This fall's California wildfires displaced more than 100,000 people and destroyed 6,000 homes. And while it's easy to imagine those affected by the natural disaster are wealthy vineyard owners who don't need assistance, the fact is, the high cost of living in California means the vast majority of those impacted aren't the landed gentry you may envision. Through Wednesday, November 22, Mercantile Dining & Provision (1701 Wynkoop Street) and Fruition (1313 East Sixth Avenue) will be offering a special Napa and Sonoma wine list; 10 percent of the sales of these wines will go to Tipping Point, a nonprofit organization fighting poverty in the Bay Area. So if you're splurging on a night out, consider hitting one of chef Alex Seidel's venues for good wine and a good cause.
Beaujolais nouveau — a baby of a wine, fruity and light — is released with much French fanfare on the third Thursday of every November. And Beatrice & Woodsley, 38 South Broadway, is wasting no time in raising a glass to the harvest's first fruits. The restaurant will host its Beaujolais Nouveau Dinner on Friday, November 17, at 7 p.m., where four courses will be paired with four different wines. Expect a dinner très français: lentil croquettes, roast duck, veggie terrine and chicken-liver mousse are on the menu. And at $49 per person, it's a great deal. Reservations are required; call 303-777-3505 to make yours.
Saturday, November 18
Make sure your Thanksgiving dinner isn't a turkey with Proud Souls Barbecue & Provisions' Holiday Cooking Class on Saturday, November 18. Proud Souls owner Tony Roberts and Jason Ganahl of GQue Championship Barbecue will lead aspiring pitmasters through smoking a whole turkey and prime rib, with plenty of opportunities to sample the meat and pick the hosts' brains (barbecue sauce not included with brain-picking). The class runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Proud Souls, 2485 North Federal Boulevard; tuition is $75 at gquebbq.com.
Although winter is officially a month away, for all intents and purposes, it’s already here — and that means you can indulge in some heavy, malty, dark, sweet, aged-in-bourbon-barrels beer without fear of judgment from pedantic hopheads. Not that we care about them: The rule about delegating dark beers to cold months is as outdated as the one that bans wearing white after Labor Day. So drink up at Wynkoop Brewing Company’s Day of Darks on Saturday, November 18. From noon to 4 p.m., the top floor of the brewery at 1634 18th Street will be taken over by brewers pouring nothing but murky stouts and black Belgians; there won't be a pale ale in sight. Participating brewers include Firestone Walker, Chain Reaction Brewing Co., Renegade Brewing Co. and the ever-excellent Stem Ciders, which has managed — somehow — to pull off a dark cider with aplomb in previous years. Tickets, $35, are available at eventbrite.com; find a complete list of participating brewers on the Wynkoop Facebook page. Proceeds from Day of Darks will benefit local health organizations.
Here's the one thing everyone loves about Thanksgiving: pie. No matter your color, creed or individual foibles, there's at least one flavor of pie that tickles your fancy and tempts your tastebuds. Denver Beer Co. knows this. It also knows you need a beer or two to help you make it through those precious moments with your family before the pastry makes an appearance. So on Saturday, November 18, both taprooms (1695 Platte Street and 5768 Ole Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada) are rolling out a Thanksgiving Beer and Pie Pairing. For $20, you can show up from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and get four miniature pies from Long I Pie Shop to pair with four beer samples. If your commitment to the pie arts ends there, fine. If not — and if, like us, you wait for the holidays all year just so you can shamelessly eat right out of the pie plate — you can order a full-sized pie and two Crowlers of the accompanying beer to pick up on Wednesday, November 22, for an additional $40. Get your tickets in advance at denverbeerco.com; while you may be able to get in on the action at the door, prices will be higher.
Many of us in the Lower 48 don't realize that Puerto Ricans are American citizens, which makes the devastation on the island and the U.S. government's combative relationship with its leadership all the more heartbreaking. Lend a hand on Sunday, November 19, at the People for Puerto Rico benefit going on at the University of Denver's Maglione Hall at the Sie Complex, 2201 South Gaylord Street. For a suggested donation of $100 (all of which will go directly to the Unidos Disaster Relief Fund), you'll experience Puerto Rican food, cocktails and salsa dancing. Go to eventbrite.com to RSVP, then make your donation at the event. Schedule conflict? You can still donate at hispanicfederation.org.
The Brown Palace Hotel is one of Denver's swankiest institutions, and on Sunday, November 19, you can attend its 30th Annual Champagne Cascade and see why. Over 6,000 Champagne glasses will form a delicately balanced, sparkling pyramid that reaches to the heavens (okay, to the mezzanine), where bubbly is poured into the top glass as the clock strikes noon. VIP tickets are sold out, but you can get a free bird's-eye view of the ceremony from the fourth through seventh floors of the hotel. To make it a real celebration, get to the hotel early to partake in the luxe Dom Perignon Champagne Brunch, which starts at 10 a.m. at Ellyngton's. More details are up at the Brown's Facebook page.
Keep reading for food and drink events beyond this weekend...