What an educational weekend Denver has in store for you, the intrepid seeker of culinary knowledge! Choose from a seminar on surf-and-turf, a tea school, a cheese conference and a Peruvian festival; you're sure to learn something new if you just apply yourself. And if you're not the studious type, fear not: We've got less intellectually taxing events — paella, a pig roast and a 5K race — on the curriculum as well. Here are seven events from Friday, July 28, through Sunday, July 30, plus a few more further out.
Friday, July 28
So you're planning a last-minute weekend in the mountains but also need to finish that thinkpiece on food politics ASAP — what's a lifestyle blogger to do? Kill two birds with one stone at Eat. Drink. Think. Good Food Talks 2.0 in Crested Butte on Friday, July 28, and Saturday, July 29. As part of the Crested Butte Food & Wine Festival, the panel discussion includes chefs Jennifer Jasinski, Alex Seidel and Kelly Whitaker alongside representatives from the mountain farming community, who will be exploring issues around seafood and meat. Tickets are just $5 for each seminar at Center for the Arts Crested Butte, 606 Sixth Street, and you'll have your choice of two days — Friday or Saturday — from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the event website.
Who says nothing fun ever happens in the suburbs? Lots of people, actually — but forget those naysayers for a moment and focus on the positive. Maggie Smith's Irish Pub, at 6631 South Peoria Street in Centennial, is hosting a free pig roast on Friday, July 28, at 7 p.m. Go down south for a taste of the cuisine the Irish are best known for — pork — and a beer from a surprisingly New World-centered beer list. Sorry, Professor McGonagall has neither confirmed nor denied her attendance.
Saturday, July 29
Bonacquisti Wine Company is hewing closer to its culinary origins with a Paella Party on Saturday, July 29 (at least it got the continent correct, if not the country). From 4 to 7 p.m., the outdoor shindig will be offering portions of the rice-based dish for $10 and pours of white and red sangria as well as Bonacquisti Spanish Red for just $5. Though we can't imagine anyone not being a fan of this fragrant, chorizo- and mussel-stuffed meal, the winery will also be offering small plates for those with daintier appetites.
It's back to (tea) school time! Teatulia's Tea Bar, 2900 Zuni Street, continues its curriculum with Preserving With Tea on Saturday, July 29, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Since peaches are in season, students will be pickling peaches, using tea as a primary flavor component. Just $25 pays for the ninety-minute class, and aspiring preservation prodigies will leave with a jar of peaches, tea samples and recipes. RSVP at Teatulia's Facebook page or by calling 303-573-0710.
There are two types of people in the world: those who believe in balancing diet and fitness, and those who believe the most important culinary balancing skill is holding a wine glass on one knee while using a plastic knife and fork to cut a T-bone steak that's soaking through a paper plate perched on the other. For the first type of person, we present the Fit Foodie Festival & 5K/10K. Starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 29, you can choose from two race distances; both provide bites at each mile marker, drinks at the finish line and access to a beer and wine garden after the race (or before — we don't judge). Registration fees range from $45 to $55 and include a donation to No Kid Hungry. The run takes place at Westminster City Park, 10455 Sheridan Boulevard in Westminster; see the event website for registration details and race routes.
Denver has a secret that’s ripe for discovery: The American Cheese Society is headquartered right here in town. That means that when the ACS decides to throw a party, the best cheesemakers in the country will descend on Denver with wheels and wedges of their finest dairy products. On Saturday, July 29, the organization is hosting the Festival of Cheese as part of its three-day Cheese With Altitude industry conference. The good news is that, unlike most conference activities, the Festival of Cheese is open to the public. For $65, you’ll gain admission to the Colorado Convention Center, 700 14th Street, at 7 p.m., where you’ll find more than 2,000 cheeses along with other food and beverages to complement the cheese-tasting experience: chocolate, cured meats, cider and craft beer, to name a few. Sample to your heart’s content, but take notes so you’ll remember your favorites, because once you’re done with the festival, there’s also the ACS Cheese Sale, where you can buy cheese to enjoy at home from an array of award-winning artisan producers. Tickets for the cheesy affair can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com; proceeds from sales at the event will go toward the American Cheese Education Foundation.
Sunday, July 30
Celebrate nearly two centuries of Peruvian independence from Spain at the Fifth Annual Peruvian Independence Festival on Sunday, July 30. Columbus Park, 1500 West 39th Avenue, will become a hotbed of Peruvian culture, with plenty of live music and dancing (reggaetón, salsa and cumbia, among others) as well as cuisine from the South American country. Expect anticuchos (skewers of marinated beef heart) and ceviche, but sadly, cuy probably won't be on the menu — so you won't be able get your first taste of guinea pig. The free festival kicks off at 9 a.m. and runs until 8 p.m., so you can sample all the culture you can handle. For more information, see the event website.
Keep reading for more food and drink events beyond July 30.
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 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). Go to seshfest.com for details and tickets.
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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
The 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.