This weekend is all about chiles, crawfish, capture the flag and chihuahua pups (no, no one's serving small Mexican dogs for dinner). Keep reading to find out the details of the eight best events on the culinary calendar from Friday, April 27, through Sunday, April 29.
Friday, April 27
If you love spicy food, but your attempts at cooking it land more on the side of tuna noodle casserole than chicken vindaloo, get over to Savory Spice Shop, 1537 Platte Street, for a primer on chiles. From 4 to 4:45 p.m. on Friday, April 27, you'll learn the basics of capsicums in this free class. And don't worry if you can't stand the heat; there's much more to peppers than the tongue-searingly hot varieties — think sweet and smoky as well as spicy. To demonstrate how well chiles accompany all flavor profiles, you'll get a sample of the shop's Salted Guajillo Butterscotch Sauce. Visit Savory's Facebook page for details, then RSVP by calling 303-477-3322.
Saturday, April 28
If you don't know your farmhouse beer from your Flemish reds or your Westvleteren from your witbier — or even if you do — get a mouthful of ale and education at Bruz Beer's second Belgian Brew Fest on Saturday, April 28. Tickets, $48, are on sale at belgianbrewfest.com, and will get you unlimited tastes of Belgian-style beer from local breweries Paradox Beer Co., River North Brewery, Crooked Stave, Bruz and more. Brewery Ommegang will also be venturing out west to join the day of dubbels, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m. at the taproom, 1675 West 67th Avenue.
Look back (way, way back, for some of us) to your elementary school days. Specifically, look back to Field Day, that springtime tradition where the natural athletes of the world reigned supreme and the rest of us got participation ribbons. Field Day could only be improved by beer, right? That's the idea behind Call To Arms Brewing's Tennyson Street Field Day Rumpus on April 28. Live music, a 4K race, dodge ball and relay races are on the agenda at the taproom, 4526 Tennyson Street. Those naturally fit kids? Here's hoping they'll be palpably impaired by the beer, but even if they remain the fittest in class, the rest of us still have our ale. The fun starts at noon and runs until 9 p.m.; visit the brewery's Facebook page for details, a complete schedule, and race registration.
Sunday, April 29
Brunch people truly are a different breed. While the non-brunchers of the world sleep off their hangovers, brunchers tough it out bright and early to get some hair of the dog. But even those who'd rather sleep in than slurp on a Bloody Mary will make it out of bed for some literal dogs — which is what you'll see at Hotel Teatro's Puppy Brunch on Sunday, April 29. From 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., little guys from Lifeline Puppy Rescue will be an adorable addition to the lobby at 1140 14th Street; a donation of $5 or more gets you cuddle time with the squirmy pups, as well as a free mimosa from The Nickel. Find more info at Lifeline's Facebook page, where you can also find all sorts of animals who need a loving home.
It's not often that mezcal gets passed around at a two year old's birthday party, but that's the kind of mocoso Palenque Mezcaleria is. Our favorite mezcal merchant in town turns two on Sunday, April 29, and it's celebrating with a patio party at 1294 South Broadway from noon to 6 p.m., where there will be free agave spirit tastings and $5 drink specials. Older sibling Adelitas happens to be turning five the same weekend, and is crashing the party with $5 Mexican barbecue and a mariachi band from 1 to 4 p.m. Details are up on Palenque's Facebook page.
The world is full of great rivalries: Broncos vs. Raiders, Aaron Burr vs. Alexander Hamilton, Roadrunner vs. Wile E. Coyote, and, of course, East vs. West and Denver vs. Boulder. The latter two will be decided definitively on Sunday, April 29, with Rumble in the Rockies. The Riverside, 1724 Broadway in Boulder, will host an Iron Chef-style cook-off, with a team representing Boulder and Western cuisine (helmed by Arcana's Kyle Mendenhall) facing off against chefs from Denver repping Eastern cuisine (led by Ryan Gorby of Cho77). Starting at 2 p.m., each team will have an hour to prepare two dishes, after which they will be tasted and judged by audience members and professional eaters alike. After the showdown, you'll be treated to a screening of the Chinese comedy Cook Up a Storm, which depicts the eternal battle between good and evil ... er, street food and fine dining. Find out more and buy your ticket, $30, at the event's Facebook page. Dinner and a movie was never this dramatic.
Bar and restaurant owners looking for vendors need look no further than the Colorado Bar and Restaurant Expo on Sunday, April 29. From 4 to 6:30 p.m., The Cowboy Lounge, 1941 Market Street, is hosting wholesalers, alcohol and equipment suppliers, lawyers, designers and more. Tickets are just $5 and entitle you to unlimited apps and new test products; pick up yours at the Expo's website.
End the weekend in mellow fashion at Blackbelly, 1606 Conestoga Street in Boulder, for a good old-fashioned crawfish boil. On Sunday, April 29, from 4 to 7 p.m., the butcher shop and New Mexican eatery Santo are teaming up on a party that will include food from both restaurants, Louisiana crawdads, a full bar, silent auction and raffle. The event, $60, will raise funds for a kitchen employee faced with substantial medical bills; get your ticket or make a donation at the Showclix website.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
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Thursday, May 24
The fight is on! No, it's not a cockfight (though there will certainly be some of that, especially after all the whiskey is consumed), it's Chicken Fight!, Denver's celebration of fried yardbird. From 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, the pecking order will be established as Birdcall, Injoi Korean Kitchen, The Post, Au Feu and more go head to head. River North Festival Grounds, 3715 Chestnut Place, hosts the unlimited food and drink fest (so plan ahead, as the second-most hotly contested death match will be for parking); tickets will run you $69 to $125 at the Chicken Fight! website.
Friday, September 14, through Sunday, September 16
You've got to be wildly optimistic to make plans for a weekend six months away, but sometimes the event merits the commitment. Such is the case with the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival. There's beer, blues and incredible views, yes, but there's also the six-hour drive from Denver, not to mention the challenge of finding accommodations that won't have you wailing like an old drunk who's out of hooch and whose woman took his dog and left. The festival runs from Friday, September 14, through Sunday, September 16, with more than fifty breweries pouring at the Grand Tasting on Saturday, September 15. Three-day festival, camping and late-night show passes are on sale now ($30 to $200), and single-day tickets ($70 to $75) go on sale June 13 on the festival's website. Don't wait to make your purchase: VIP and RV camping passes are already sold out.
Watch for our weekend culinary calendar on Friday. If you know of a date that should be on these calendars, send information to email@example.com.