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The Six Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Enjoy unlimited beer (and not just from Left Hand) at Hops and Handrails.EXPAND
Enjoy unlimited beer (and not just from Left Hand) at Hops and Handrails.
Courtesy of Left Hand Brewing
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Obviously, gentle reader, you appreciate the finer things in life — say, a vintage glass of wine, enjoyed with friends in a refined restaurant. Too bad, because nothing that genteel is happening this weekend. Instead, you'll be pairing your beer with professional wrestling, your ales with handrails and your pints with puppies. Here are six of the best down-and-dirty food and drink events in Denver over the next few days.

Rackhouse Pub becomes a wrestling ring on Friday, March 23.EXPAND
Rackhouse Pub becomes a wrestling ring on Friday, March 23.
Danielle Lirette

Friday, March 23
If you binged your way through Netflix's GLOW in a weekend — or if you're old enough to harbor nostalgic fondness for Mt. Fiji and Babe the Farmer's Daughter — and haven't been able to scratch that wrestling itch since then, you're in luck. Rocky Mountain Pro Wresting is bringing the ring to Rackhouse Pub, 2875 Blake Street, with Brews and Bodyslams on Friday, March 23. The $10 admission ($15 at the door) entitles spectators to two-for-one drink specials as well as up-close views of moonsaults, masks, makeup and muscle busters. The choreography kicks off at 9 p.m.; get your ticket at eventbrite.com before Matilda the Hun takes you out.

Don't forget your pretzels at Hops and Handrails.EXPAND
Don't forget your pretzels at Hops and Handrails.
Brandon Marshall

Saturday, March 24
If you think you're the next Chloe Kim or you like beer (only one of those is likely), you won't want to miss Hops and Handrails, the mashup of beer festival and snowboard competition that's entering its sixth year. This year, more than sixty breweries will converge on Longmont's Roosevelt Park, 700 Longs Peak Avenue, where they'll be pouring over 150 beers on Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25. The suds start flowing at noon both days, with a ski and board competition on Saturday afternoon and family-friendly sledding on Sunday afternoon. Spring for the VIP pass and you'll get early entry at 11 a.m. plus the opportunity to sit in a hot tub with a bunch of strangers in between beers. Get advance tickets (ranging from $10 to $125) at lhbfoundation.org, as prices go up the day of the event.

Persian New Year isn't just celebrated in Iran, and it doesn't just go by one name (transliteration makes the spelling a little tricky). We wrote about Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse's Navruz dinner last week; this week, those who didn't make it to that celebration have a second opportunity to enjoy the holiday at the inaugural International Nawroz Festival on Saturday, March 24, at the Evie Garrett Dennis Campus, 4800 Telluride Street. This gathering of Iranians, Afghans, Tajiks, Albanians, Baha'is and Zoroastrians represents the cultural and religious diversity of the holiday that's celebrated across the Middle East, central and western Asia and the Balkans. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., there will be music, dancing, poetry readings and food to mark the occasion. Admission to this unique event is just $10; find out more on the event's Facebook page.

It's the weekend, so we know you were planning on dressing up like a cat at some point — because we do it, too! Why not exercise your feline fetish in public by joining the Cat Crawl, a purr-fect time to explore the bars of Capitol Hill while donating to a good cause on Saturday, March 24. Get your $20 ticket in advance at eventbrite.com, then show up in your best kitty costume at 8 p.m. at Bang Up to the Elephant (1310 Pearl Street). Additional stops include Kinga's, X-Bar and Blush & Blu; free drinks at each bar are included in the price of the ticket, as well as specials on additional drinks (which means you won't have to slurp milk from a bowl). Your twenty bucks also goes toward Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue, which does not rescue drunk people in cat costumes — so plan your transportation in advance.

Chain Reaction's beers are not served potluck style — thank God.EXPAND
Chain Reaction's beers are not served potluck style — thank God.
Courtesy of Chain Reaction Facebook page

Sunday, March 25
Some people love potlucks: The community, the sharing, and the sense of friendship and connection leave them all warm and fuzzy. Others are more concerned with the community of bacteria lurking in that lukewarm casserole, the sharing of germs, the sense that your friend's cat might have been prowling around on their kitchen counter and nosing their mise en place while they were whipping up that dessert. If you're the second type, stop reading now, because Chain Reaction Brewing's Second Annual Mac and Cheese Off on Sunday, March 25, is the purest form of potluck: a food event bringing people who enjoy the same beers and sharing their home-cooked food together. Everyone loves macaroni and cheese, and that's what will be served. Just $10 will get you in the door (either as a competitor or a taster) from noon to 4 p.m., and prizes will be awarded for the three best gooey noodle dishes. The taproom, at 902 South Lipan Street, will also host live music, a sloppy Joe bar, cookies and a food truck, just in case you're still hungry after the mac attack. Find out more at the brewery's Facebook page.

It's officially spring, and the birds and the bees are heeding their animal instincts. It's not just avians and apians that are getting it on, though; so are canines, and that's why Moms and Mutts, a nonprofit animal rescue focusing on pregnant and nursing dogs, is holding an adoption event at Zuni Street Brewing on Sunday, March 25. From 2 to 5 p.m., moms and their litters will be at the brewery, 2355 West 29th Avenue, for adoption and just plain playtime, plus a buck will go to the rescue for every pint sold. Visit Zuni Street's Facebook page for details about the event and to see pictures of the adorable attendees (we see you, Augusto). Make sure you come ready to cuddle, and if you think you might be interested in taking home one of the woofs, make sure you complete an adoption application before you show up.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

Drink all the beers at Collaboration Fest.EXPAND
Drink all the beers at Collaboration Fest.
Danielle Lirette

Saturday, March 31
Imagine that old stalwart The Dating Game was still on the air. Imagine you went on it and didn't end up on a date with a serial killer; instead, you went out with a nice boy or girl and had to brew a beer together the first time you met. In a nutshell, that's the premise of Collaboration Fest. The beer festival has spent the past five years teaming up breweries and seeing what maniacal brews come from the partnership. This year, the fun is moving to bigger digs at the Hyatt Regency Denver, 650 15th Street, where on Saturday, March 31, you'll be able to imbibe creations from nearly 100 teams of brewers. Our most anticipated collabs? Local favorites Our Mutual Friend and TRVE Brewing Co., and Renegade Brewing Co. and French brewery Brasserie du Baril. The event runs from 4 to 7 p.m., though VIP ticket holders get in at 3 p.m. Get your ticket before the fest sells out at the Collaboration Fest website.

Put your game face on for High West Oyster Fest's oyster eating contest.EXPAND
Put your game face on for High West Oyster Fest's oyster eating contest.
Danielle Lirette

Wednesday, April 4
Just because we live in landlocked Colorado doesn't mean we can't enjoy quality oysters — sadly, it just means they cost a lot more. But the High West Oyster Fest hosted by Jax Fish House on Wednesday, April 4, is a great deal for anyone who enjoys the slippery little suckers, as the ticket price of $45 entitles you to drinks, a half-dozen of Jax's proprietary Emersum oysters, and bites from ten of the top fish houses around town, including Fish N Beer, Tammen's Fish Market, Stoic & Genuine, Wewatta Point and Lola Coastal Mexican. And if you can put together a team of four bivalve-loving buddies, you can compete in the oyster-eating competition (start practicing: the record is 147 oysters in two minutes). This shucker starts at 6 p.m. at Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street. Visit any Jax Fish House to purchase tickets, or get them online at the restaurant's website.

We'd pay $125 just for unlimited bites of Hinman's Bakery pies.EXPAND
We'd pay $125 just for unlimited bites of Hinman's Bakery pies.
Linnea Covington

Saturday, April 7
The chefs cooking at Chef's Table Colorado on Saturday, April 7, are Denver's best. Justin Brunson (Old Major), Elise Wiggins (Cattivella), Bill Minor (Il Porcellino), Goose Sorensen (Solera) and Zoe Deutsch (Hinman's Bakery) are just some of the talent showing up at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum, 7711 East Academy Boulevard, from 6 to 9 p.m. to dazzle you with unlimited bites and beverages to raise funds for Denver Urban Scholars, which provides mentoring and academic support for high-performing low-income students from middle school through college. Get your ticket, $125, at chefstableco.com, where you can find a full roster of participating chefs.

Dining Out for Life is a chance to give to Project Angel Heart while enjoying a great meal.EXPAND
Dining Out for Life is a chance to give to Project Angel Heart while enjoying a great meal.
Project Angel Heart

Thursday, April 26
The 24th annual Dining Out For Life is just around the corner. On Thursday, April 26, more than 230 Denver and Boulder restaurants and breweries will donate 25 percent of their sales to Project Angel Heart, an organization that prepares and delivers medically tailored meals to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses, so you can enjoy a great meal while doing a good deed. Plan ahead by making a reservation at one of the participating eateries, some of which will be donating a percentage of bar sales as well as food sales. Visit the Dining Out for Life website for a list of all restaurants taking part.

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. Early-bird tickets are currently on sale for $40 at belgianbrewfest.com, which 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. Note: Early-bird pricing has sold out, so the price of admission is now $48 — still a great price for all these brews.

If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to cafe@westword.com.

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