Things to Do

The Seven Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Fledgling Georgetown brewery Cabin Creek opened in May — now it's pouring at the Vail Craft Beer Classic.
Fledgling Georgetown brewery Cabin Creek opened in May — now it's pouring at the Vail Craft Beer Classic. Courtesy Cabin Creek Brewing
click to enlarge The Block's first straight whiskey was released in December; now you can compare it to the distillery's first bourbon. - LINNEA COVINGTON
The Block's first straight whiskey was released in December; now you can compare it to the distillery's first bourbon.
Linnea Covington
Bust out the bourbon (and beer), pony up for a pair of good causes and plan an epic Sunday Funday with brunch, dinner and a movie all in one 24-hour period.

Here are seven of the best food and drink events on the table this weekend, as well as future activities that you won't want to miss:

click to enlarge Fledgling Georgetown brewery Cabin Creek opened in May — now it's pouring at the Vail Craft Beer Classic. - COURTESY CABIN CREEK BREWING
Fledgling Georgetown brewery Cabin Creek opened in May — now it's pouring at the Vail Craft Beer Classic.
Courtesy Cabin Creek Brewing
Friday, August 14
RiNo resident the Block Distilling Co. is releasing its first bourbon on Friday, August 14, and will be celebrating throughout the weekend with food trucks through Sunday. If you're interested in nabbing the bourbon for your home bar, show up at 2990 Larimer Street at the stroke of noon, when bottles go on sale; buyers are limited to four 375-ml bottles and will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have enough whiskey in the jar to last until the end of the Apocalypse (aka 2020), come for side-by-side pours of the Block's bourbon and its four-grain straight whiskey. HipPops will be slinging icy and delicious gelato, sorbet and yogurt pops on Friday; Smokin' Bones BBQ will provide bourbon's perfect accompaniment on Saturday; and Pandemic Donuts is selling the whole doughnut — including the hole! — on Sunday. Visit the Block's Facebook page for details.

Coloradans would do almost anything to attend their beloved beer festivals this summer — including risking a public outing to sample a bottomless batch of brews. If you're willing to take the risk, you'll want to book a room in Vail for the night of Friday, August 14, because the Vail Craft Beer Classic will soldier on that day. The fest takes place in a park adjacent to Betty Ford Alpine Gardens (522 South Frontage Road South, Vail) and will run differently than standard beer festivals, of course: Attendance is limited to 175 people during each of two ninety-minute sessions (Friday at 4 and 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 1 and 3 p.m.); everyone will be required to mask up while obtaining their beers and will only be allowed to imbibe once they're settled on the lawn with their drinking buddies. We can't guarantee there won't be any lines, but they will be spread out with six-foot indicators on the ground, as will brewery reps. Find details on the fest's website, where you can also pick up tickets ($49), but hurry — both sessions on Saturday, August 15, have already sold out.

click to enlarge Maine Shack is providing a backyard lobster bake for twelve to raise funds for Sophie's Neighborhood. - COURTESY MAINE SHACK
Maine Shack is providing a backyard lobster bake for twelve to raise funds for Sophie's Neighborhood.
Courtesy Maine Shack
Saturday, August 15
Chef Hosea Rosenberg's daughter, Sophie, is just three, but she already has Boulder and Denver's restaurant community wrapped around her little finger. Nonprofit organization Sophie's Neighborhood launched earlier this year with the mission of raising money to research multicentric carpotarsal osteolysis (MCTO). Sophie is one of just thirty people worldwide diagnosed with the illness, and the organization bearing her name has already collected approximately $300,000 in donations. But with a fundraising goal of $2 million for 2020, there's no time to slow down, so an online auction is scheduled for Saturday, August 15. Bidding opens at 12:01 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m., but you can preview the catalogue now on the auction website. There are currently over seventy items available, including a $9,000 Viking grill; virtual cooking and cocktail classes with fellow Top Chef alumni Jennifer Carroll and Fabio Viviani as well as local fixtures Alon Shaya, Bryan Dayton and Daniel Asher; private dinners from Maine Shack, Steuben's Food Truck and the Bindery; travel packages (including an African safari!); and more, with new items still being added.

With City Park Jazz and Levitt Pavilion streaming shows this summer in lieu of hosting live performances, the time-honored practice of smuggling booze into the park alongside your picnic, blanket and camp chairs for a concert under the stars hasn't been on the agenda for fans this summer. But now you can re-create the experience (sort of) on Saturday, August 15,  at Tunes at Twilight. Is it in the heart of the city? Well, no — but it is at the gorgeous Lyons Farmette, an intimate and private farm at 4121 Ute Highway in Lyons. Is it free? Definitely not, but of the $150 ticket price, $47 will go to musicians and music-related small businesses; $25 will go to restaurant and bar staff; and the remaining $84 will benefit nonprofit organization Can'd Aid, specifically its music outreach programs. Americana band Trout Steak Revival is providing the tunes, A Spice of Life Catering is serving boxed picnic dinners, and Oskar Blues and Infinite Monkey Theorem will be selling beer and wine. Find out more and reserve your spot on the Can'd Aid website.



Sunday, August 16
Boulder brunchers and bakers can take a day off on Sunday, August 16: Oak at Fourteenth, 1400 Pearl Street, is mounting a bake sale that day starting at 9 a.m. Stop by and take your pick of sweet and savory baked goods so succulent you might not even be able to make it home and put out the spread before having a nibble or two (we won't snitch on you, promise). Black and white cookies, brown-butter blondies, everything pretzels, hazelnut sticky buns, egg and cheese biscuits, fresh focaccia and "dough-fins" — a doughnut-muffin cross — are just a few of the bites that will be available for purchase. The bake sale runs until 3 p.m., but we're guessing the endeavor will sell out long before then.

Denver brunch fiends also have options on Sunday, August 16, when Urban Farmer, 1659 Wazee Street, hosts brunch immediately preceding its Urban Farmers' Market. Show up starting at 9 a.m. (okay, don't just show up; make a reservation like the civilized human you are) for food and drinks. We recommended the steak frites, just because the idea of tucking into a pile of fries and a perfectly seared steak for breakfast tickles our funny bone (and if you used up all your social graces making that reservation, you can indulge your animal nature). Stick around for the market, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes wares from the restaurant's own vendors, including Black Box Bakery, Mountain Man Micro Farms and Highland Honey. Unlike some other markets around town, vendors don't pay a fee to participate, nor are they required to share any sales with the monthly market's organizers. Book your table and get more details on Urban Farmer's website.

The last time you went to a drive-in movie, you probably noshed on hot dogs and soggy French fries. If you were lucky, you snuck in a flask (for everyone but the driver) and a bag of burgers from Sonic. But on Sunday, August 16, you can enjoy a restaurant-quality meal at the Holiday Twin drive-in, at 2206 South Overland Trail in Fort Collins. The movie theater is partnering with chef Kevin Grossi of the Regional for a white-tablecloth, silver-screen experience from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Instead of dropping popcorn between the car seats, you'll pull up next to a four-top and enjoy a three-course meal before the movie — 1988's The Great Outdoors, which stars Dan Aykroyd, John Candy and the world's largest cell phone — starts. The menu includes grilled sweet tea chicken (or roasted carrots for vegetarians) accompanied by smoked cabbage remoulade, potato salad purée, and sour-beer pie with white-chocolate pretzel brittle for dessert. And yes, there will be popcorn, but you won't have to sweep it out of your car after the show. Tickets are $200 per car and include a meal for up to five people, with drinks and bottles of wine available for purchase. Visit the Regional's website for the full menu and to purchase your ticket.

Keep reading for future food and drink events....

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Amy Antonation knows that street tacos are infinitely superior to tacos that come covered in squiggles of crema, and she will stab you with her knitting needles if you try to convince her otherwise.
Contact: Amy Antonation