Lists

The Ten Tastiest Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Fun and games at Townie Fest 2016.
Fun and games at Townie Fest 2016. Courtesy of Big Red F
Pooches, pig bowls and pugilists are only part of the proceedings in town this weekend. Peruse this prospectus and pick up your passports to the fun; here are ten of the tastiest events from Friday, August 25, through Sunday, August 27. And keep reading for more events through September to put on your culinary calendar.

click to enlarge Skyline Beer Gardens turns into RiNo this weekend. - COURTESY OF DOWNTOWN DENVER PARTNERSHIP
Skyline Beer Gardens turns into RiNo this weekend.
Courtesy of Downtown Denver Partnership
Friday, August 25
The 16th Street Mall and RiNo are barely a mile from each other, but as any Denver resident knows, they're actually worlds apart. But on Friday, August 25, RiNo will make an incursion into the city's center of fast-food restaurants and shlocky T-shirt shops with the DRiNK RiNo Tap Takeover at Skyline Beer Garden, 1601 Arapahoe Street. From 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., beverages from seven north Denver brewers and cider makers will be on tap; now's your chance to taste brews from Beryl's Beer Co., Epic Brewing Co., Bierstadt Lagerhaus, Mockery Brewing, Ratio Beerworks, Stem Ciders and Great Divide Brewing Co. in one sitting, without having to get a Lyft or stagger around the neighborhood. We'll toast to that.

click to enlarge Fun and games at Townie Fest 2016. - COURTESY OF BIG RED F
Fun and games at Townie Fest 2016.
Courtesy of Big Red F
Saturday, August 26
So that dream of vacationing on an island paradise hasn't come to fruition this year. All is not lost, intrepid traveler. Slap on your best sun hat and travel south to Civic Green Park, 9730 Ridgeline Boulevard in Highlands Ranch, where the Pi'ilani Hawaiian Civic Club will be hosting Ho'olaule'a 2017, its celebration of all things Hawaiian. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 26, the islands will take over the park with hula, Polynesian music (including a jam session, so bring your ukulele), Hawaiian art and, of course, food. Kalua pig bowls will be available courtesy of the club, and food trucks Mauna Snoa and No Ke Aloha will be dishing up shave ice and Spam musubi. Admission is free, but you'll have to pony up for food and beers; find all the details at the event Facebook page. It's the leading contender for our newest Best of Denver award: Best Island Experience in a Landlocked State.

The Post Brewing Co., 105 West Emma Street in Lafayette, is celebrating townies (beer and people) with its second annual Townie Fest from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 26. The event benefits the Fill the Boot campaign, which raises money for muscular dystrophy patients and their families. While contributing to a good cause, you can also enjoy the Post's lauded fried chicken and some of the more creative games on the festival scene — human foosball, chicken toss and chicken head relay, for starters. Prizes are generous: A trip for two to Chicago and tickets to the Great American Beer Festival (already sold out) are among them. Tickets range from $20 to $84 on eventbrite.com, depending on how many beers you'll drink and how many events you'll enter. And if you're not really from Lafayette? Relax — no one's checking addresses at the door.

click to enlarge If a dog looks at you like this, you have to adopt it. - FLICKR/LUANN SNAWDER PHOTOGRAPHY
If a dog looks at you like this, you have to adopt it.
The Humane Society of the South Platte Valley (and possibly a canine resident or two) will benefit from your generosity at the first Barks & Brews festival on Saturday, August 26. Bring your pooch over to the Outlets at Castle Rock, 5050 Factory Shops Boulevard, for a beer (you, not the dog), food-truck snacks and a costume contest (your dog, not you) from 1 to 3 p.m. If you don't have a furry family member, stick around until 2 p.m., when homeless hounds will be available for adoption. There's no cost to attend the fest, but a donation of $5 per beer is requested; it will go to help the Humane Society feed, house and care for adoptable animals.

The school of hard knocks comes to Denver on Saturday, August 26, with two separate events that will have competitors seeing stars while ticket holders kick back with craft beers. In Glendale, Bruises and Brews hits Infinity Park, 4400 East Kentucky Avenue, with the RugbyTown Sevens tournament (a fast-paced version of standard rugby) and a beer festival pouring suds from more than twenty brewers from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are $35 at glendalebeerfest.com. And for indoor action, you won’t want to miss the freewheeling Brews and Bruises, a beer celebration to help send Denver Roller Derby’s all-star team, the Mile High Club, to the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association playoffs. While there won’t be a roller derby match, you’ll get to mingle with the ladies on the team while enjoying Colorado craft beers, food-truck fare, live music and other entertainment. Get tickets, $27, at denverrollerderby.org, then roll on over to the Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, from 1 to 5 p.m.

click to enlarge The Levitt Pavilion Beer Festival includes good beer and good music. - BRANDON MARSHALL
The Levitt Pavilion Beer Festival includes good beer and good music.
Brandon Marshall
Another beer festival in Denver isn't anything new, but the Levitt Pavilion Denver, 1380 West Florida Avenue, is. And you can enjoy the city's newest concert venue at the Levitt Pavilion Beer Festival on Saturday, August 26. From 4 to 7 p.m., you'll get unlimited beer from the likes of FATE Brewing Co., Platt Park Brewing Co., Declaration Brewing Co. and Cerebral Brewing. After the beer is gone, you can sober up to a free concert by Karl Denson's Tiny Universe. Unlike most of the events at the venue, this one isn't free to the public; tickets will run you $25 or $65 for VIP (includes private restrooms, catered snacks, a goody bag and up-close seating for the show). Check out the Facebook event page for all participating breweries, and get your tickets at levittdenver.org.

You know the farm-to-table trend has officially jumped the shark when joints brand themselves as farm-to-table sports bars; nevertheless, there is some surreal pleasure in being able to munch on a beef-cheek burger while watching the big fight. And that's exactly what you can do at Element Kitchen & Cocktail, 1134 Broadway, on Saturday, August 26. Guarantee your seat for the Mayweather v. McGregor fight; for $30 per head (individual bar seating and  two-, four- and six-tops are available), you'll get reserved seats and passed apps for the first hour. Get your tickets at nightout.com.

Sunday, August 27
Brunch is Denver’s favorite meal; there’s no better way to roll out of bed and cure a hangover than with loaded breakfast platters and morning cocktails. Denver BrunchFest will bring some of the city’s best brunch destinations to one spot for an outdoor celebration of eggs, pancakes, mimosas and Bloody Marys. BrunchFest hits Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 27, with tickets priced at $65 for general admission and $95 for the Brunch Club Express Pass, which gets you in the gates at 10:30 a.m. and gives you access to express bar lines. Find out more and purchase tickets at eventbrite.com.

After Sunday brunch, you know you want dessert. Little Man Ice Cream, 2620 16th Street, is happy to oblige, and is making the already kid-centric spot even more enticing to your little ones with its Canteloupe Coloring Contest on Sunday, August 27. From 2 to 4 p.m., children (and their artistic parents) can reproduce a canteloupe display and win prizes for the best renditions. If you're more left-brained, you can take solace in Little Man's limited-edition flavor, Rocky Ford Watermelon Mojito sorbet, while contemplating the many melons on display on Colorado's Western Slope. Hmmm, maybe this event isn't as family-friendly as it seems.

If you can't bear the thought of going back to work on Monday morning, consider getting the hell out of Dodge with Dinner on the Divide at Devil's Thumb Ranch on Sunday, August 27. Old Major's Justin Brunson is heading up into the hills to cook some Wagyu beef at an outdoor dinner with truly spectacular views. It's a bit of a drive up to the ranch at 3530 County Road 83 in Tabernash, but you can look forward to classic Colorado vistas on the way up and perhaps even a spa treatment before dinner. Cocktails start at 5 p.m.; reserve your seat ($95) by calling 970-726-7013. Dinner guests even get special pricing on a room that night, so you can delay the dreaded workweek for one more day. For more information, see the ranch's website.

And if you're planning ahead...

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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