Denver's Best Food and Drink Events This Weekend

Collaboration Fest celebrates partnership over brand purity this weekend.
Collaboration Fest celebrates partnership over brand purity this weekend. Danielle Lirette
This is the one weekend of the year when everyone is Irish — but why not branch out? Embrace your Irish heritage (ahem), but also dig up your Ethiopian and pan-American roots, and celebrate your general muttliness. Here are a quartet of fun events that don't involve getting plastered at a parade or pub, plus more throughout March, April and May.

(For more leprechaun-related festivities, see our list of the best St. Patrick's Day food and booze events happening this weekend.)

click to enlarge Learn how to make something other than corned beef and cabbage for St. Paddy's day. - COURTESY THE SEASONED CHEF COOKING SCHOOL FACEBOOK
Learn how to make something other than corned beef and cabbage for St. Paddy's day.
Courtesy The Seasoned Chef Cooking School Facebook
Friday, March 15
Looking for great food this St. Patrick's Day? The first and most important thing to know: Corned beef and cabbage isn't Irish. We've said it ’til we're green in the face, but despite our best efforts, it will take the luck o' the Irish to find a meal on March 17 that doesn't include the combo. Your best bet? Create your own meal, and if you attend the St. Paddy's Day Party Pairings class at the Seasoned Chef Cooking School, 999 Jasmine Street, on Friday, March 15, you'll be prepared to roll out a spread that's a step above the usual. Yes, the ubiquitous corned beef is on the menu (at least it's in slider form), but you'll also learn how to make lamb meatballs, savory turnovers, colcannon (a dish traditionally made of mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage) and Irish cheddar fondue; dishes will be served with Irish beers and cocktails. The couples' class has been discounted to $157.50 for two people and runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.; sign up now on the Seasoned Chef website.

click to enlarge Sarah Gebre pours Ethiopian coffee made with beans she roasted herself. - MARK ANTONATION
Sarah Gebre pours Ethiopian coffee made with beans she roasted herself.
Mark Antonation
Saturday, March 16
Coffee fiends will get a chance to consume their beloved beverage and get their hit of caffeine while simultaneously slowing down and savoring the moment at Sara Gebre's weekly Ethiopian coffee ceremonies, which will launch on Saturday, March 16, at Food Bridge International Marketplace, 998 Navajo Street. At 11 a.m., Gebre (who has previously cooked Ethiopian cuisine at Comal) will start the ritual by roasting green coffee beans in a pan over an open flame before grinding and brewing them. The entire process takes about 45 minutes, giving guests time to relax and chat with their neighbors rather than slopping their brew into a travel mug and rushing out the door. Book your spot on Eventbrite for just $10. Looking for an even more in-depth experience? Stick around for one of Gebre's traditional Ethiopian meals afterward for an additional $15, or go for the trifecta on the third Saturday of every month, when a 9:30 a.m. yoga class, coffee and meal will run you $35.

The sixth annual Collaboration Fest has finally arrived. Even if the festival wasn't on your radar six months ago, when tickets first went on sale, it should be now. Because two (or more) breweries team up to brew each beer, each of the beers on tap is a result of the experience, style and approach of separate teams, culminating in a range of nearly 120 beers you'll never see or taste anywhere else. Tickets for the Saturday, March 16, event are (still) on sale on Collaboration Fest's website for $65 or $85; pouring commences at 3 and lasts until 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Denver, 650 15th Street. Our most anticipated collabs? Colorado breweries Paradox Beer Co. and Purpose Brewing; Belgian-style brewers Bruz Beers and the Thirsty Monk; and TRVE Brewing and Denver's Family Jones distillery.

click to enlarge Brightmarten's Road Trip Dinner hit the road later than expected, but its ETA is still delicious. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Brightmarten's Road Trip Dinner hit the road later than expected, but its ETA is still delicious.
Danielle Lirette
Sunday, March 17
There are two kinds of people in the world: those for whom the prospect of a multi-state road trip and its associated open roads, giant balls of twine and gas station gift shops elicit a freedom and excitement that can't be found anywhere else, and those who would rather chew their own arm off (possibly both arms and a foot) than endure the torture of sitting next to other people for hours at a time while fighting over the air conditioning and music. But both types will be able to get on board with Brightmarten and the Family Jones's Road Trip Dinner on Sunday, March 17 (rescheduled from Wednesday, March 13, because no one wants to drive cross-country in a blizzard). From 6 to 9 p.m., guests of Brightmarten, at 730 South University Boulevard, will embark on a culinary car trip across five states: Florida, Louisiana, California, Kentucky and Colorado. That's an ambitious itinerary (and an impossible one by motor vehicle), but food and cocktails will be provided at each stop: Think a refreshing key lime and Fresno chile daiquiri in the Sunshine State and a blackberry-bourbon-basil julep with fried chicken in the Bluegrass State. Visit Brightmarten's Facebook page for the full menu, then email [email protected] to reserve your $85 seat — and make sure you don't get stuck sitting in the middle of the back seat.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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