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The Four Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Christmas beer means Christmas cheer.
Christmas beer means Christmas cheer.
Courtesy of Alpine Dog Brewing

Happy holidays, foodlings. As we count down to Christmas morning, the days are short and filled with last-minute errands and familial obligations. But if you're an overachiever who has more time on your hands than items on your to-do list — or you're just opting out of Christmas craziness entirely — here are four food and drink events to enjoy from Friday, December 22, through Monday, December 25.

Friday, December 22
What would a wine expert tell you to pair with a Christmas roast, pecan pie or Brussels sprouts? (Answer: syrah, madeira, MD 20/20.) While we subscribe to the hedonist school of wine pairing — drink what you like with wanton disregard for the so-called rules — some of you may want to learn more about things like flavor profiles and enological tradition. If so, Uncorked Kitchen, 8171 South Chester Street in Centennial, is offering the Perfect Pair class on Friday, December 22. From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., you and your perfect partner will cook up a storm while you taste wine with each dish and listen to a sommelier describe how to choose the most complementary beverage for your bites. The menu is eclectic, boasting pad Thai and soy-and-miso salmon alongside Devils on Horseback and beef Bourguignon. Go to uncorkedkitchen.com to see the full class description and buy tickets ($210 per couple).

Saturday, December 23
We've been writing about last-minute shopping opportunities for you procrastinators for a while — and now you're really down to the wire. It's too late to have anything shipped (not even Amazon is omnipotent), so you'll have to leave the house to purchase your gifts. Luckily, The Source, 3350 Brighton Boulevard, will be hosting two pop-ups on Saturday, December 23, to help you out. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., dessert shop Spruce & Lark, the brainchild of former Black Eye Coffee pastry chef Alicia Clardie, will be selling holiday pies and cookies (ampersands are free with purchase). Also on site from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., homewares purveyor Yore will be offering a selection of products that's sure to include a wealth of cute potted succulents and clever tote bags. See eventbrite.com for more details, and get out there and get shopping, soldier!

Sunday, December 24
We've already rounded up some Christmas Eve dining and drinking options for you, but if you're looking for something less Norman Rockwell and way more bitchin', opt for Black Sky Brewery's Heavy Metal X-Mas Eve Brunch. On Sunday, December 24, the brewery at 490 Santa Fe Drive will open its doors at 11 a.m. with a brunch menu of smothered breakfast burritos, biscuits and gravy and cinnamon rolls (because Christmas=carbs), $3 mimosas and Bloody Marys, heavy-metal Christmas tunes and a white-elephant gift exchange. Details are up on Black Sky's Facebook page.

Alpine Dog Brewing has your Christmas Day craft-beer needs covered.
Alpine Dog Brewing has your Christmas Day craft-beer needs covered.
Courtesy of Alpine Dog Brewing

Monday, December 25
One of the most wonderful things about Denver is that no matter the weather, no matter the day, no matter what natural or man-made disaster is playing out, there will always be a craft brewery open and pouring suds somewhere in the city limits. On Monday, December 25, our pick is Alpine Dog Brewing, at 1505 Ogden Street. Alpine's doors will open at 11 a.m. for a full day of pints — and presents, in the form of two new beers: a rum-barrel-aged imperial porter with cacao nibs and vanilla beans, and a firkin of French Toast Red ale brewed with cinnamon, maple and vanilla. Get there early so you don't miss out (the firkin will be tapped at noon) and be prepared to enjoy the two most important (beer) meals of the day: breakfast and dessert. The brewery's Facebook page has more info.

Keep reading for noteworthy food and drink events in 2018.

2016 Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival.
2016 Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival.
Sarah Cowell

Saturday, January 6
If you only go to one beer festival in 2018, make it the Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines festival on Saturday, January 6. Yes, it's only six days into the year, but we guarantee there won't be any better event for fans of dark, sweet, spicy, malty, high-alcohol beers in the state. Over 120 breweries (Dogfish Head, Paradox, Duvel and Jester King among them) will be pouring suds from 2:30 to 6 p.m. at the Beaver Run Conference Center, 620 Village Road in Breckenridge, and for die-hard beer geeks (or pros), seminars earlier that morning are included in the $75 ticket price. Visit bigbeersfestival.com for a complete schedule of events through the weekend, and start planning for a weekend getaway as epic as the fest itself.

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 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 28, 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 cafe@westword.com.

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