Wash down your championship hot dog eating frenzy with a hazy beer from Zuni Street.
Wash down your championship hot dog eating frenzy with a hazy beer from Zuni Street.
Courtesy Zuni Street Brewing Company Facebook

The Five Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Labor Day weekend signals the unofficial end of summer (hello, Pumpkin Spice Latte!) but even though the season is drawing to a close, Denver's restaurant scene isn't showing any signs of cooling off. Take a look at our list of Labor Day celebrations around the state in addition to five of the best eating and drinking opportunities in town from Friday, August 31, through Monday, September 3, plus more events to plan for in September and October.

Is that a squash in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
Is that a squash in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
Courtesy Baby's So Vain Facebook

Friday, August 31
With the almost total dearth of vegan restaurants in our veggier-than-average city, vegan food trucks have become big draws around town. This Friday, August 31, Scam Likely will be camping out at Fort Greene, 321 East 45th Avenue, from 6 to 10 p.m. Chef Spencer Caine will be turning out potato rosti with caramelized onions topped with red pepper-cashew cream and an umami bomb of smoked mushrooms, roasted celeriac, radish sprouts and quinoa, among others. Vegans who want a night out without having to go to Watercourse (again) will want to hit the bar early; happy hours ends at 7 p.m. See Baby's So Vain's Facebook page for the full menu and details.

You won't find views like this at most beer festivals.EXPAND
You won't find views like this at most beer festivals.
Courtesy the Hudson Gardens & Event Center Facebook

Saturday, September 1
Spread out — way out — at the Brews and Views Beer Festival taking place at Hudson Gardens, 6115 South Santa Fe Drive, on Saturday, September 1. While nearly thirty breweries (including Oasis Brewery, Bruz Beers, Grist Brewing Co. and the Brew on Broadway) will be clustered together on the grounds, you can range far and wide after obtaining your beer. With thirty acres of open space, you'll be able peruse water gardens and wetlands, an apiary, and rose and songbird gardens, all with a tasty beverage in hand. The fest runs from 2 to 5 p.m.; get your ticket ($25 to $55) to the state's most serene beer fest at hudsongardens.org.

Those living closer to Louisville than Lone Tree will appreciate Pints in the Park, a beer fest taking over Community Park, 955 Bella Vista Drive in Louisville, on Saturday, September 1. Over twenty breweries, including West Flanders Brewing Co., Liquid Mechanics Brewing Co. and Odd13 Brewing, are converging on the park from noon to 4 p.m. Local restaurants and food trucks will also be on hand, ensuring you don't have to rely solely on that stale pretzel necklace for sustenance. Tickets are a steal at just $25; get yours at Pints in the Park's website.

Aim to eat as many hot dogs as barrel of beer brewed.
Aim to eat as many hot dogs as barrel of beer brewed.
Courtesy Zuni Street Brewing Company Facebook

Sunday, September 2
Hot dog-eating contests are generally associated with the Fourth of July, but honestly? July is way too hot to end up with a mouthful of wieners. Much better to wait until the cooler days of early September to see how many frankfurters you can fit down your throat. Zuni Street Brewing, 2355 West 29th Avenue, gets it right as it schedules its own ten-minute dash to dog dominance on Sunday, September 2, at 4 p.m. It's free to compete, but space is limited, so run — don't walk — to eventbrite.com to register for the event. Miss the deadline? Even better: You can have a few brews, watch the contest and rest assured that no matter how drunk you get, you'll be better off the next morning than those poor sausage suckers.

This bar is the place to be on Break-Even Bottle Monday.EXPAND
This bar is the place to be on Break-Even Bottle Monday.
Danielle Lirette

Monday, September 3
We've written about Citizen Rail's Break-Even Bottle Mondays before, but it's just such a darn good deal, we can't think of a better way to honor your labor — and the fruits of it — than by celebrating with high-end Scotch at the bar's price. Show up to the restaurant, 1899 16th Street, at 5 p.m. on Monday, September 3, for at-cost pours of Aberlour A'bunadh, a sherry-tinged whiskey thanks to its time spent in Spanish sherry casks. Even if you're not a whiskey drinker, plan ahead for future installments of the series, which will include Del Maguey mezcal and a ten-year-old bourbon. Visit the restaurant's Facebook page for details.

Keep reading for upcoming food and drink events.

You're going to have to work for it at Taste of the Broncos.EXPAND
You're going to have to work for it at Taste of the Broncos.
Danielle Lirette

Monday, September 10
Just a day after after the hungry-for-victory Denver Broncos open their season against the Seattle Seahawks, the team is opening Mile High Stadium, 1701 Bryant Street, to Denver diners hungry for food, booze and NFL stars. On Monday, September 10, Taste of the NFL welcomes more than thirty of the town's top eateries (Mister Tuna, Beast + Bottle and Stoic & Genuine are just a few), which will take the field from 7 to 9 p.m. to offer unlimited food and drinks to ravenous diners. Current and former players will be mingling (and resignedly accepting your sports analyses and coaching advice); cheerleaders and chefs will also be on hand. Tickets start at $100 and benefit Food Bank of the Rockies. Get yours on the Broncos' website.

Our Mutual Friend will be pouring at MCA Denver's Sown Together beer fest.EXPAND
Our Mutual Friend will be pouring at MCA Denver's Sown Together beer fest.
Dustin Hall/The Brewtography Project

Saturday, September 22
MCA Denver has a habit of hosting excellent food and drink events — and its Sown Together Beer Tasting on Saturday, September 22, will be no exception. The museum, at 1485 Delgany Street, is tapping into the zeitgeist yet again by bringing in breweries whose stated goal is to use local ingredients, suppliers and producers. From noon to 4 p.m., Colorado outfits Goldspot, Horse & Dragon, Our Mutual Friend and TRVE will be joined on the rooftop patio by Indiana's Upland Brewing Co., Illinois's Scratch Brewing Co. and Texas's transcendent Jester King Brewery, which puts out the Lone Star State's second-best export (the first being barbecued brisket, of course). Get your tickets, $35, at eventbrite.com before the event sells out.

If someone holds a food festival and there aren't any sliders, did it really happen?
If someone holds a food festival and there aren't any sliders, did it really happen?
Danielle Lirette

Sunday, September 30
It's never too early to start planning for Feast, Westword's annual celebration of Denver's restaurant scene. This year's party returns to the McNichols Building, 144 West Colfax Avenue, on Sunday, September 30. There will be unlimited bites from over forty local eateries, live entertainment, unlimited drink samples and unlimited merriment from noon to 3 p.m., especially if you opt for VIP tickets, which get you in an hour early and include an open VIP bar. Tickets start at $30 and are on sale now at westwordfeast.com.

Last year's Harvest Week dinners sold out in record time, so don't delay getting your ticket.
Last year's Harvest Week dinners sold out in record time, so don't delay getting your ticket.
Courtesy EatDenver Facebook

Sunday, October 7, through Thursday, October 11
The ninth annual Harvest Week, hosted by EatDenver and the GrowHaus, will run Sunday, October 7, through Thursday, October 11. Each night, six chefs will come together to create a one-of-a-kind pop-up dinner at the GrowHaus, 4751 York Street; last year's dinners each focused on meat and produce from a particular region in the state. While the 2018 lineup hasn't yet been announced, be prepared to pounce on tickets once they go on sale September 5 (previous years have sold out in just two weeks). In addition to great food and good company, all the festivities of the week will benefit EatDenver and the GrowHaus. Find out more at harvestweek.com.

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

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