Pilsner, pink wine, pickles, prana, pride and poultry are part of the plan this weekend, as Denverites embrace the arrival of warm nights and hot bird. Here are seven priceless food and drink events over the next few days, as well as upcoming events you'll want to include on the culinary calendar.
Friday, June 8
Denver wants you to day-drink, and on Friday, June 8, it's officially giving you the go-ahead with the opening of Skyline Park Beer Garden. As long as locusts don't cover the land and rivers don't turn to blood (aka weather permitting), the Garden, at 16th and Arapahoe streets, will be open daily from 11 a.m to 10 p.m. through mid-October, with twelve taps, tacos and elotes, trivia nights, miniature golf, cornhole, ping-pong and other games, plus live music every Friday and Saturday. And with communal seating for more than 350 guests, you're sure to make a new best friend on every visit. Visit skylinebeergarden.com for details.
Like many Americans, some of you might still feel a twinge of shame when ordering rosé at the bar; after all, it famously comes in both a Franzia box and a forty. But there's a whole world of pink wine beyond white zin, and the Drink Pink Vino International Rosé Festival on Friday, June 8, will be pouring sixty new wines just in time for porch-pounder season. Omni Interlocken Resort, 500 Interlocken Boulevard in Broomfield, is hosting the soirée from 6 to 9 p.m.; a VIP reception starts at 5 p.m. Visit the event Facebook page for details and tickets, $70 or $100.
Brace yourself for the perfect storm: goats plus a RiNo warehouse plus a food truck equal both an adorable, low-key evening as well as the pinnacle of hipsterism. On Friday, June 8, Broken Shovels Farm Sanctuary is launching its "Goats in RiNo" summer movie series. Starting at 6 p.m., LFX Filmworks and Events Space at 1701 31st Street will open its doors to humans and goats alike for a screening of But I'm a Cheerleader. Food truck Vegan Van will be selling human feed, and goat treats will also be available for sale. Get your ticket for just $12 (well worth it to cuddle goats and watch a wonderfully naive Natasha Lyonne) on Facebook.
Saturday, June 9
Start your weekend bright (but not too early) on Ale House's rooftop, 2501 16th Street. On Saturday, June 9, the restaurant and RiNo Yoga Social are launching the first of their monthly partnerships with Yoga on the Rooftop at 9:30 a.m. Yogis of all levels can enjoy the (rapidly disappearing) view of Denver's skyline while they practice their eagle pose, with beer and mimosas provided after class — for hydration, of course. While the class is free, space is limited and can be reserved by making an advance donation at Eventbrite; proceeds will benefit Denver nonprofit organizations The Delores Project and Harm Reduction Action Center.
The Real Dill isn't just Denver's most expensive pickle-maker; it's the town's most epic party-thrower. On Saturday, June 9, the company is hosting a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization Denver Food Rescue that includes not one, not two, not three...but four separate bars. From 4 to 10 p.m., guests at The Real Dill's production facility, 33 South Fox Street, can order from cocktail, cider, Bloody Mary and beer bars in between live music, a pickle-eating contest, carnival games and (in what is surely the most artisanal phrase of the year so far) "collaborative pickles" made just for the party. Just $15 gets you in the door, and all drink donations will go directly to the Food Rescue. Pickle up, boys and girls; it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Barbecue and beer, barbecue and Kool-Aid, barbecue and sweet tea — these are the pairings of smokehouse tradition. Bar Fausto is about to add craft cocktails to the list when it brings in Owlbear Barbecue for a Saturday-night pop-up from 4 to 10 p.m. on June 9. Karl Fallenius is working on opening his own restaurant just down Larimer Street, but in the meantime this is the only way to taste his Texas-meets-Colorado brisket and other smoked meats. The drill is simple: Just show up at Bar Fausto, 3126 Larimer Street, and exchange your cash for mixed drinks and food.
Sunday, June 10
Hot on the heels of Chicken Fight! comes another fowl food event, this time at Ace Eat Serve: Wings & Whiskey. What can we say? People love the bird. Ace Eat Serve, 501 East 17th Avenue, is hosting the event for the fifth year, and after last year's sellout bash, we expect this one to be bigger and birdier than ever. Music by Buffalo Wingmen will set the stage for the wing-eating contest, whiskey cocktails and, of course, unlimited wings from eight Denver chefs. The fun starts at 4 p.m.; snap up your tickets, $55 (VIP is sold out), at Ace's website. The flapper fest is a fundraiser for Denver Housing Authority's Youth Culinary Academy.
Keep reading for future food and drink events.
Tuesday, June 12
Brighton Boulevard construction has felt like a nearly endless slog of lane closures, road dust and dudes in day-glo-yellow vests. Street construction is nearly done, as is work on the soon-to-open Source Hotel (3350 Brighton Boulevard). One of the restaurants that will fill the hotel's ultra-modern interior when it launches later this summer is Safta, an Israeli eatery from New Orleans chef Alon Shaya, who is so stoked to open that he wants you to try his food now. Come to the Source (next door to the hotel, in case you've been hiding in a cave for the past four years) from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12, for a pop-up preview of Safta, where you'll able to eat wood-baked pita (pulled from an on-site mobile oven) and a variety of different loaded hummus options. Tickets are available for $50 on Eventbrite, which includes a signed copy of Shaya's cookbook, Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel.
Saturday, June 16
If you're curious about the luxury food festival Cochon555 but the prospect of being packed into a hotel ballroom so tightly your drink spills every time someone next to you takes a deep breath makes you itch, you might fare better at Heritage Fire Snowmass, Cochon's outdoor version of the whole-animal competition. Chefs from all over the country will set up camp at Snowmass Base Village, 120 Carriage Way, to cook more than 3,000 pounds of beef, pork, lamb, rabbit, duck, fish and goat over open fires on Saturday, June 16, from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy the fresh air, smell of woodfire and unlimited food and drink. Snag your tickets ($150 to $200) at cochon555.com before they're gone.
Sunday, June 24
Those who don't mind the crowds and revel in seeing and being seen at the summer's hottest food event won't want to delay in buying their tickets for Cochon555, the pork-centric food festival happening on Sunday, June 24. Competitions started in NYC in January and have been popping up in major food cities across the country and will wrap up here at the Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel, 3801 Quebec Street. Competing chefs Brother Luck (Four by Brother Luck), Adam Brantz (Ultreia), Cindhura Reddy (Spuntino), Kyle Foster (Julep) and Nate Singer (Blackbelly Butcher) will each create the most delectable and luxurious bites using a heritage-breed hog, while winemakers and bartenders keep the booze flowing. Tickets, $130 to $200, are on sale now at Cochon's website.
Tuesday, June 26, and Wednesday, June 27
If ever there was a culinary power duo that could pull off a bash with an all-star lineup and sellout crowds on a Tuesday, it's Toshi and Yasu Kizaki, the chef and owners of Izakaya Den, Ototo and Sushi Den. This year's rooftop party takes place on Tuesday, June 26, and Wednesday, June 27, on the roof of Sushi Den's parking garage at 1501 Pearl Street. From 6 to 10 p.m., visiting Japanese chefs will be cooking up yatai, street food commonly found at festivals, while Denver chefs Alex Seidel, Paul Reilly and Troy Guard will join the fun by making their own interpretation of those dishes. Find out more about the party at sushiden.net and pick up tickets, $90 or $110, at Eventbrite.
Thursday, June 28
If it's summer in Colorado, there must be a taco festival just around the corner. Celebrate the world's perfect food (compact, handheld, delicious) at Top Taco on Thursday, June 28. This year, the fiesta is moving from RiNo to Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street in Aurora, where unlimited tacos, booze and parking await attendees (okay, the parking won't be unlimited, but it will be a hell of a lot better than previous years). Tickets are $75 to $135 at eventbrite.com; snap yours up before the event sells out.
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Thursday, July 12
How much would you pay for bites from 65 of Denver's top restaurants? Could you even fit 65 bites into your belly? Now's your chance to find out; on Thursday, July 12, the Big Eat returns to the Denver Performing Arts Complex at 14th and Curtis streets for a food festival of epic proportions. For just a buck per bite — that's right, $65 — guests will get food from Denver's best as well as unlimited drinks. Bar Helix, the Bindery, Tavernetta and Low Country Kitchen are just a few of the restaurants making an appearance at this blowout. Go to eatdenver.com for a complete list of participating restaurants and tickets.
Sunday, August 19
Westword's Tacolandia returns to Civic Center Park, with more than forty of Denver's favorite Mexican restaurants and taco joints serving their takes on street tacos. Enjoy unlimited samples and lots of live entertainment. For complete information, go to westwordtacolandia.com.
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