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Hit the taps at the crack of dawn this weekend.EXPAND
Hit the taps at the crack of dawn this weekend.
Courtesy Denver Beer Co. (Arvada, CO) Facebook

The Six Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Searching for a lost weekend? You'll find it here, as Denver's food and drink scene is all about booze, booze and more booze. You can grab a drink morning, noon and night at these six events. Keep reading for details, as well as more worthy dates on the culinary calendar.

Friday, January 18
What kind of a monster — nay, nihilist — would tread upon hundreds of years of brewing tradition and create an imperial blond stout with cacao nibs and coffee beans? Obviously, someone who cares nothing for the laws of nature or of man, who has no values or loyalties, who simply wants to watch the world burn — or a fan of The Big Lebowski. While we can't vouch for the ideological leanings of the brewers at Gunbarrel Brewing Company, it appears they are fans of the Coen brothers classic, as the taproom at 7088 Winchester Circle in Boulder is screening the film on Friday, January 18, to coincide with the release of the brewery's Nihilist Stout. The movie, $5 at eventbrite.com, starts at 7 p.m., with doors at 6 p.m. so you can indulge in your Caucasian of a beer before the bowling balls start rolling. Can't make the Friday show? There will be an encore performance on Saturday as well. And upon further reflection, we've decided the brewery isn't run by true nihilists; if it was, that brew would be a Belgian imperial blond rye session stout.

The marquee outside Zuni Street Brewing, 2355 West 29th Avenue, reads "200" — marking the 200th batch of beer the outfit has brewed since it opened two years ago. To celebrate the momentous occasion, the taproom is hosting a 200th Batch Bash on Friday, January 18, at 6 p.m. Not only will the aforementioned brew (GingerGrass Ale, made with ginger, hibiscus and lemongrass) be tapped, but naming rights to the newest tank will be auctioned off to the highest bidder, with the proceeds going to a charity of the winner's choice (and, no, your bank account doesn't qualify as a 501(c)3, even if it is in dire need). Find out more on Zuni Street's Facebook page.

Stem is celebrating five years in business with $5 pours on Saturday.
Stem is celebrating five years in business with $5 pours on Saturday.
Danielle Lirette

Saturday, January 19
Join Denver Beer Co. on Saturday, January 19, for the breakfast of champions: breakfast burritos, bacon and beer. The brewery's eighth annual Beer, Bacon and Coffee Fest returns to the Arvada taproom, 5768 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard, bright and early at 8:30 a.m. For the next two and a half hours, craft beer fans can nurse their Friday night hangovers with some hair of the dog while simultaneously laying a food base for Saturday night's drinking (talk about multi-tasking...). Tickets are $40 at denverbeerco.com, and if you just can't drag yourself out of bed after an epic Friday night, fear not: The fest will continue on Sunday as well.

Stem Ciders was one of the first cideries to come on the scene — five long years ago, way back when parking near the taproom at 2811 Walnut Street wasn't an exercise in futility. And on Saturday, January 19, Stem is celebrating half a decade in business with a full day of bluegrass, the release of Five String Banjo and $5 pours all day. In addition, the first fifty guests through the doors (which open at noon) will get a commemorative cider cup. Find out more and get the band lineup on the cider house's Facebook page — and good luck finding a parking spot within a five-mile radius.

What was your favorite part of Saturday mornings as a kid — the endless bowls of cereal, sitting a foot from the TV screen soaking up radiation and your favorite ’toons, or staying in your pajamas until lunchtime? On Saturday, January 19, you can re-create the entire experience with one notable improvement — the addition of booze — at Diebolt Brewing. From noon to 2 p.m., the brewery at 3855 Mariposa Street will have cartoons on the television, a cereal bar in the taproom, and beermosas behind the bar. And in the latest opportunity for nominal adults to get drunk in public wearing onesies, you're welcome to show up in your PJs for optimal Saturday morning coziness.

Denver Urban Gardens is giving away seedlings and gardening education to qualifying households this spring.EXPAND
Denver Urban Gardens is giving away seedlings and gardening education to qualifying households this spring.
Courtesy Denver Urban Gardens Facebook

Sunday, January 20
Growing your own food is great for your diet and your health, but starting a garden from scratch can be a little hard on your pocketbook. Soil, seeds, sprinklers and shovels can add up, but nonprofit Denver Urban Gardens hopes to ease the financial burden for lower-income households with its Grow a Garden program. Individuals and families that meet income requirements can apply to receive ten seed packets, ten seedlings and a gardening workshop at no cost. The deadline to apply is Thursday, January 31, so you'll want to get your application in sooner rather than later; find income requirements, more details and the application on DUG's website.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

Go savory, not sweet, at the Inventing Room's January Gobblefunk dinner.EXPAND
Go savory, not sweet, at the Inventing Room's January Gobblefunk dinner.
Danielle Lirette

Wednesday, January 23
While The Inventing Room Dessert Shop, 4431 West 29th Avenue, is closed for the winter, fans of owner Ian Kleinman's whimsical creations can still get a mouthful at the Gobblefunk dinner on Wednesday, January 23. This is the ninth version of Kleinman's monthly dinners — which often sell out, so hopefully you've already reserved your spot. The meal's theme is "Galaxy," and diners will definitely be transported with otherworldly "Moon Pies" of pumpkin seed cake stuffed with goat cheese and crab, and an entree of smoked tenderloin with gravlax and charcoal potatoes dubbed "The Black Hole." The four-course dinner starts at 6 p.m. and includes paired nitro cocktails for $100. Call 303-885-2802 to reserve your seat on the spaceship; details are online on the dessert parlor's website.

The Bindery will host a collaborative dinner between chef/owner Linda Hampsten Fox and Rebel Restaurant's Bo Porytko (left) and Dan Lasiy.EXPAND
The Bindery will host a collaborative dinner between chef/owner Linda Hampsten Fox and Rebel Restaurant's Bo Porytko (left) and Dan Lasiy.
Mark Antonation

Thursday, January 24
It's a few weeks until Valentine's Day, but do yourself (and your bae or bestie) a favor by planning ahead — way ahead — and booking a seat at The Bindery's His & Hers dinner on Thursday, January 24. The "his" (chefs Bo Porytko and Dan Lasiy of the late, great Rebel Restaurant) and "her" (Linda Hampsten Fox, chef/owner of the Bindery, 1817 Central Street) are each taking on the same ingredients for seven courses, resulting in an epic fourteen-dish spread that's sure to capture the straight-up weirdness of Rebel, the refined creativity of the Bindery, and the magic that happens when the trio takes to the kitchen. Dinner runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and tickets ($109 on eventbrite.com) include one cocktail, tax and tip.

Il Porcellino owner Bill Miner breaking down a hog that might just show up in your meat CSA box.
Il Porcellino owner Bill Miner breaking down a hog that might just show up in your meat CSA box.
Courtesy Il Porcellino

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.

Carrie Baird is reuniting with fellow Top Chef contestants on February 1 — hopefully without the drama.
Carrie Baird is reuniting with fellow Top Chef contestants on February 1 — hopefully without the drama.
Paul Trantow/Bravo Media

Friday, February 1
Before chef Carrie Baird took over the kitchen at Bar Dough, she was on a little TV cooking competition. You may have heard of it: season fifteen of Top Chef, which was filmed in Denver in 2017. Now Baird will join fellow competitors Brother Luck (of Colorado Springs's Four by Brother Luck) and mustachioed top three finalist Joe Sasto for a Top Chef alumni dinner at the restaurant, 2227 West 32nd Avenue, on Friday, February 1. The six-course menu and wine pairings will run you $130 ($90 without booze), or splurge on a seat in the eatery's private room, which includes a chance to chat with each chef, for $150.  Expect Baird's signature fancy toast, two pasta courses from Sasto and dessert from Luck, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting victims of California's recent Camp Fire. Call 720-668-8506 for your chance to channel Tom or Padma.

Tuesday, February 5, and Wednesday, February 6
Get ready for some Big Easy eating at Jax Fish House in February. Founder Dave Query and culinary director Sheila Lucero are bringing in New Orleans chef Ryan Prewitt for two five-course dinners, one at Jax in Boulder (928 Pearl Street) on February 5, and the second in LoDo (1539 17th Street) on February 6. Prewitt, director of operations for the Donald Link Restaurant Group, won a James Beard award for best Chef South in 2014, and one of his restaurants, Pêche, won Best New Restaurant in America from the JBF the same year. These mark the first in a series of guest dinners with New Orleans friends of Query and Lucero's coming to Jax to cook. The five-course dinners are $85 each ($125 with wine pairings); reservations can be made by calling the Boulder Jax at 303-444-1811 or the LoDo Jax at 303-292-5767.

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. Participating restaurants and menus will be up on Visit Denver on January 23; be sure you book your first choices right away, before someone else nabs your table.

Learn to ham it up like a pro at Stir Cooking School.EXPAND
Learn to ham it up like a pro at Stir Cooking School.

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 cafe@westword.com.

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