With the arrival of 2019, people are looking for a fresh start. Whether it's buying a real beer in King Soopers for the first time, learning how to decorate cakes like a pro or inventing the newest addition to Snarf's sandwich menu, there are plenty of new things to do in the new year. Here are the best food and drink events over the next few days, plus more you'll want to put on your calendar. (And if you're still wondering what to do December 31, check out the options on our New Year's Eve list.)
Monday, December 31
As if the appearance of full-strength beer in Colorado grocery and convenience stores on January 1 isn't enough reason to welcome 2019, you can also send out 2018 with an equine engagement at the Colorado State Capitol. At 2 p.m. on Monday, December 31, the Budweiser Clydesdales will make an appearance at the Capitol's west steps (200 East Colfax Avenue) to celebrate the demise of the Prohibition-era laws that forced Coloradans to suffer through many a Sunday Broncos game drinking beer-flavored water. And if you want to get more up close and personal with Budweiser's best selling point (we don't know a beer-savvy Coloradan who'd rather drink a Bud than pet the ponies), you can show up at Argonaut Liquors, 700 East Colfax Avenue, on Wednesday, January 2, from 3 to 5 p.m. for a meet-and-greet and photo ops with the handsome fellows.
Tuesday, January 1
If you're the kind of person who responds to Facebook posts about where the best burger in town is with "My house!," it's time to stop boasting and put your money where your mouth is. On Tuesday, January 1, Snarf's Sandwiches is kicking off its Top Snarf contest, where you can submit up to three sandwich recipes through February 15. Finalists will be announced on February 25 and will get to attend a live judging event in March, where the winner will be awarded free sandwiches for a year and have their creation added as a secret menu item. So start your recipe testing (grilled cheese with miso paste? Shredded pork and mole? Peanut butter with roasted jalapeños? Actually, all ingredients must come from the eateries' current menu.) and submit your best effort at topsnarf.com for a shot at sandwich immortality.
Wednesday, January 2
December is over, and with it the endless opportunities for gingerbread house construction and holiday cookie decorating. So what's a baking junkie to do? There's no need to resign yourself to sitting alone in your dim kitchen as the winter grinds on and Christmas cheer is a distant memory — My Make Studio is hosting a Boozy Bottle Cake Class on Wednesday, January 2, that will scratch your itch for festive baking. The DIY studio at 6460 East Yale Avenue offers the class from 6 to 8 p.m.; you'll get all the materials (including a four- or six-inch cake) and learn fondant and piping techniques while creating a bottle that holds everyone's second-favorite indulgence. Register for the class ($55 or $75, depending on what size cake you choose) at mymakestudio.com and carry your good baking karma into the new year.
Thursday, January 3
This year, resolve to maximize your productivity during your inevitable Netflix binges by learning how to knit. Grandma's House (the brewery with creepy dolls, not your Nana's place where she gets drunk on sherry and talks to her creepy dolls), at 1710 South Broadway, is offering an Intro to Knitting class on Thursday, January 3. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. you'll learn the basics that will set you firmly on the path to knitting cozy scarves and slouchy hats. Worried that brandishing needles while enjoying a brew can only lead to heartache? Face it: All of your favorite ideas start out as a twinkle in your drunken eye. Why should learning a new hobby be any different? Get your ticket for $15 (includes materials) on Eventbrite.
One of the most creative brewpubs in town, Liberati Osteria & Oenobeers, is starting 2019 with one of the best deals we've seen in ages. On Thursday, January 3, the eatery at 2403 Champa Street is hosting a five-course Gabby Gourmet dinner for just $55, including drinks and tip. The menu includes little-known Italian dishes like lasagna verde, a Ligurian dish made with green beans, potatoes, pesto and parmesan; white pizza bites accompanied by mortadella foam and pistachio mousse; and roasted capocolla with apples and prunes. Each course will be paired with Liberati's mouth-watering brews that will have you wondering whether you're drinking wine or beer (we're especially looking forward to Oximonstrum, a deliberately oxidized beer brewed with 35% Nebbiolo and Barbera grapes that's reminiscent of port). Call the brewery at 303-862-5652 to make your reservation and start the year on a good note with great food (and easy parking!).
Friday, January 4
What do Italy and spaghetti have in common? Spaghetti Westerns, of course! On Friday, January 4, Jovanina's Broken Italian, 1520 Blake Street, is celebrating Sergio Leone and friends with a Spaghetti Western Dinner. For $59, servers dressed in their finest chaps will treat diners to a five-course menu including classics like bucatini and clams, short ribs braised in Marsala wine with mushroom ragu, and zeppole with Nutella and lemon-rhubarb sauce. In between courses, Clint Eastwood will be chewing his cigar (and the scenery) as his finest cinematic moments are projected in the dining room. Dinner service starts at 5 p.m.; get along over to jovanina.com to make sure you get your vittles.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Sunday, January 27
Il Porcellino Salumi, 4334 West 41st Avenue, expanded dramatically this year with the addition of a production facility in Basalt, and with its increased capacity, it's also bringing a slew of new products to market. One of those is the meat CSA the Berkeley shop is debuting in 2019. Just think of a typical summer produce CSA, but for carnivores. Each box comes with the makings for two meals for two people, such as polenta, shredded beef in chile sauce and a half-chicken marinated in white wine, butter and garlic. The program will run from January through March, with four boxes each month; customers for February (the first month of the CSA) must order by Sunday, January 27, and can pick up their goodies at the shop each Sunday, beginning February 3. A one-month commitment ($200) is required, so call 303-477-3206 to sign up, then say goodbye to hitting the grocery store and fretting about recalled ground beef for the next thirty days.
Friday, February 22, through Sunday, March 3
Denver Restaurant Week is coming, so clear your calendar from February 22 through March 3; you'll want to visit a different eatery every day. Hundreds of Denver’s top restaurants will offer multi-course dinners for three tasty prices ($25, $35 or $45) during the fifteenth year of the wildly popular week. Stay tuned to Visit Denver for a list of participants and menus, and book your first choices right away, before someone else nabs your table.
Saturday, March 16
Beer festivals in this town are serious business; there's at least one happening somewhere in the metro area every weekend, and many are long-running ventures with the attendee count growing each year. Some people (not us, of course) even plan their fests a year in advance. Collaboration Fest is hoping you're one of those people, as tickets for the Saturday, March 16, event are now on sale — even though the beers won't touch your lips until March. Early bird tickets are priced at $55 and $80 at collaborationfest.com, where you can get a few details about the festival, which will run from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Denver, 650 15th Street. The upside to snatching up those tickets now? By the time the fun rolls around, you'll have forgotten how much you spent to have it.
Sunday, May 19 and Monday, May 20
Chefs and aspiring charcutiers will want to plan ahead for a Denver visit from the maestro of meat, Brian Polcyn, who will lead a butchery course next spring at Stir Cooking School, 3215 Zuni Street. Polcyn and author Michael Ruhlman will spend two days teaching students how to break down hogs using both USDA and European seam butchery techniques; how to work charcuterie into menus; and how to properly dry-cure and smoke cured meats. Recipes for pâté, fresh sausage and offal will be provided, as well as a copy of one of the duo's books (their third title, Pâté, Confit, Rillette, will be released May 19), a private cocktail hour and dinner with the pair. Tickets are $800 and are on sale now at Eventbrite.
If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.