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The Six Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Weekend

The Brutal Poodle is celebrating its birthday on Saturday, January 12.EXPAND
The Brutal Poodle is celebrating its birthday on Saturday, January 12.
Aaron Thackeray
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This weekend brings beer fests, a belated New Year's celebration, bowls of oatmeal and a brutal birthday party. Clear your culinary calendar for these six events, and keep reading for bunches of bashes for the rest of this month and beyond.

A Food Bank of the Rockies mobile distribution sites.
A Food Bank of the Rockies mobile distribution sites.
Courtesy Food Bank of the Rockies Facebook

Friday, January 11
This is just the second Friday of the year, and we're already pimping a beer festival (though we're sure there's already been one or two we missed). Still, hitting your first fest of the year on Friday, January 11, isn't too shabby. The Northwest Beer (and Wine) Fest hits the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, from 8 to 11 p.m., when Denver Beer Co., Joyride Brewing Co., Briar Common Brewery and more will be pouring while a cover band cranks out retro tunes. Tickets are just $30 at theorientaltheater.com, or you can spring for the VIP option, $50, and get access at 7 p.m. plus a private tasting and brewer's talk from the folks at Woods Boss Brewing.

It's been 21 days since the federal government has shut down, and the financial consequences for government employees are now very real; today is the first day that 800,000 workers — even some who are required to show up for their jobs during the shutdown — will be denied their first paycheck. With mortgages, utilities and credit card payments still due, putting food on the table can be difficult during this unexpected loss of income. So Food Bank of the Rockies has organized three emergency food distributions in addition to its regular mobile pantries, on Friday, January 11 (9 to 11 a.m. at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, 6000 Victory Way in Commerce City); Saturday, January 12 (1 to 4 p.m. at the nonprofit's warehouse, 10700 East 45th Avenue); and Friday, January 18 (1 to 3 p.m. at 24 Hour Fitness, 12039 West Alameda Parkway in Lakewood). The distributions are open to all in need. Even if your pantry is stocked, consider a donation to the Food Bank, as additional distributions mean even more supplies are required.

Saturday, January 12
Even with the made-for-Instagram sensation of overnight oats that swept social media a few years back, we think oatmeal is underrated. The warm and comforting dish can be sweet or savory (try it with some peanut butter mixed in, or top it with a perfectly runny egg) and satisfies at any time of day (opt for steel-cut oats and some herbs, and you have a risotto-like dish for dinner). The fine folks of Lafayette know what's up: They've been celebrating the dish for over two decades. On Saturday, January 12, the town is hosting its 23rd annual Oatmeal Festival starting at 7:30 a.m. Pioneer Elementary School, 101 East Baseline Road in Lafayette will be cooking up over 200 gallons of oatmeal and putting on a spectacular toppings bar; 4,000 oatmeal pancakes and 1,200 muffins will also be available if your prefer your grain in bread form. Breakfast costs just $8, a small price to warm your belly on a chilly January morning. Find out more about the fest — there's also a 5K race and a blood drive — at the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce website. 

2018 was a brutal year for a lot of things: the Broncos, Mark Zuckerberg, POTUS's Twitter account. But the Brutal Poodle, 1967 South Broadway, has spent the last twelve months feeding its Platt Park neighbors poodle bites (sausage wrapped in cornbread and deep fried) and a surprisingly excellent noodle bowl, so it's celebrating a year in business on Saturday, January 12, with its Very Brutal One Year Anniversary party. Starting at 11 a.m., the metal-themed bar will host live music on the patio, along with a dunk tank benefiting the (unfortunately named) dog rescue All Paws Matter, outdoor games, bars and grub. So dress in layers (swimsuit, long johns, onesie, winter coat) and get ready for a not-so-brutal day of fun.

LowDown Brewery + Kitchen, 800 Lincoln Street, is rolling out the barrel on Saturday, January 12, at its fourth annual Barrel-Aged Beer Festival. At 11 a.m., the doors open, and six of LowDown's own barrel-aged ales — ranging from IPAs to saisons to stouts — will be tapped, along with brews from Ratio Beerworks, Dry Dock Brewing, River North Brewery, Black Project and more. ABVs on these monsters range from 8.4 to over 12 percent, so take advantage of the brewpub's full menu to soak up the suds, and get there early for the best selection. No tickets are required for this fest; just show up and pay by the glass. Visit the brewery's Facebook page for the full tap list.

Ring in the New Year plus thirteen days at TAG this weekend.EXPAND
Ring in the New Year plus thirteen days at TAG this weekend.
Westword file photo

Sunday, January 13
If your job in the hospitality industry (or just your general curmudgeonliness) kept you from celebrating New Year's Eve in the manner it merits, fear not. TAG, 1441 Larimer Street, is rolling out an Industry New Year's Eve menu on Sunday, January 13, so all poor souls stuck at work (or just looking for a good meal — the menu is available to all) can break their resolutions in style. The four-course meal is available through Sunday, January 20, for $45 and boasts crispy pig ears; New York strip steak with black garlic sauce and buttermilk mashed potatoes; monkfish ravioli accompanied by uni soy butter, smoked olive oil and fried cauliflower; and an over-the-top Elvis bar for dessert (banana pastry cream, peanut butter pudding, chocolate glaze and bacon caramel). Reservations are recommended; make them on TAG's website.

Keep reading for future food and drink events.

Rebel's pig ear biscuit, one of the delicious dishes on its final menu.EXPAND
Rebel's pig ear biscuit, one of the delicious dishes on its final menu.
Mark Antonation

Thursday, January 24
It's a few weeks until Valentine's Day, but do yourself (and your bae or bestie) a favor by planning ahead — way ahead — and booking a seat at The Bindery's His & Hers dinner on Thursday, January 24. The "his" (chefs Bo Porytko and Dan Lasiy of the late, great Rebel Restaurant) and "her" (Linda Hampsten Fox, chef/owner of the Bindery, 1817 Central Street) are each taking on the same ingredients for seven courses, resulting in an epic fourteen-dish spread that's sure to capture the straight-up weirdness of Rebel, the refined creativity of the Bindery, and the magic that happens when the trio takes to the kitchen. Dinner runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and tickets ($109 on eventbrite.com) include one cocktail, tax and tip.

Saturday, January 26
You don't have to travel far and wide to be privy to interesting historic tidbits; Denver has plenty of them, and you'll hear more than a few on Atlas Obscura's Drinking History Tour. On Saturday, January 26, if you're a curious (and thirsty) historian, gather at 3:30 p.m. at the Buckhorn Exchange (which has the state's first liquor license), 1000 Osage Street, for a drink and the start of the three-hour tour (which won't be taken on the S.S. Minnow, but on public transportation). Stops include Union Station and a third surprise location. Early-bird tickets are on sale at eventbrite.com for $25 ($30 regular price). NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS SOLD OUT.

Chances are good you'll get some fresh sausage in Il Porcellino's meat CSA box.
Chances are good you'll get some fresh sausage in Il Porcellino's meat CSA box.
Courtesy Il Porcellino Salumi Facebook

Sunday, January 27
Il Porcellino Salumi, 4334 West 41st Avenue, expanded dramatically this year with the addition of a production facility in Basalt, and with its increased capacity, it's also bringing a slew of new products to market. One of those is the meat CSA the Berkeley shop is debuting in 2019. Just think of a typical summer produce CSA, but for carnivores. Each box comes with the makings for two meals for two people, such as polenta, shredded beef in chile sauce and a half-chicken marinated in white wine, butter and garlic. The program will run from January through March, with four boxes each month; customers for February (the first month of the CSA) must order by Sunday, January 27, and can pick up their goodies at the shop each Sunday, beginning February 3. A one-month commitment ($200) is required, so call 303-477-3206 to sign up, then say goodbye to hitting the grocery store and fretting about recalled ground beef for the next thirty days.

Friday, February 22, through Sunday, March 3
Denver Restaurant Week is coming, so clear your calendar from February 22 through March 3; you'll want to visit a different eatery every day. Hundreds of Denver’s top restaurants will offer multi-course dinners for three tasty prices ($25, $35 or $45) during the fifteenth year of the wildly popular week. Participating restaurants and menus will be up on Visit Denver on January 23; be sure you book your first choices right away, before someone else nabs your table.

Sunday, May 19 and Monday, May 20
Chefs and aspiring charcutiers will want to plan ahead for a Denver visit from the maestro of meat, Brian Polcyn, who will lead a butchery course next spring at Stir Cooking School, 3215 Zuni Street. Polcyn and author Michael Ruhlman will spend two days teaching students how to break down hogs using both USDA and European seam butchery techniques; how to work charcuterie into menus; and how to properly dry-cure and smoke cured meats. Recipes for pâté, fresh sausage and offal will be provided, as well as a copy of one of the duo's books (their third title, Pâté, Confit, Rillette, will be released May 19), a private cocktail hour and dinner with the pair. Tickets are $800 and are on sale now at Eventbrite.

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

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