The Six Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

The Brutal Poodle is celebrating its birthday on Saturday, January 12.
The Brutal Poodle is celebrating its birthday on Saturday, January 12. Aaron Thackeray

This weekend brings beer fests, a belated New Year's celebration, bowls of oatmeal and a brutal birthday party. Clear your culinary calendar for these six events, and keep reading for bunches of bashes for the rest of this month and beyond.

click to enlarge A Food Bank of the Rockies mobile distribution sites. - COURTESY FOOD BANK OF THE ROCKIES FACEBOOK
A Food Bank of the Rockies mobile distribution sites.
Courtesy Food Bank of the Rockies Facebook
Friday, January 11
This is just the second Friday of the year, and we're already pimping a beer festival (though we're sure there's already been one or two we missed). Still, hitting your first fest of the year on Friday, January 11, isn't too shabby. The Northwest Beer (and Wine) Fest hits the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, from 8 to 11 p.m., when Denver Beer Co., Joyride Brewing Co., Briar Common Brewery and more will be pouring while a cover band cranks out retro tunes. Tickets are just $30 at, or you can spring for the VIP option, $50, and get access at 7 p.m. plus a private tasting and brewer's talk from the folks at Woods Boss Brewing.

It's been 21 days since the federal government has shut down, and the financial consequences for government employees are now very real; today is the first day that 800,000 workers — even some who are required to show up for their jobs during the shutdown — will be denied their first paycheck. With mortgages, utilities and credit card payments still due, putting food on the table can be difficult during this unexpected loss of income. So Food Bank of the Rockies has organized three emergency food distributions in addition to its regular mobile pantries, on Friday, January 11 (9 to 11 a.m. at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, 6000 Victory Way in Commerce City); Saturday, January 12 (1 to 4 p.m. at the nonprofit's warehouse, 10700 East 45th Avenue); and Friday, January 18 (1 to 3 p.m. at 24 Hour Fitness, 12039 West Alameda Parkway in Lakewood). The distributions are open to all in need. Even if your pantry is stocked, consider a donation to the Food Bank, as additional distributions mean even more supplies are required.

Saturday, January 12

Even with the made-for-Instagram sensation of overnight oats that swept social media a few years back, we think oatmeal is underrated. The warm and comforting dish can be sweet or savory (try it with some peanut butter mixed in, or top it with a perfectly runny egg) and satisfies at any time of day (opt for steel-cut oats and some herbs, and you have a risotto-like dish for dinner). The fine folks of Lafayette know what's up: They've been celebrating the dish for over two decades. On Saturday, January 12, the town is hosting its 23rd annual Oatmeal Festival starting at 7:30 a.m. Pioneer Elementary School, 101 East Baseline Road in Lafayette will be cooking up over 200 gallons of oatmeal and putting on a spectacular toppings bar; 4,000 oatmeal pancakes and 1,200 muffins will also be available if your prefer your grain in bread form. Breakfast costs just $8, a small price to warm your belly on a chilly January morning. Find out more about the fest — there's also a 5K race and a blood drive — at the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce website. 

2018 was a brutal year for a lot of things: the Broncos, Mark Zuckerberg, POTUS's Twitter account. But the Brutal Poodle, 1967 South Broadway, has spent the last twelve months feeding its Platt Park neighbors poodle bites (sausage wrapped in cornbread and deep fried) and a surprisingly excellent noodle bowl, so it's celebrating a year in business on Saturday, January 12, with its Very Brutal One Year Anniversary party. Starting at 11 a.m., the metal-themed bar will host live music on the patio, along with a dunk tank benefiting the (unfortunately named) dog rescue All Paws Matter, outdoor games, bars and grub. So dress in layers (swimsuit, long johns, onesie, winter coat) and get ready for a not-so-brutal day of fun.

LowDown Brewery + Kitchen, 800 Lincoln Street, is rolling out the barrel on Saturday, January 12, at its fourth annual Barrel-Aged Beer Festival. At 11 a.m., the doors open, and six of LowDown's own barrel-aged ales — ranging from IPAs to saisons to stouts — will be tapped, along with brews from Ratio Beerworks, Dry Dock Brewing, River North Brewery, Black Project and more. ABVs on these monsters range from 8.4 to over 12 percent, so take advantage of the brewpub's full menu to soak up the suds, and get there early for the best selection. No tickets are required for this fest; just show up and pay by the glass. Visit the brewery's Facebook page for the full tap list.

click to enlarge Ring in the New Year plus thirteen days at TAG this weekend. - WESTWORD FILE PHOTO
Ring in the New Year plus thirteen days at TAG this weekend.
Westword file photo
Sunday, January 13
If your job in the hospitality industry (or just your general curmudgeonliness) kept you from celebrating New Year's Eve in the manner it merits, fear not. TAG, 1441 Larimer Street, is rolling out an Industry New Year's Eve menu on Sunday, January 13, so all poor souls stuck at work (or just looking for a good meal — the menu is available to all) can break their resolutions in style. The four-course meal is available through Sunday, January 20, for $45 and boasts crispy pig ears; New York strip steak with black garlic sauce and buttermilk mashed potatoes; monkfish ravioli accompanied by uni soy butter, smoked olive oil and fried cauliflower; and an over-the-top Elvis bar for dessert (banana pastry cream, peanut butter pudding, chocolate glaze and bacon caramel). Reservations are recommended; make them on TAG's website.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.
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Amy Antonation knows that street tacos are infinitely superior to tacos that come covered in squiggles of crema, and she will stab you with her knitting needles if you try to convince her otherwise.
Contact: Amy Antonation