Culinary calendar for the week ahead: Denver Beer Fest dominates and Lala's turns two

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Don't pretend like you didn't know this week marks the start of the Denver Beer Fest. We'll be covering it extensively, so check back for updates on what hoppy happenings are taking place. But believe it or not, that's not all that's going on this week in culinary events. Keep reading to see what's on the menu:

Tuesday, September 7:

Head to Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 15200 West 6th Avenue, for the 2010 Annual "Indoor" Legislative BBQ, a gathering for legislators, elected officials, nonprofit agency board members, staff, and consumers. It runs from 5-7:30 p.m. Visit http://eventful.com/golden/events/2010-annual-legislative-bbq-/E0-001-031574183-7.

Cook Street School of Fine Cooking, 1937 Market Street, offers a Burgers and Beer cooking class from 6 to 9:30 p.m. for $50. Call 303-308-9300 or visit www.cookstreet.com.

Lala's Wine Bar + Pizzeria, 410 East 7th Avenue, presents a Second Anniversary Party featuring a complimentary wine tasting with light appetizers and cupcakes. It runs from 4 to 7 p.m. and is free to attend, but donations for Vail Veterans Program will be accepted. Call 303-861-9463 or visit www.lalaswinebar.com.

Wednesday, September 8:

Firenze a Tavola, 4401 Tennyson Street, offers another Community Table; this round's theme is "Wine and Dine." The four family-style courses will be dished up starting at 7 p.m. for $43; call 303-561-0234 or visit www.firenzeatavoladenver.com.

Thursday, September 9:

The City of Aurora presents a cooking class, Take & Bake Artisan Bread, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Expo Recreation Center, 10955 East Exposition Avenue in Aurora. Admission is $48 to $62; call 303-326-8630.

Interstate Kitchen & Bar, 901 West 10th Avenue, is turning one and offering $2 drafts, $3 whiskey shots and delicious food, plus an '80s hair-band karaoke with costume contest starting at 10 p.m. Festivities start at 11:30 a.m.; call 720-479-8829 or visit www.interstaterestaurant.com.

Maggiano's Little Italy, 500 16th Street, offers a Gluten-Free Wine Dinner, superb wines paired with five gluten-free plates. It starts at 7 p.m. and costs $49.95; call 303-260-7708 or visit www.maggianos.com.

Friday, September 10:

The Denver Beer Fest kicks off with ten days of beer-centric events through Sunday, September 19, including tastings at restaurants, beer-paired dinners, meet-the-brewer nights, beer tappings, brewery tours and more. Visit www.denverbeerfest.com.

WaterCourse Foods, 837 East 17th Avenue, presents a beer dinner, four courses paired with Great Divide and Wynkoop brews. It runs from 5 to 10 p.m. and costs $35; call 303-832-7313 or visit www.watercoursefoods.com.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, 2466 South Colorado Boulevard, offers a Tote Giveaway: The first 100 guests to the restaurant today will receive a Garbanzo tote. Visit www.eatgarbanzo.com.

Visit Elitch Gardens, 2000 Elitch Circle, for Beer Gardens @ Elitch Gardens: Odell's Brewing Company hosts a beer garden with live music and games from 5 to 10 p.m. Call 303-595-4FUN or visit www.elitchgardens.com.

Head to the Denver Zoo, 2300 Steele Street, for Brew at the Zoo, beer tastings from more than forty Colorado breweries, food from local restaurants and, of course, animals. It runs from 7 to 10 p.m. and costs $60 to $85; call 303-376-4800 or visit www.denverzoo.org.

Cook Street School of Fine Cooking, 1937 Market Street, offers a Steak and Scotch cooking class from 6 to 9:30 p.m. for $89. Call 303-308-9300 or visit www.cookstreet.com.

Metropolitan State College of Denver hosts the Denver Food & Wine Classic through Saturday, September 11, featuring a grand tasting with Paul Prudhomme of K-Paul's Lousiana Kitchen, plus much more. Visit www.coloradorestaurant.com/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=56.

The Arvada Harvest Festival features a parade, kids' activities, contests, live music, vendor booths and much more through Sunday, September 12. Visit www.arvadaharvestfestival.com.

Katie Mullen's, 1550 Court Place, hosts the Katie Mullen's Irish Beer & Music Fest through Sunday, September 19, ten days of free live music and beer specials. Call 303-573-0336 or visit www.katiemullens.com.

Prima Ristorante and Restaurant Kevin Taylor, 1106 14th Street, offers up beer-inspired dishes and brews as individual menu items through the end of September to celebrate Denver Beer Fest. Call 303-228-0770 or visit www.ktrg.net.

The annual Firefighter Chili Cook-Off takes place at Larimer Square between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The 2011 Colorado Firefighter Calendar firefighters will sign and sell calendars and bowls of chili to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Visit www.firedupforkids.org.

Enjoy two weekends of Bavarian music and dancing, traditional food, yodeling, alpenhorn blowing, beverages from Beck's and Jagermeister, contests, runs and much more at Vail's Oktoberfest, running through Sunday, September 12, and again on September 17 through 19; visit www.vail-oktoberfest.com.

Oceanaire, 1400 Arapahoe Street, offers a three-course Great Divide Beer Dinner available for the duration of the Denver Beer Fest, through Sunday, August 19. Call 303-991-2277 or visit www.theoceanaire.com.

All the taps at Elway's Downtown, 1881 Curtis Street, will be switched out to feature Colorado craft beers through Sunday, September 19. Call 303-312-3107 or visit www.elways.com.

Saturday, September 11:

Crested Butte hosts the Fall Festival of Beers & Chili Cook-Off, where you can sample great chili and enjoy microbrewed beer; a race starts at 10 a.m., and regular festivities kick off at noon. Admission is $20 to $25. Call 970-349-6438 or visit www.cbchamber.com.

The San Juan Brewfest, offering live music and more than thirty breweries from around the country, takes place from noon to 6 p.m. in Durango. Tickets are $20; visit www.cookmanfood.com/brewfest.

Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, 2466 South Colorado Boulevard, offers a T-Shirt Giveaway: The first 100 guests to the restaurant today will receive a free T-shirt. Visit www.eatgarbanzo.com.

The City of Aurora presents a cooking class, Knife Skills, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Expo Recreation Center, 10955 East Exposition Avenue in Aurora. Admission is $70 to $90; call 303-326-8630.

The City of Aurora offers a kids' cooking class, Cake Decorating, for ages 7 to 12. It runs from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Expo Recreation Center, 10955 East Exposition Avenue in Aurora, and costs $39 to $51. Sign up by calling 303-326-8630.

Wynkoop Brewing Company, 1634 18th Street, presents the Great COntenders, a special all-Colorado beer tasting to help kick off Denver Beer Fest. It runs from 5 to 8:30 p.m., and tickets are $25 to $30. Call 303-297-2700 or visit www.wynkoop.com.

Belmar, Wadsworth Boulevard and Alameda Avenue in Lakewood, presents the annual Festival Italiano through Sunday, September 12, featuring food, wine, vendors and more from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call 303-742-1520 or visit www.belmarcolorado.com.

Grant Family Farms, 1020 WCR 72 in Wellington, presents the Harvestival through Sunday, September 12, with musical guest Judy Collins, plus speakers, hands-on demonstrations, kids' activities and more. Call 970-568-7654 or visit www.grantfarms.com.

Art From Ashes and the Dylan Thomas Society present Hope for Youth: music, poetry, microbrews and wine to support Art From Ashes, at a private home in Denver from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Admission is $45. Visit www.artfromashes.org.

Sunday, September 12:

Every Sunday during football season (starting September 12): Interstate Kitchen & Bar, 901 West 10th Avenue, presents Brunch & Broncos: Every Sunday during football season, enjoy bloody bourbons, fresh-squeezed wine spritzers, game-day garage parking and free Orange Crush shots with every Broncos touchdown, plus a special brunch menu. It starts at 10 a.m.; call 720-479-8829 or visit www.insterstaterestaurant.com.

Highland's Garden Cafe, 3927 West 32nd Avenue, presents Pinot and Pooches, a collaboration of the cafe and Cru Vin Dogs wine sellers. Enjoy wines, service-dog demonstrations and discussions, and more; proceeds will benefit Canine Companions for Independence. It runs from 4 to 7 p.m. and costs $35; call 303-485-5920.

Vesta Dipping Grill, 1822 Blake Street, presents a five-course Beer Dinner offering Great Divide beers at 6 p.m. Call 303-296-1970 or visit www.vestagrill.com.

For information on dozens of culinary events around town, visit our online Food & Drink listings.

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