Life is full of difficult choices: Pork or pita bread? Barrel-aged or Belgian beer? A pint or a pilsner glass? Narrow down your options with our seven favorite food and drink events for the week....and more to plan for in the weeks ahead.
Monday, January 15
You can always spot a beer-fest aficionado by peeking inside his or her kitchen; the jumble of mismatched drinking vessels is a dead giveaway. If you want to meet fellow beer drinkers while organizing the contents of your kitchen cabinet, attend Two22 Brew's White Elephant Glassware Exchange on Monday, January 15. From 6 to 8 p.m., participants can enjoy BOGO beers from the brewery, 4550 South Reservoir Road in Centennial, while wheeling and dealing with other glassware collectors for trades. And if you just want to surreptitiously thin out your collection by passing out pint glasses left and right? We won't judge. Details are up on the brewery's Facebook page.
Tuesday, January 16
Denver Raconteur, our Best New Storytelling Event of 2017, hits the stage on Tuesday, January 16, at Ratio Beerworks. The taproom at 2920 Larimer Street will host three narrators — a roller-derby athlete, a ballet dancer and a circus performer — telling their stories of physical prowess (and perhaps failure) at 7 p.m. After the featured speakers have their say, you, drinker of ales and teller of tales, will have three minutes to regale the audience with a story of your own physicality. Find more details about the free event at Ratio's Facebook page, and if you're struck by the urge to share, learn more at Denver Raconteur's website.
Wednesday, January 17
Comal, 3455 Ringsby Court, is mostly known for Mexican lunches (its namesake wood-fired steel griddle squats impressively just outside the restaurant), but on Fridays the restaurant and culinary training program offers Syrian food to customers. If you haven't made a Friday lunch yet, you may want to make a reservation for one of Comal's rare dinners on Wednesday, January 17. The Middle East-inspired six-course meal is the first of the eatery's charitable Impact Dinners; expect foie gras with blood oranges, squid-ink agnolotti with octopus, local halal lamb, and poached pears in phyllo, all with wine pairings. Proceeds from this meal will benefit Focus Points — a community development organization that offers school readiness, adult education, health and wellness, and workforce training programs — and Prodigy Coffeehouse, which hires at-risk Denver youth. Get your tickets (a bargain at $65) at eventbrite.com.
If there's any reason to voluntarily drive down Brighton Boulevard these days, a great cocktail has to be it. Mister Tuna to the rescue: The restaurant, 3033 Brighton Boulevard, rolls out its Behind the Bar series on Wednesday, January 17. Once a month, legendary bartenders from around town will take over the taps, creating a one-night-only drink menu and soundtrack for the evening. This month, Levi Yockey of Table 6 and Los Chingones will be brandishing the booze, and a portion of the evening's proceeds will be donated to String of Pearls, an organization offering support to parents whose children have been given a fatal prenatal diagnosis.
Thursday, January 18
Fans of sour and wild beers have found kindred spirits in Anthony Lopiccolo and John Fayman, who opened their temple to tartness, Goed Zuur, 2801 Welton Street, less than a year ago. The sour-only beer bar will team up with Paradox Beer Co. to tap four brews at 6 p.m. on Thursday, January 18: Komet Citra, a dry-hopped sour blend; Cherry Crisp, a cherry wild ale; Rosé Is Bae, a wine-barrel-aged sour with Sangiovese grapes; and Piña Cielo, a tepache-inspired sour golden fermented on pineapple and cinnamon. So if you don't want to make the drive to Divide to imbibe some of Paradox's delicious and unique beers, just hop on the L line to Five Points. Find out more at Goed Zuur's Facebook page.
Roaming Buffalo Bar-B-Que hit the ground running when it opened three years ago; we immediately fell hard for its Colorado ’cue and have named it Denver's best barbecue for the past two years. On Thursday, January 18, owners Coy and Rachael Webb will celebrate their smokehouse's three-year anniversary by smoking a whole hog and releasing their Bear Creek Gold BBQ sauce — a mustard sauce aged three months in a Bear Creek Distillery Rye Whiskey barrel. And because Roaming Buffalo has many, many more fans than can fit in its modest storefront, the party will take place at Bear Creek Distillery, 1879 South Acoma Street. The fun runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m., and we advise you to get there early, as the meat always runs out.
Friday, January 19
If you're still bitter you didn't make it to the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival earlier this month, take heart. Colorado Plus Brew Pub, 6995 West 38th Avenue, is hosting a miniature (and much more manageable) version of the event at its Big Barrel-Aged Beer Festival on Friday, January 19. While the format is a bit different than most fests — beers are priced individually — there will be plenty to choose from: Bull and Bush's Barrel-Aged Man Beer, Crooked Stave's Nightmare on Brett and Avery's Samael will all be on hand. The brews will be available all day, and doors open at 11 a.m., so you can start drinking before noon, take a break for some grub, rinse and repeat. Find a complete list of beers at the taproom's Facebook page.
Keep reading for more food and drink events worth planning ahead for.
Thursday, January 25
Host Padma Lakshmi might be the most recognizable face on Bravo's Top Chef, but we think Gail Simmons has the better job — she gets to eat (and judge) the food in a no-nonsense manner without having to deliver awkward sexual innuendo. After fifteen seasons on the show, Simmons recently penned Bringing It Home: Recipes From a Life of Adventurous Eating, and will be hosting a dinner at Frasca on Thursday, January 25, that showcases recipes from the cookbook. Diners will get a five-course dinner with wine pairings and an autographed copy of Bringing It Home for $160 (a veritable bargain at the Boulder restaurant); seatings start at 5 p.m. Call Frasca, 1738 Pearl Street, at 303-442-6966 to reserve your seat for a dinner with true foodie royalty.
Friday, February 9
Lunar New Year isn't until February 16, but why wait to celebrate the Year of the Dog (obviously the best year)? The Nathan Yip Foundation, which funds educational projects for children in rural Colorado and China, is putting on the dog at the biggest Chinese New Year bash in town on Friday, February 9. From 6 to 11 p.m., three floors of the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, will be transformed into a Chinese night market; from the traditional (lion dancers, calligraphers, fortunetellers) to the modern (silent disco, karaoke), revelers will be treated to pawsome entertainment while wining and dining at mastiff food stations and enjoying the open bar(k). Tickets are $100 for those under 35 (called "young professionals" tickets) and $225 for everyone else; fetch yours at nathanyipfoundation.org and get ready to party your tail off.
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Sunday, February 18, and Monday, February 19
If you love cured meats — and we mean really, really love cured meats — you know who Brian Polcyn is. The George Clooney of salumi, James Beard Award nominee and author of Charcuterie and Salumi is coming to Denver on Sunday, February 18, and Monday, February 19, to teach a two-day charcuterie and whole-animal butchery course. The class will be held at Il Porcellino, 4334 West 41st Avenue, starting at 9 a.m. both days. And while this course isn't for the casual learner (Polcyn will cover topics like European vs. American butchery and how to purchase and break down whole animals and still turn a profit) or the squeamish (a whole pig will be used for demonstration), it's a unique opportunity for chefs and serious hobbyists. See Polcyn's Facebook page for more details.
Friday, February 23
Gentle readers who still get bent out of shape that Westword covers Boulder as well as Denver: CineCHEF 2018 is the event for you. The event's fourth iteration happens on Friday, February 23, 2018, at Rembrandt Yard, 1301 Spruce Street in Boulder, when Boulder chefs face off against Denver chefs to prove who can create the tastiest, most creative bite based on a beloved film. Last year's roster included Daniel Asher of River and Woods serving smoked scallops, ceviche and Peruvian chile in an homage to Up in Smoke, and Steven Redzikowski of Oak at Fourteenth tapping Mia Wallace to hand out miniature burgers and a $5 shake à la Pulp Fiction. Tickets, $95, are on sale now at ticketfly.com and include admission to the film Michelin Stars: Tales From the Kitchen. So, gentle readers, etc., purchase your tickets and start planning the long and dangerous trip up to The Town That Totally Isn't Part of Denver to support your hometown heroes as they compete in hostile territory.
If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to email@example.com.