Things to Do

The Six Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Boulder Craft Beer Festival is celebrating half a decade of suds this year.
Boulder Craft Beer Festival is celebrating half a decade of suds this year. Brandon Marshall
You can learn the basics of beer festing, root for the underdog, and pop in for paella this weekend. Here are six great food and drink events over the next few days, plus more to plan for as summer slowly turns to fall.

Come to Lola for some Friday paella. - MARK ANTONATION
Come to Lola for some Friday paella.
Mark Antonation
Friday, August 23
Denver temperatures are forecast to start off freaking hot (in official meteorological terms) this Friday and escalate to absolutely unbearable by Sunday. We have a solution, though: Head for the hills. Specifically, make the drive to Breckenridge, where it will be practically balmy in the mid-70s, and the Breckenridge Hogfest will be happening all weekend. This bacon and bourbon bash kicks off on Friday, August 23, with a bourbon dinner, followed by the grand tasting on Saturday and brunch on Sunday. Expect tipples from local distillers Laws Whiskey House, 52eighty, Axe and the Oak, Mythology and Breckenridge Distillery, alongside national brands like Buffalo Trace, Bird Dog Whiskey and Maker's Mark.Tickets for the weekend's events range from $50 to $125, and are still available on the Hogfest website.

If you've watched Wine Country (and if you haven't, get it together!) you know paella can take upwards of 24 hours to prepare and requires a canoe paddle to stir. Perhaps this is why it's hard to find the dish on menus around town — and chances are you haven't been slaving away over the seafood, saffron and rice concoction recently, either. But on Friday, August 23, Lola Coastal Mexican, 1575 Boulder Street, is breaking out the paddles and pans for a paella pop-up from 6 to 9 p.m., and you can get the classic Spanish dish without having to put up with the fraught friendship dynamics in Wine Country or the weirdly intrusive Devon (who will only hand you a raw squid). The dish comes packed with shellfish at $30 per plate, with pitchers of sangria and margaritas for $40. So bring a crowd, because that enormous pan of rice, mussels, clams and fish isn't going to eat itself.
click to enlarge C Squared Ciders hosts the Cider Circus as it moves from Frisco to Denver in its fifth year. - COURTESY C SQUARED CIDERS
C Squared Ciders hosts the Cider Circus as it moves from Frisco to Denver in its fifth year.
Courtesy C Squared Ciders
Saturday, August 24
Brace yourself: There are no farm dinners this weekend. But there are a plethora of beer fests on Saturday, August 24, so school yourself on the ABCs of drinking and before choosing from this trio of fests. Arts & Ales benefits the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, and the expansive lawn (and air conditioned buildings!) at 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard in Arvada will be turned into a beer, music and arts festival, with a full lineup of bands, local artisans and food trucks on hand from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with suds starting at 2 p.m. Admission starts at just $30 on the Arvada Center's website, and proceeds from all food sales go directly to the Center's programming. Boulder Craft Beer Festival boasts nearly thirty local breweries, plus food trucks slinging barbecue, tacos, empanadas and Cuban and Jamaican fare, and a free yoga class from 1 to 5 p.m. at North Boulder Park, 9th Street and Dellwood Avenue. Tickets are $35 to $50 on Boulder Downtown's website.

click to enlarge Booker is all smiles at the thought of you attending the Underdogs Animal Rescue fundraiser. - COURTESY UNDERDOGS ANIMAL RESCUE
Booker is all smiles at the thought of you attending the Underdogs Animal Rescue fundraiser.
Courtesy Underdogs Animal Rescue
Ever felt the universe was conspiring against you? If so, you understand what it feels like to be an underdog. Now imagine being an actual dog and having the odds of finding a home stacked against you due to breed-specific legislation, old age or trauma. Underdogs Animal Rescue places animals from overcrowded shelters into foster care, where they can receive improved training and socialization. On Saturday, August 24, the non-profit organization is holding its annual fundraiser at the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, where from 7 to 10 p.m. human advocates and underdogs can enjoy an open bar, live music and dancing, and bites from Edwin Sandoval's excellent Xatrucho Concepts — all vegetarian, of course: mac and cheese, mushroom arancini with blue cheese, potatoes with mornay, fried cauliflower and a ponzu reduction, and panzanella with creamed corn. Tickets, $100, are still available on the rescue's website, along with pictures of adorable adoptable dogs.
click to enlarge Forget the bread basket. It's brunch, so go on and fill up on doughnuts. - MICHAEL EMERY HECKER
Forget the bread basket. It's brunch, so go on and fill up on doughnuts.
Michael Emery Hecker
Sunday, August 25
More than 200 restaurants opened in Denver last year — and it seems all of them started serving brunch within a few months of opening their doors. For brunchophiles trying to work their way through all the restaurants in town serving the meal, that's a tall order. But on Sunday, August 25, you can make a significant dent in your to-brunch list at BrunchFest 2019. The McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, is the site of the boozy shenanigans, with more than twenty restaurants serving brunch dishes, plus unlimited Bloodys and mimosas, from noon to 3 p.m. Tickets run $59 to $109, and you can pick them up, as well as see participating restaurants, on the event website.

Lamb is woefully underutilized in American kitchens (especially when compared to the Ned Flanders of proteins, chicken), which is a shame. But if you're a fan of the flavorful meat — or even if you're on the fence about eating the curly-haired creatures — the Lamb Jam is the best place in Denver to get the goods. On Sunday, August 25, an all-star lineup of Denver's top chefs, including Dana Rodriguez (Super Mega Bien), Marta Biasotti (Liberati), Justin Brunson (Old Major), Alon Shaya (Safta) and Tristan Epps (Mister Tuna) will be competing for the title of Lamb Jam champion at Mile High Station, 2027 West Colfax Avenue, from 3 to 6 p.m. There will be plenty of beer, wine and cocktails to pair with the succulent meat; tickets ($75 to $125) are on sale now on Lamb Jam's website.

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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