Food lovers, make room for Denver on your culinary circuit. And, if you can, get to this food-loving, craft beer-guzzling, farmer’s market-adoring city this fall. You’ll be generously rewarded with not just good eats, but also some perfect patio weather and food festivals you’ll want to write home about.
Here are five reasons you should treat your taste buds to a trip to Denver.
Get a ‘Taste’ of Colorado
Denver bids farewell to summer with a huge food (and music) festival in downtown. The Taste of Colorado, in early September in Civic Center Park, draws dozens of restaurants that show off their standout menu items sold as “tastes” (read: small bites). You can get fried alligator from Bayou Bob’s Seafood & Southern Cookin’, some roasted corn and black bean tacos from Chuey Fu’s Latin Asian Grub, and then a coffee-rubbed, bacon-wrapped chicken skewer courtesy of Pazzo’s. And that’s just warming up.
Plus, the weekend is packed with free concerts that will spark some nostalgia.
Raise a Pint to Denver
First, the bad news, the Great American Beer Festival (or GABF) in late September sells out quickly. It’s a popular festival, surely. The lucky few (OK, more like lucky 60,000) get the chance to sample 3,800-some beers from more than 800 breweries. Plus, there are artisan cheese samples. But, here’s the thing: Denver is a brewery-dense city and you can get on a brew tour of your own or make some visits to the city’s best, like Denver Beer CO, Great Divide Brewing Company, and Lost Highway Brewing -- all of which will have booths at the beer festival.
When you come to Denver during the beer fest, you’ll be in good company with beer-loving, pretzel-necklace wearing tourists. Plus, the city is all about its beer during the festival. Nearby the Convention Center, The Nickel Diner inside Hotel Teatro will offer up late-night eats each night post-GABF. Treat your beer belly to tater tots, charcuterie, house-made pretzels, buttermilk pancakes, chicken and waffles with a Tabasco honey, and a chicken-fried steak sandwich made with bourbon honey mustard and pepper jam.
Come for Oktoberfest
If you miss out on Great American Beer Festival tickets, fret not because -- oompah! -- you can make it for Oktoberfest. See how Denver does the German tradition, complete with sausage and sauerkraut as well as steins of beer. Oktoberfest is celebrated two weekends in September and October and is held in the historic district of Denver at 20th and Larimer Streets.
Food Truck Lunches
Why wait for festivals to enjoy the food truck culture. In Denver, locals get lunch during the workweek at Civic Center Park, which is in the heart of the city and across from the Capitol building. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, food trucks fill the park during the lunch hours, which is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.for Civic Center Eats.
Bottomless Margarita Brunches
This epic brunch isn’t limited to just fall, but we especially enjoy it during the autumn. The patio at Tamayo boasts awesome views but is also covered, which can be good for the unpredictable weather. Will it be balmy and 80 in October or snowing? Who knows - but let’s not take our meals indoors just yet. Here’s the low-down on this brunch: $39 gets you unlimited Mexican small plates, like tacos and tortas and then spins on traditional breakfasts, like Pan Dulce, the restaurant's interpretation of French Toast, made with strawberries, bananas, Nutella, chipotle-cajeta sauce, and crema fresca.
Oh, let us not forget: You’ll also get unlimited breakfast cocktails and the restaurant is famous for its margaritas.