The Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Don't recover by growing roots into the couch this weekend; hang out at Liberati for unique beers, Roman pizza and cozy fireplaces.EXPAND
Don't recover by growing roots into the couch this weekend; hang out at Liberati for unique beers, Roman pizza and cozy fireplaces.
Danielle Lirette
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New year, new you (or, if you're less focused on reinvention, new year, new beer). Settle in for some culinary self care, get some help with your (possibly already flagging) resolutions, or admit that January 1 is an arbitrary date and party like a madman anyway at this quartet of food and drink events this weekend, plus a flurry of upcoming fun.

Friday, January 3
Liberati, 2403 Champa Street, knows this weekend is going to be rough. In the past two weeks alone, you've consumed the equivalent of a whole roast turkey, one five-pound bag of mashed potatoes, Belgium's entire annual chocolate production and your body weight in hard liquor; emptied your bank account purchasing presents; and have spent more hours on your feet making torturous small talk at holiday parties than you care to tabulate. So on Friday, January 3, and Saturday, January 4, visit the Curtis Park brewery for its recovery weekend: The taproom has installed cozy electric fireplaces and is serving up steaming soups with a garnish bar, plus Bloody Mary and hot chocolate bars and non-alcoholic seltzer spiked only with replenishing electrolytes. Settle in at the bar for a relaxing and rejuvenating first weekend of the year; see Liberati's Facebook page for more details.

Saturday, January 4
We're four days into 2020 — has your resolution to eliminate grains, sugar, legumes, dairy, alcohol and fun from your diet broken you yet? If not, kudos to you (and sympathy to your friends and family, who we hope aren't bearing the brunt of your withdrawal-induced rage and sanctimony). If you're struggling, though, you can get support on Saturday, January 4, as Sprouts (98 Wadsworth Boulevard in Lakewood) is hosting a giveaway of Whole30 Cookbooks for the first hundred customers from 10 a.m. to noon. Even if you aren't one of the lucky ones walking away with a book, you can meet with a coach who will school you on the program; find out more on the grocer's website.

Sunday, January 5
Your New Year's Eve hangover has gone the way of 2019, and now it's time to make good on your resolution to learn a new hobby. And while YouTube is great for makeup tutorials and movie trailers, it leaves something to be desired when you're trying to learn to make fried Brussels sprouts and the pot of oil on your stove suddenly boils over and catches fire. What next? Will your entire apartment go up in flames before you can Google "How to put out an oil fire"? That's why Cook Street, 43 West Ninth Avenue, offers its Classic Techniques Essentials I class with real, live instructors who are able to give you a hand before you chop your finger off trying to execute a chiffonade. The series of four classes begins on Sunday, January 5, from 6 to 9:30 p.m., then runs weekly through Sunday, January 26. Tuition is $476 on Cook Street's website, where you can also find future class dates if you're still regrowing that finger you lost in a Thanksgiving cooking mishap.

Industry folks for whom the idea of a New Year's Eve off is but a desperate daydream can re-create the event — minus the drunken customers and with themselves on the other side of the bar — at Bierstadt Lagerhaus on Sunday, January 5. Doors to the bash open at 8 p.m.; the night's festivities include a beer pong tournament, mac and cheese bar, $5 liters all night and a countdown starting at "10ish" (according to the bar's refreshingly honest Facebook page). So ring in the newish year with better parking, no cover and less surge pricing.

And for upcoming events....

Rioja welcomes you — and some of Denver's best chefs — for its alumni dinner series.
Rioja welcomes you — and some of Denver's best chefs — for its alumni dinner series.
Danielle Lirette

Wednesday, January 8
While it's been decades since Denver could legitimately be called a cowtown, it's still a little big city — so the restaurant scene (while growing rapidly) remains significantly more intimate than in other American cities (transplants, here's your chance to chime in — we know you just can't help yourselves). So when it comes to homegrown kitchen talent, it's not surprising that a handful of Denver stalwarts have nurtured a significant number of Denver chefs and restaurateurs. Starting on Wednesday, January 8, one of those incubators, Rioja (1431 Larimer Street) is kicking off a quartet of alumni dinners with prodigal daughters and sons returning to the Larimer Square roost. Carrie Baird (Top Chef, Bar Dough) joins forces with chef Jen Jasinski to re-create her favorite menu items from her time at the Spanish restaurant, including dishes she developed. The throwback feast begins at 6:30 p.m. and costs $95 (exclusive of wine pairings) or $135 (inclusive); the remaining meals in the series welcome back Dana Rodriguez (Work & Class, Super Mega Bien), Merlin Verrier (Street Feud) and Jorel Pierce (TAG Restaurant Group). Reserve your seat and get details on future dinners on Rioja's website.

Saturday, January 11
So your New Year's resolution was to eat more oatmeal — how fortuitous that on Saturday, January 11, the City of Lafayette is holding its 24th annual oatmeal festival. That's right: In the realm of quirky agricultural festivals around Colorado, this one celebrates neither peaches nor Pueblo chiles, but porridge. A massive breakfast of 200 gallons of oatmeal with 100 different toppings, 4,000 oatmeal pancakes and 1,200 oatmeal muffins will be served from 7:30 a.m. to noon, At 9:30 a.m., you can take to the streets in a 5K run (and walk, if you're not looking to exceed the speed of an ocean of oatmeal oozing down the course). Breakfast runs $8, or $20 with race registration; find out more on the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce website.

Uchi's sake pairing dinner brings the flavors of Niigata to Denver.EXPAND
Uchi's sake pairing dinner brings the flavors of Niigata to Denver.
Danielle Lirette

Thursday, January 16
Japan's Niigata prefecture — one of the top sake-producing regions in the country — is known for its high-quality beverages, and on Thursday, January 16, you can taste some of the brews that rarely make it out of the Land of the Rising Sun at Uchi. The spot at 2500 Lawrence Street is hosting a sake dinner at 6:30 p.m., with four inventive courses (lamb belly with matcha salsa, hirame crudo and cherry blossoms, duck confit with persimmon kimchi and short rib accompanied by miso and cherry mostarda) served alongside sake pairings. Tickets for the luxe dinner, $115, include tax and tip and are for sale now on Eventbrite, where you can also find info on the sakes, some of which are being shipped from Japan specially for the feast.

Saturday, January 18
Denver Beer Co. knows how to lure your sorry ass out of bed bright and early on a weekend morning: Its annual two-day Beer, Bacon and Coffee Fest at the taproom's Arvada outpost (5768 Olde Wadsworth Boulevard) sells out every year. Starting at the unholy hour of 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 18, and Sunday, January 19, the fest features all the salty, porky, bitter, black, boozy goodness you can fit in your belly until 11 a.m. So whether you're hitting the taproom after a restful night's sleep or just wrapped up a graveyard shift, this fest is sure to start the day off right. Tickets are $45 on the brewery's website and include a breakfast burrito (veggie option available), bottomless brews (coffee and beer) and bacon and a commemorative mug (because everyone knows you're not really an alcoholic if you're drinking beer out of a coffee cup before 9 a.m.).

Sunday, January 19
Nonprofit art gallery Leon, 1112 East 17th Avenue, is combining the visual and the culinary arts on Sunday, January 19, with the launch of its Fine Mess Supper Club. From 5 to 8 p.m., an intimate group of just twenty lucky souls will be treated to a five-course meal from chefs Luke McDonald (Coohills) and Anthony Urbany (Devil's Food) in the gallery, where the current exhibition Beasts of Burden by street artist bunny M. will be the conversational catalyst. Tickets, $85, include tax and tip; visit Leon's Facebook page for details and info on future installments of the monthly series, then email ifoundleon@gmail.com or call 303-832-1599 to claim your spot.

The days are still short and cold, but Ratio will warm you up with ramen.EXPAND
The days are still short and cold, but Ratio will warm you up with ramen.
Courtesy of Ratio Beerworks

Sunday, January 26
A good argument could be made for January being the worst month of the year: While the days are technically lengthening, we still spend many of our waking hours in frigid darkness, holiday cheer has curdled like that carton of eggnog forgotten in the back of your refrigerator and — most incomprehensibly of all — some of you have decided to compound the horror by vowing to not have a drink until February 1. At least the rest of us will have some solace on Sunday, January 26, when Ratio Beerworks, 2920 Larimer Street, teams up with Osaka Ramen for a beer and ramen pairing from noon to 2 p.m. For just $25, you'll get three steamy, soulful bowls (spicy miso, shoyu and vegetable curry) accompanied by dark lager, French saison and IPA. Tickets for the exclusive event (just thirty seats) are on sale now on Eventbrite.

Sunday, February 9
Accio pint glass! On Sunday, February 9, all you have to do is swish your wand about to summon good times and cheer at the generically named Wizard's Beer Festival (the wizarding world has become significantly more litigious, it seems). Diebolt Brewing Co., 3855 Mariposa Street, is the site of the shenanigans, with four two-hour sessions throughout the day, beginning at 11 a.m. and 1:30, 4 and 6:30 p.m. There will be tarot card readers, DJs and wand-making classes; your $45 ticket will get you a welcome beer and tickets for five further potions. Just remember: You can't evanesco your hangover the next day. Pick up your tickets at Eventbrite before those sneaky Slytherins find a way to steal them all.

Thursday, March 12
A wealth of Denver's A-list restaurants are uniting under one roof on Thursday, March 12, to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation at its annual feast, Great Chefs of the West. Starting at 6 p.m., Exdo Event Center, 1399 35th Street, plays host to talent from Death & Co., Mercantile, the Bindery, American Elm, El Five, Woodie Fisher and over fifteen other restaurants and bars serving their most extravagant bites and beverages. And while tickets aren't cheap ($200, though you can save $20 by purchasing before January 6), you'd spend that much on Lyft rides alone trying to navigate from one end of town to another to hit up each and every eatery. Find out more about the event on the NKF website

If you know of a date that should be on this calendar, send information to cafe@westword.com.

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