It's almost all beer, all the time this week as the Great American Beer Fest floats into town on a river of lavender RyePAs and session Imperial saisons. But you do have alternatives to the GABF: Many spots around town are holding their own beery events, and some are even skipping the beer to focus on food. Here are seven events to savor this week:
Monday, October 2
If you're trying to escape Denver entirely before the madness that is GABF week consumes it, head to Boulder. Frasca Food and Wine, 1738 Pearl Street, is serving a wine dinner on Monday, October 2, with libations from Joseph Swan Vineyards. The California producer was one of the forerunners of the state's wine industry, producing its first vintage in 1968. Settle in for four courses and some old-school West Coast wines for $105 ($55 if you're the designated driver). Make your reservation (dinner starts at 5:30 p.m.) by calling 303-442-6966.
Tuesday, October 3
The Den brothers are throwing a party, and you'll want to add it to your social calendar. On Tuesday, October 3, and Wednesday, October 4, the roof of the parking garage at the corner of South Pearl Street and East Florida Avenue will turn into a veritable Japanese street fair from 5 to 9 p.m. Not only will Toshi and Yasu Kizaki be providing food from Sushi Den, Izakaya Den and Ototo, but they've called on twenty of their Japanese chef friends to hop the pond and lend their talents to the rooftop party. Expect ramen, yakisoba noodles, the hard-to-find-in-Denver okonomiyaki, yakiniku (Japanese barbecue) and lots, lots more. Tickets are $75 and include three drinks (additional beverages will be available for purchase). And this party is for a good cause (or three) — proceeds benefit hurricanes Irma (the Miami Foundation) and Harvey (Target Hunger) relief efforts in Florida and Texas, as well as earthquake relief efforts in Kumamoto, Japan, the hosts' hometown. As with every party the Kizakis host, this will be a blowout; check out sushiden.net/rooftop for details and tickets.
Wednesday, October 4
Matt and Carrie Stein's unpretentious seafood restaurant, Chowder Room, 560 South Broadway, is joining the Great American Beer Festival fun on Wednesday, October 4, at 6 p.m. with its eight-course beer dinner. Great Divide Brewing will provide the drinks, and reps will be on hand to talk about the pairings and answer questions. Unlike many GABF events, this will be a civilized evening — no rushing the bar to be the first to get that hip new pour, no beard-to-beard standing room only crowds crammed into a too-small, too-hot space, just the Steins' easy, genuine hospitality, and a great dinner that will leave you feeling nourished and ready to take on the rest of the fest. Call the restaurant, 303-777-3474, to reserve your seat ($75).
Alex Seidel is taking advantage of all the brewers in town to entice three of the best in the country to team up for the third annual Mercantile Invitational (otherwise known as a beer dinner). Mercantile Dining & Provision, 1701 Wynkoop Street, will host Trillium Brewing Company, Russian River Brewing Company and Sante Adairius Rustic Ales on Wednesday, October 4 at 6:30 p.m. for a five-course dinner. Who's cooking, you may ask? The chef lineup isn't too shabby, either; it includes Seidel, John Tesar (of Element Kitchen + Cocktail and Knife), Kevin Nashan (The Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.) and Cesar Pita (Rancho Pescadero). Dinner, $150, includes tax and tip, and you can reserve your seat by calling 720-460-3733 or emailing email@example.com.
Thursday, October 5
Conscious Alliance is known for collecting food donations at concerts across the country, but on Thursday, October 5, you can help the nonprofit tackle hunger relief close to home. Blackbelly and Conscious Alliance are teaming up to bring the fourth annual Art That Feeds Harvest Celebration to eTown Hall, 1535 Spruce Street in Boulder, where restaurants including River and Woods, Pizzeria Locale and Arcana will serve small plates alongside an open bar. The event runs from 6 to 9:30 p.m., but VIP ticket holders will be welcomed at 5 p.m., additional bites and cocktails (including food from Hosea Rosenberg's upcoming New Mexican eatery, Santo), and a meet-and-greet with, and private performance by, musical guest Tennis. Get your tickets, $125 or $225, at consciousalliance.org.
Friday, October 6
Each spring, people across the nation get their knickers in a twist about the Academy Awards, but be honest: How much do those starlets in their shiny outfits really impact you? Where are the awards for something that has a profound effect on your everyday life — like, say, cheese? The American Cheese Society crowned the best of the best in July, and on Friday, October 6, Cheese + Provisions, 2432 West 44th Avenue, will host a tasting of the 2017 Cheese Oscars winners. Eight gold-medalists (including the top three winners that aren't usually available in Colorado) will be paired with wine from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets, $50, are available at cheeseandprovisions.com. Can't make it this Friday? Mark your calendar for an encore presentation on Friday, October 20.
Sunday, October 8
Earn your Sunday morning pig-out at the fourth annual bRUNch Run 5k + 10k on Sunday, October 8. Show up at Stapleton Central Park, 8801 Martin Luther King Boulevard, at 9:30 a.m. to run the distance of your choice, then cross the finish line triumphantly — and immediately fall face first into a vat of pancakes. Just kidding, but you will finish the race at a festival where Quality Italian, Interstate Kitchen & Bar, Hi*Rise and Sunshine Bowls will be serving the best meal of the week. Thirsty after the race? Head straight for the Bloody Mary and mimosa bars, or grab a beer from Great Divide. Race registration ranges from $55 to $65; access to just the festival is $30 at brunchrunning.com. Pro tip: The festival ends at noon, so the faster you run, the more time you have to brunch.
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Friday, October 13
Everyone knows that fall is the season for heavier things — sweaters, socks and drinks. One of our favorite fall and winter pastimes (and make no mistake, winter is coming) is enjoying a generous pour of whiskey and a cigar by a crackling fireplace. Bonus points if there's a bear-skin rug on the floor. So prepare for the season by tasting and testing a wealth of whiskeys at The WhiskyX on Friday, October 13, from 7 to 10 p.m. Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, 7711 East Academy Boulevard, will host more than fifty whiskeys, and VIP ticket holders will have access to food from premier Denver chefs Elise Wiggins (Cattivella), Jennifer Jasinski (Ultreia, Euclid Hall, Rioja, etc.) and Paul C. Reilly (Beast + Bottle and Coperta). Tickets ($75 or $125) are on sale now at thewhiskyx.com.
Sunday, October 15
Mark your calendars: Westword's annual celebration of Denver's dining scene is moving inside and uptown. On Sunday, October 15, Feast will fill the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, with more than forty eateries that are favorites of Westword writers and readers; they'll be serving a wealth of nibbles that you can wash down with unlimited drink samples from Feast's liquor sponsors. Get more information and tickets at westwordfeast.com.
Sunday, October 15, through Thursday, October 19
Nights are getting cooler — you may have even broken out your fall quilt already. That means it's the perfect time to start planning for EatDenver's 2017 Harvest Week. This year, the week of dinners will highlight two to three farms per night, representing five of Colorado’s farming regions. The lineup: October 15, Western Slope; October 16, Front Range; October 17, Eastern Plains; October 18, Four Corners; October 19, Urban Farm. All dinners are at the GrowHaus, 4751 York Street, which transforms from an industrial urban farm into a suprisingly twinkly and comfortable dinner venue. Tickets, $85, are now on sale at harvestweek.com.