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The Seven Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week — and More Later

Colfax Avenue: the hottest new food neighborhood in the country.EXPAND
Colfax Avenue: the hottest new food neighborhood in the country.
Danielle Lirette
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This week starts off right, with National Tequila Day on Monday. After enjoying libations from south of the border, you can go on a culinary tour of other global hot spots: Champagne, Tokyo, West Colfax Avenue. Here are seven exciting food and drink events from July 24 through July 28, and a few more to start planning for.

There's much, much more to tequila than margs.EXPAND
There's much, much more to tequila than margs.
Courtesy of Lola Coastal Mexican

Monday, July 24
Everyone loves tequila — or at least they should. We're not talking about Cuervo (the fact that a song about the brand hit numbernone on the country charts in 1983 should tell you all you need to know about it). We're talking about smoky, smooth, peppery, delicious tequila, and Lola Coastal Mexican, 1575 Boulder Street, is celebrating National Tequila Day on Monday, July 24, with deals on the delicious Mexican dram. Neat tequila pours are half price, and tasters range from $1 to $3. Doors open at 4 p.m. Raise a copita and say salud!

Tuesday, July 25
You've been on a bar crawl, of course, but what about a restaurant crawl? Tasty Colfax is here to help you out with that. For $25, you'll be able to wander through a plethora of breweries, bars and bistros on Colfax Avenue between York Street and Colorado Boulevard, sampling bites and beverages left and right. Participating restaurants include Atomic Cowboy and Denver Biscuit Company, Humble Pie, Fat Sully's, Mezcal, Southside Bar Kitchen and To the Wind Bistro. The crawl (which may literally become a crawl as you become weighed down with food) runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25. Find tickets at nightout.com.

Scott Mattson is a man of many talents. In addition to never forgetting a face or a name, the co-owner of Nocturne, 1330 27th Street, is also a certified sommelier, and he's playing professor at Champagne School. The three-class series starts Tuesday, July 25, and continues on the last Tuesday of each month, culminating in a Champagne dinner on Sunday, October 29. Students will sample four bubblies from 6 to 7 p.m. while learning about the region, as well as rosé and grower Champagne. Appetizers are included, and if you're a good student, you'll be invited to stay after class and listen to music free of charge (don't miss the chance to take advantage of the bar's excellent cocktails in the gorgeous space). Classes are $20 and the dinner is $80, but space is limited and going fast. Enroll at instantseats.com.

Wednesday, July 26
Cheese + Provisions loves its neighborhood, so as any good resident does, it's throwing an old-fashioned summer block party on Wednesday, July 26 — except that this one is a Cheese Block Party, naturally. From 1 to 4 p.m., cheese makers Uplands Cheese Company, Baetje Farms and local favorite Haystack Creamery will set up in the shop's courtyard, 2432 West 44th Avenue, to hand out samples and talk to other dairy enthusiasts. Artisan food producers Jojo's Sriracha and Elevation Charcuterie will also be on hand. As with any good neighborhood party, all are welcome, and there's no charge. Meet your neighbors! Eat some cheese!

Thursday, July 27
Some people like to know a bit about what they're drinking, and while we're fine pounding rosé on a patio while smoking cigarettes, if you want to make more of an effort, try Hotel Teatro's Why We Love Rosé: A Tasting. The enological education takes place at the Study, the hotel's lounge at 1100 14th Street, on Thursday, July 27, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Guests will sample at least three rosés while nibbling on bites from the Nickel and learning about the variety of production and serving methods from different winemaking regions. The hotel's monthly Study Programming workshops are a bargain at just $20 (you know you'd spend more than that on one glass of halfway decent wine and a pack of American Spirits); check out Facebook for details and tickets.

Departure, 249 Columbine Street, is honoring its geographical roots with its Compass Dinner Series. But don't worry: The restaurant isn't paying homage to the cuisine of Cherry Creek North (California Pizza Kitchen, anyone?). These dinners will focus on Asia, the inspiration for much of chef Gregory Gourdet's menu. The first in the series starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 27, and focuses on Tokyo. Expect nine courses (smoked scallop chawanmushi, a savory Japanese custard and grilled eel are on the menu), and while the beverage pairings are optional, there's no way we could resist the evening's cocktail list, which is made from a global mash-up of ingredients: rice whiskey, yuzu wine, beer hailing from Japan, and Glenmorangie whisky from Scotland. Dinner and drinks will run you $138 ($98 for food alone); call 720-772-5020 for reservations. Future installments in the series will include Thailand and Vietnam.

Summer Brew Fest 2016.EXPAND
Summer Brew Fest 2016.
Danielle Lirette.

Friday, July 28
Denver can't go a week without a beer festival — literally. This week's installment comes at you courtesy of the Summer Beer Fest, which runs Friday, July 28, and Saturday, July 29, from 7 to 10 p.m. both days at Mile High Station, 2027 West Colfax Avenue. More than forty breweries will be pouring each day, and while there's naturally some overlap, you'll want to look at denverbrewfest.com for a complete lineup of brewers for the two sessions; for instance, notable West Coast outfit Anderson Valley Brewing Co. will only be there on Friday, and Colorado-based Elevation Beer Co. will be in the house Saturday. Tickets range from $35 (GA) to $45 (VIP) and must be purchased separately for each day at eventbrite.com.

Keep reading for future events...and how to get tickets before they run out.

Thursday, August 3
What's the best burger in Denver? It's an eternal question (and a very, very personal one — wars have been fought over less) and one that will likely never be solved, as hard as the Denver Burger Battle tries. But that doesn't mean you should skip the show on Thursday, August 3. The Tivoli Quad, 900 Auraria Parkway, will host sixteen competitors, ranging from classic local burger joints like My Brother's Bar and the Cherry Cricket to newcomers on the Denver dining scene (Departure, Concourse). You'll get unlimited burgers, drinks and desserts from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. for $70 (and early admission at 5:30 p.m. if you pony up $125), but tickets are going fast. Get yours at denverburgerbattle.com.

Saturday, August 5
You can't drink all day if you don't start before noon. You'd think Sesh Fest would embrace this philosophy, but alas, the low-alcohol beer festival (all beers on tap will be 5 percent ABV or less) doesn't start until 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 5. We predict you'll still get your fill of beer, though, since it runs until 6:30 p.m. Some of our favorite breweries (Baere, TRVE, Ratio and Ska) will be there, and beer pong and cornhole will take over the lawn at the Highland Masonic Center, 3550 North Federal Boulevard. Ticket prices range from $24 to $30 per person, depending on how many fellow beer drinkers you can rustle up to accompany you (ticket packages of six or more ensure early entry). Head over to seshfest.com for details and tickets.

Fancy pancakes: a brunch staple.
Fancy pancakes: a brunch staple.
Danielle Lirette

Sunday, August 27
Denver loves its brunch, there's no doubt about it. Now there's a festival that brings the mid-morning meal to the next level: Denver BrunchFest. The Sunday, August 27, event takes everything iconic about brunching — the mimosas, the Bloody Marys, the endless waiting in epic lines, the plates weighed down by mountains of carbs — and transports it all to Civic Center Park, where $65 will get you three hours of unlimited bites and bottomless drinks. And good news, brunchers: The event starts at 11 a.m. so you can sleep in a bit. Tickets are available at eventbrite.com.

Tuesday, September 5 through Sunday, September 10
Denver Food + Wine Festival is more than a month away, but if you're considering hitting any of the events this year, it's worth planning ahead. Early-bird tickets are now on sale, promising savings of $10 to $50 dollars, depending on what whets your appetite. And there are happenings for everyone, from the Culinary Cinema Series screening a film about barbecue to the Riedel Wine Glass Seminar (how very bougie of you) to the Grand Tasting and more. Take a look at denverfoodandwine.com for a complete schedule and tickets.

See the Westword calendar for even more food and drink events. Know of an event that belongs here? E-mail cafe@westword.com.

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