Denver's 10 Can't-Miss September Culinary Events

Highlights include the Great American Beer Festival, a James Beard Foundation celebrity-chef dinner and a soiree with Rick Tramonto
August 31, 2015
by Lori Midson

September is perpetually drenched in beer, and while the Great American Beer Festival — the biggest brew powwow in the country — is at the heart of it all, there are plenty of other food, beer and wine bashes in Denver this month. Here are our top 10 picks for ending the summer on a high note.

A Taste of Colorado

When: September 4–7 
Where: Civic Center Park; Broadway and Colfax Ave.
What: This weekend-long food bonanza takes place over Labor Day weekend and features eats from more than 50 restaurants, food trucks and street-food vendors. While turkey legs, nachos and popcorn dominate much of the fest, the fine-dining pavilion is center stage for cooking demos and bites from some of Denver's top restaurants, including Guard and Grace, Coohills, Beast + Bottle, Sarto's, Central Bistro and Bar, Lola, Linger and D Bar. Admission is free, and food tickets start at $10. Check out the website for the full spectrum of participating restaurants.

Denver Food and Wine Festival

When: September 9–12
Where: Metropolitan State University of Denver, Ninth St. and Auraria Pkwy., next to the Tivoli
What: This annual food, wine and spirits classic plays host to numerous culinary events, including Saturday's Grand Tasting (1–4 PM), which features bites from 35 Denver restaurants, more than 700 wine, spirit and cocktail tastings, culinary demos from local and national chefs and a VIP lounge that includes specialty wines coupled with tastes from Osteria Marco, Russel's Smokehouse, Mizuna, Luca, Work & Class, Argyll Whisky Beer and ChoLon, among others. Tickets to the Grand Tasting range from $95 for general admission to $250 for VIP admittance, and are available for purchase here. For a comprehensive agenda of the weekend's festivities, which also include a Riedel glass seminar and an end-of-summer cocktail competition and cookout, visit the Denver Food and Wine Festival website.

Rick Tramonto Dinner at Panzano

When: September 10
Where: Panzano; 909 17th St.
What: James Beard Award–winning chef, cookbook author and former Top Chef judge chef Rick Tramonto (pictured above) is joining Elise Wiggins in her kitchen at Panzano tonight for a collaborative four-course dinner inspired by Amuse-Bouche and Steak with Friends, two of Tramonto's cookbooks. The shindig starts at 6 PM in the lobby of the Hotel Monaco, just adjacent to Panzano, and dinner, paired with wines, follows at 6:30 PM. Tickets, exclusive of tax and gratuity, are $100 per person for seating in the main dining room, and $125 per person if you want to snag a stool at the chef's counter. All guests receive an autographed copy of Tramonto's Steak with Friends cookbook; make reservations at 303-296-3525. 

James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour at Infinite Monkey Theorem

When: September 11
Where: Infinite Monkey Theorem; 3200 Larimer St.
What: Denver's top kitchen magicians, including Troy Guard (Guard & Grace), Justin Brunson (Old Major), Jeff Osaka (Osaka Ramen), Jeff Cleary (Grateful Bread), Paul Reilly (Beast + Bottle) and Kelly Whitaker (Cart-Driver and Basta), along with a quartet of national chefs — including Adam Sappington from Country Cat in Portland, Oregon — are gathering at the Infinite Monkey Theorem tonight for the James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour dinner, a multicourse feast paired with Infinite Monkey Theorem wines. The doors open at 6:30 PM and seats are $155 per person. To purchase tickets, call 303-736-8376 or go to the Denver Celebrity Chef Tour website.

Festival Italiano at Belmar

When: September 12–13
Where: Belmar; 464 S. Teller St., Lakewood
What: This convivial two-day festival transforms Belmar into a Tuscan village showcasing Italian wines, beers and food — cannolis, pizza, gelato and more — plus there are sausage-making demos, a grape stomp for kids, live entertainment, chalk artists and flag throwers. Admission is free; for a full schedule of events, visit the website.

Fill a Plate for Hunger

When: September 16
Where: Denver Botanic Gardens; 1007 York St.
What: Tonight's third annual Fill a Plate for Hunger benefiting We Don’t Waste — a nonprofit that recovers unused food from different venues and events and delivers it to underserved communities — takes place at the Denver Botanic Gardens, beginning at 5:30 PM. Highlights include innovative small plates and appetizers from Ocean Prime, Rioja, Corridor 44, Billy’s Inn, Oceanaire, The Palm, TAG, Russell’s Smokehouse, Ted’s Montana Grill, LoHi Steakbar, Cru, ChoLon and Metro State University’s Hospitality School. Tickets, priced at $100 each, are on sale here.

GrowHaus Fall Pop-up Dinner

When: September 17
Where: The GrowHaus; 4751 York St.
What: The GrowHaus (pictured above), a nonprofit indoor farm in north Denver dedicated to food production, food education and food distribution, is hosting a pop-up dinner tonight to benefit its También program, a monthly donation-based membership club that supports The GrowHaus' programming. The three-course dinner kicks off at 6 PM and includes dishes from Rioja, the Plimoth, The Squeaky Bean, Bakin' Bakery and Little Man Ice Cream, along with cocktails from Peach Street Distillers and beers from Jagged Mountain Brewery. Tickets, available here, are $50 for También members and $75 for nonmembers, although if you sign up pre-event for a También membership, you'll get a reduced dinner ticket price. Bonus: all new members will be entered into a drawing to win a "Day in Denver" prize package that includes a $50 gift card to Snooze, two Museum of Nature and Science tickets and a one-day workshop at the Botanical Gardens.

Work & Class and Black Project Spontaneous and Wild Ales

When: September 21
Where: Work & Class; 2500 Larimer St.
What: A collaboration between Black Project Spontaneous and Wild Ales and Work & Class, tonight's five-course dinner (here's a peek at the menu) at the RiNo hot spot features dishes from chef Dana Rodriguez paired with a half-dozen spontaneously fermented beers, including Honey Saison, Dreamland, Dreamland Laws and Peaches, Kalmar Gose, Blueberry Dreamland and the Ramjet Cherry Sour. The dinner kicks off at 6:30 PM with a reception, and tickets, on sale here, are $75 each.

Great American Beer Festival

When: September 24–26
Where: Colorado Convention Center; 700 14th St.
What: Every year, thousands of hopsheads descend upon the Mile High City for the country's largest beer festival, hosting more than 800 breweries and 3,700 beers from across the nation. And while suds are the primary draw, there's also a space dedicated to craft beers (not available anywhere else at the festival) paired with innovative small plates from national and local chefs, including Alex Seidel (Fruition), Kelly Whitaker (Cart-Driver and Basta), Daniel Asher (Root Down, Linger and Ophelia's), Frank Bonanno (Bonanno Concepts) and Alex Figura (Lower48 Kitchen). The festival is sold out, but there are plenty of face-value tickets for sale on Craigslist — and there are always throngs of people outside the Colorado Convention Center with tickets up for grabs.

Avery Brewing Late-Night Breakfast at Euclid Hall

When: September 24
Where: Euclid Hall; 1317 14th St.
What: Dozens of food-and-beer events take place at other venues during the Great American Festival, but the Avery midnight breakfast at Euclid Hall is a can’t-miss GABF tradition. Billed as a late-night beer-centric feast of epic proportions, the culinary crew at Euclid, along with the team from Avery Brewing Co., create a multicourse breakfast that's paired with Avery brews like 5 Monks, Antonius Carmen, Tectum Et Elix and Fortuna, plus a few other surprises from the cellar. The doors unlock at 10:15 PM and breakfast gets under way at 10:30 PM. Tickets, available here, are $125 per person, including tax and gratuity.

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