What will you decide to spend your weekend dollars on? Put your money where your mouth is this weekend to support veganism, job training for low-income women and immigrant advocacy; you'll have the opportunity to contribute to good causes while having a great time. And if you just support beer, barbecue and bars — well, there's something for you, too. Here are the nine best food and drink events for July 21 through July 23, plus a few upcoming ideas beyond the weekend that you won't want to miss.
Friday, July 21
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. retired its beloved Double Jack IPA last year, but is taking the opportunity to roll out some new IPAs, and the latest, Adversus, will debut at Rhein Haus on Friday, July 21. Brave the endless stream of LoDo revelers at 1415 Market Street for pours of the new beer, as well as excellent housemade Teutonic fare (this German joint won our 2017 Best German/Eastern European Restaurant award). The party kicks off at 6 p.m., and there's no need to make reservations.
Also on Friday, July 21, the Palm Restaurant will be celebrating its 21st anniversary with free lobster — sort of. The restaurant's usual lobster special will be a little heavier tonight, weighing in at five pounds instead of four. So customers will be able to indulge in five pounds of lobster (portioned for two), two starters and one family-style side for $99. Call ahead to make sure you score a seat: 303-825-7256.
Saturday, July 22
Looking for validation of your vegan-ness? VegFest Colorado is your jam. Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 15200 West 6th Avenue in Golden, is hosting the plant-based festival on Saturday, July 22 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Sunday, July 23 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Whether you already eschew animal products or are just curious about the lifestyle, you can take advantage of food samples, cooking demos, kids' activities, a passel of vendors, and multiple speakers; check out the website for details. Online ticket sales have already ended, but you can still get in for $10 at the door (kids sixteen and under get in free.)
If you've let your summer slip past without having a party in the park, now's your chance to enjoy a warm day among friends and neighbors. Add beer and barbecue, and you've got the perfect July event. That's what you'll find at Arvada on Tap: A Craft Beer and BBQ Fest, which the Arvada Visitors Center will host at the Ralston Park Addition, 11200 Ralston Road in Arvada. The fun kicks off at noon on Saturday, July 22, and runs until 7 p.m., with beers on tap from more than 25 brewers, a national barbecue competition with samples available from dozens of competitive cooks, and an amateur brewing contest with awards to be given by members of the Beer Judging Certification Program. Tokens for food and beer can be purchased at the festival, and there will be additional food trucks and carts to supplement the barbecue offerings. Bring a little extra cash to support community vendors offering a range of crafts, clothing, jewelry and barbecue supplies. Tickets are $8 in advance at visitarvada.org, or $10 at the door. Happy feasting!
Eating outside is one of Colorado's favorite pastimes — devoted Denver diners will do it year round (thank God for 300 days of sunshine). But dining al fresco is a better bet in the summer, and on Saturday, July 22, Larimer Square (the 1400 block of Larimer Street) will be closed off to accommodate guests of the restaurants that line the street (Russell's Smokehouse, Ocean Prime, Rioja and Bistro Vendôme, among others). Sit under the stars and eat and drink to your heart's content. Seatings run from 5 to 10 p.m., and reservations are required; call the restaurant of your choice directly to make yours. For a complete list of participating eateries, go to larimersquare.com.
A castle full of queens will be working it for Work Options for Women at the Bold and the Beautiful, a drag show fundraiser on Saturday, July 22. Join the ladies at Blush & Blu, 1526 East Colfax Avenue, from 9 to 11:30 p.m. for an evening of philanthropy, fishiness and fabulous outfits. Tickets can be purchased in advance at eventbrite.com (a mere $8 — surely you can find that under your couch cushions) or at the door ($10).
Keep reading for more food and drink events.
Sunday, July 23
The country's seen an uptick in political activism since January 20, but if you're not the type to march in the streets, you can still contribute to the revolution at The Resistance Diner's July dinner. The pop-up fundraiser donates to a different nonprofit each month; past beneficiaries include the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the Union of Concerned Scientists. This month's dinner takes place on Sunday, July 23, at Comal, 3455 Ringsby Court, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and will benefit United We Dream, an advocacy group for immigrant youth. For $40 ($50 with wine), diners can satisfy their tastebuds and their thirst for social justice with a four-course dinner that includes a summer greens soup with cotija and lime oil, pickled mushrooms, and braised short rib with green mole. Check out the event's Facebook page for details and ticket info — and hurry, because the dinner only seats 35.
Kentucky Inn has officially jumped the dive-bar shark: The once-upon-a-time dive turned respectable neighborhood bar is closing for (gasp!) a full remodel on July 24 — and that means the booze has got to go. Starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 23, the bar at 890 South Pearl Street will be throwing a Booze Blowout. Drink specials ($3 pints, $2.50 bottles and craft cans, $3 wells) will run until 2 a.m., and from 2 to 6 p.m., a free barbecue and free Jell-O shots will be on offer, too. So go early, stay late, drink deep and reminisce about what used to be at the Kentucky. It's your last chance.
In other shark news, Discovery Channel's Shark Week starts on Sunday, July 23, and so does Anthony's Pizza & Pasta's homage to the ocean's top predator. Stop by a participating Anthony's location (call ahead to verify) through Sunday, July 30, and get a large Great White pizza for $10 instead of $18. And if you can't devour a large pizza like a shark devours chum, opt for the Nemo-sized portion and get a free slice of the pie when you order a slice and a soda. To complete the experience, Anthony's will be hosting Shark Week watch parties nightly at 8 p.m., so you can watch helpless sea creatures and the occasional surfer be ripped to shreds while you eat your dinner.
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Thursday, August 3
What's the best burger in Denver? It's an eternal question (and a very, very personal one — wars have been fought over less), and one that will likely never be solved, as hard as the Denver Burger Battle tries. But that doesn't mean you should skip the show on Thursday, August 3. The Tivoli Quad, 900 Auraria Parkway, will host sixteen competitors, ranging from classic local burger joints like My Brother's Bar and the Cherry Cricket to newcomers on the Denver dining scene (Departure, Concourse). You'll get unlimited burgers, drinks and desserts from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. for $70 (and early admission at 5:30 p.m. if you pony up $125), but tickets are going fast. Get yours at denverburgerbattle.com.
Saturday, August 5
You can't drink all day if you don't start before noon. You'd think Sesh Fest would embrace this philosophy, but alas, the low-alcohol beer festival (all beers on tap will be 5 percent ABV or less) doesn't start until 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 5. We predict you'll still get your fill of beer, though, since the fest runs until 6:30 p.m. Some of our favorite breweries (Baere, TRVE, Ratio and Ska) will be there, and beer pong and cornhole will take over the lawn at the Highland Masonic Center, 3550 North Federal Boulevard. Ticket prices range from $24 to $30 per person, depending on how many fellow beer drinkers you can rustle up to accompany you (ticket packages of six or more ensure early entry). Head over to seshfest.com for details and tickets.
See the Westword calendar for even more food and drink events.