Colorado Sake Company, at 3559 Larimer Street, opened two years ago this week and now holds that honor. Help the sake brewery celebrate the occasion on Saturday, August 29, at its second-anniversary party. Three-hour time slots are available from 2 to 8 p.m.; for $75 per person, you'll get sake, sushi, door prizes and entry into a raffle for something special. Other draws include a DJ and an origami-folding contest. Tickets for all time slots are being sold by the table (from two-tops to eight-tops) to maintain physical distancing. See the event's Facebook page for details, then purchase your tickets on Eventbrite. Kanpai!
TheBigWonderful has reinvented itself — again. What started out as a weekly food truck meetup in RiNo in 2014 morphed into multi-day beer fests and bazaars across Colorado over the ensuing five years, and has now rebranded itself as a weekend beer garden, dog park and music venue (and a somewhat mystifying but alliteratively satisfying "paint park"). TheBigWonderful is now setting up shop at Belleview Station, 4825 South Newport Street, on Saturdays from noon to 9 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. There's an expansive area for your dog to roam off-leash (as well as an expansive area for you to park your car for free), plus a tight local beer list, with brews from Westminster Brewing, Spice Trade, Mockery and Elevated Seltzer, and live music both days. Saturday evening shows run from 5 to 8 p.m. and generally come with a cover — this week the very meta Dogs Off Leash take the stage, and entry is $8 or $30 depending on whether you want one drink or 22 — while Sunday afternoon shows are earlier (noon to 3 p.m.), mellower and free. Visit the Big Wonderful's website for details and to purchase tickets.
Sunday, August 30
It's an indisputable fact that 2020 has been hard on humans, but what about your canine companion? Is Rover thrilled your new office is the couch, or has he started to turn his back to you in disgust when you refuse to pet him for the 7,420th time today? Do both of you a favor and get your tails out of the house on Sunday, August 30, for Dry Dock Brewing Co.'s Tails & Ales Brew Run. Show up at 2801 Tower Road in Aurora with your canine training partner, and for each lap of the roughly half-mile course you complete in 45 minutes, you'll get a playing card; at the end of the poker run, everyone (except Fido) gets a beer — and the best poker hands win swag. Waves of 25 people will take off from the starting line every thirty minutes from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Race entry is $35; buy your bib on the brewery's Facebook page or Eventbrite. (Note that if you're searching for the event on either platform, you should search for "Tales & Ales.")
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Saturday, September 19
As event producers cautiously dip their toes back into the murky waters of large-scale gatherings, they're forced to be creative about how to ensure that safety, social distancing and summer fun are all on tap in a single afternoon. Seltzerland, a traveling hard-seltzer fest that's landing in Denver on Saturday, September 19, is taking an approach as intriguing as any: Vendors and guests will tee off on Erie's Colorado National Golf Club, 2700 Vista Parkway, for nine holes of drinks. Leave your clubs at home (long metal sticks are generally frowned upon at any gathering where booze is the main attraction) for your walk along the fairway with a cohort of up to fourteen other attendees. Entry is timed in ten-minute intervals, and social distancing is required between groups as well as between vendors. While we're not sure how you'll get your seltzer samples if you're maintaining six feet from the seltzertender (is that the right word?), you're promised more than fifty different beverages and ninety minutes of fresh air and drinking with friends. Tickets are $39 for general admission, which runs from 1 to 4:30 p.m. (participants are given an entry time during that window), or $79 for VIP, which goes from 11 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. and includes one cocktail, a full can of seltzer, free parking and bites in addition to samples. Visit the event website for details and to purchase tickets.
April 21 — the day government officials from Bavaria and Munich announced the cancellation of Munich's iconic Oktoberfest celebrations — was a sad day for beer drinkers around the globe. Denver's Oktoberfest was not so quick to follow, but finally put the kibosh on the Mile High City's annual dunkel drinking and dachshund racing festivities on July 31. So while large-scale gatherings have been given das Boot this year, you can still enter Breckenridge Brewery's drawing for a mini-Oktoberfest through September 12. Visit the brewery's website to throw your name in the hat to receive a private performance by the Rhinelanders (okay, as private as a Jeep hauling a three-piece band on a trailer and parking in your driveway can be), steins, brats and pretzels — all free. The beer, sadly, is not free (due to legal restrictions), but that means you can furnish whatever brews you prefer. Seven mini-bashes will be provided in Denver and Colorado Springs on Saturday, September 19, and Sunday, September 20.
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