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The Six Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

Hop on over to Renegade for brews this weekend.EXPAND
Hop on over to Renegade for brews this weekend.
Scott Lentz
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Both Denver's food scene and its weather are blisteringly hot, and while the temps are scheduled to fall to bearable levels on Saturday and Sunday, that doesn't mean the calendar is letting up. This weekend, you can choose from beer, beer and more beer (hell, you can hit two fests in one day if you've got the fortitude) plus Scotch and seven-layer dip. Here are six of the best food and drink events for the weekend, as well as more events to put on your culinary calendar for the weeks ahead.

Be Front Range royalty at an honest-to-God castle this weekend.EXPAND
Be Front Range royalty at an honest-to-God castle this weekend.
Courtesy Cherokee Ranch & Castle Foundation Facebook

Friday, June 29:
Caution Brewery, 1057 South Wadsworth Boulevard, is shutting down operations at the end of June after seven years of brewing unusual beers (Card Your Mom Saison, Lao Wang Lager) for Denver drinkers. And while one of the earliest nanobreweries in town calling it quits is bittersweet at best, you can still get a few final pints in at the taproom. On Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June 30, the brewery will be open from noon to 11 p.m. for one last bash, selling pints for $5 and Crowlers for just $8. There will also be commemorative glasses on sale, so snag yours before they're gone forever. Details are on Caution's Facebook page.

Start your weekend with a little getaway to Scotland (or at least Sedalia) at Cherokee Ranch and Castle's Summertime in Scotland Scotch and Whiskey Tasting. The castle (yes, really), perched incongruously on a hill at 6113 North Daniels Park in Sedalia, is opening its doors at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, June 29, for a tour of the estate, a bagpipe performance and whiskey tastings paired with hearty appetizers. Tickets are $80 at cherokeeranch.org, and while they aren't cheap, they'll give you the chance to settle in under the stars and pretend — just for an evening — that you're somewhere far, far away.

Uncle Sam went to last year's America's Beer Fest and exploded all over ticket holders.
Uncle Sam went to last year's America's Beer Fest and exploded all over ticket holders.
Courtesy America's Beer Fest

Saturday, June 30:
Southeast Denver denizens are getting a fresh new option for food on Saturday, June 30, when University Hills Plaza, 2500 South Colorado Boulevard, hosts its first-ever farmers' market. From 8 a.m. to noon, the usual suspects (ranchers, farmers, artisans, mombies, dogs) will take over the parking lot, giving neighbors a closer choice for local carrots than Cherry Creek. The market will run every Saturday through September 1.

Between microbreweries, nanobreweries, beer festivals, restaurants, pop-ups, food halls, your home-brewing neighbor's garage, speakeasies and plain old bars, there are literally thousands of places you can drink a pint in Denver this weekend. But America's Beer Fest is a no-brainer for teachers, first responders and retired and active-duty military; that's because this fest is offering a free ticket with advance registration to those in the above jobs. Those who labor in less noble professions can get in for $45 or $75 (GA or VIP), and all will be entitled to unlimited beer from the likes of Lagunitas, Brewability Lab, Prost and Twisted Pine. Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 15200 West Sixth Avenue, is hosting the party from 1:30 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 30; the bash also includes games and a mechanical bull (good thing first responders will be on the scene). Nab your tickets at the America's Beer Fest website.

IPA lovers, unite! Renegade Brewing is putting on an event just for you on Saturday, June 30, at its production facility at the Yard on Santa Fe, 913 West First Avenue. The inaugural Hop Head Festival kicks off at 5 p.m., and for five hours, fans of all kinds of hoppy brews — piny, citrusy and dank — will be able to sample Renegade offerings while nibbling on bites from Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs, Cirque Kitchen, Tacos el Huequito and ice cream truck Sprinkle Me Smitten. Admission to the fest is just $5, with food and beer tickets available for purchase on site; ticket packages range from $20 for four tickets to $35 for unlimited tastes and a can of beer brewed exclusively for the festival.

Hotdish just like Aunt Janet used to make.EXPAND
Hotdish just like Aunt Janet used to make.

Sunday, July 1:
The Midwest: How can we not feel ambivalent about America's Breadbasket? It's the birthplace of culinary monstrosities like Cincinnati chili, chicken casserole and seven-layer salad. But it's also the home of delights such as the Juicy Lucy, the Dinty Moore sandwich and Chicago-style pizza (don't get your knickers in a twist, East Coasters — there's enough room in this world for all types of pizza). Whether you love or love to hate the Heartland, Mile High Spirits, 2201 Lawrence Street, is betting cocktails and cheese curds will be enough to get you to its Midwest Fest on Sunday, July 1. From noon to 6 p.m., show up for live music, raffles, food and drink. Tickets, $30, are on sale now at Eventbrite. Be nice when you get there...Minnesota nice.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

The Big Eat always draws big crowds.EXPAND
The Big Eat always draws big crowds.
Danielle Lirette

Thursday, July 12:
How much would you pay for bites from 65 of Denver's top restaurants? Could you even fit 65 bites into your belly? Now's your chance to find out; on Thursday, July 12, the Big Eat returns to the Denver Performing Arts Complex at 14th and Curtis streets for a food festival of epic proportions. For just a buck per bite — that's right, $65 — guests will get food from Denver's best as well as unlimited drinks. Bar Helix, the Bindery, Tavernetta and Low Country Kitchen are just a few of the restaurants making an appearance at this blowout. Go to eatdenver.com for a complete list of participating restaurants and tickets.

Slow Food Nations will bring food cultures from around North America to Denver this summer.EXPAND
Slow Food Nations will bring food cultures from around North America to Denver this summer.
Courtesy of Slow Food USA

Friday, July 13, through Sunday, July 15:
Last year's first Slow Food Nations festival (an outgrowth of the Slow Food movement, which aims to preserve local food traditions and culture) landed in Denver with a bang, and it's gearing up to take over town again. Larimer Square will be transformed into the Taste Marketplace, with over eighty food and beverage vendors, a family pavilion, demos, panel discussions and a bookstore; venues around town will host tastings, dinners and workshops on everything from sake to food waste to #MeToo. Most events are free, but tickets are on sale now for select events at the Slow Food Nations website. Hurry over to make sure you don't get left out — the only time you'll want to move quickly this weekend.

Sunday, August 19:
Westword's Tacolandia returns to Civic Center Park, Broadway and Colfax Avenue, with more than forty of Denver's favorite Mexican restaurants and taco joints serving their takes on street tacos (or as they're known to non-hipsters: tacos). Enjoy unlimited samples and lots of live entertainment. For complete information, go to westwordtacolandia.com. This isn't a competition, it's a celebration — so come hungry and get ready for a wide variety of great Mexican eats, from the smallest mom-and-pop shops to the city's most popular cantinas.

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

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