The combination of cheese, bread and beer has been one of the greatest and most commonly appreciated pairings in the western modern culinary tradition — and for good reason. Shameless decadence has been particularly important in shaping American food, particularly in the last 10 or 15 years. So it would be only natural that Denver is getting a proper festival combining the two. Fortunately, these are civilized times, and multiple groups see the obvious value of an event like this.

Coming this fall there will be two unconnected celebrations paying homage to the grilled cheese. Each will place its own nail in the coffin of bikini season, properly ushering in the fall and winter where beer-bellies and sandwich-paunches can be well disguised under sweatshirts and winter coats.

Despite being put on by different groups the two events have a remarkably similar format. Both include unlimited samples of food, with an open bar and early access being made available to VIP patrons, and both will be donating to a local charity. The first of the two unrelated events will take place next Saturday, October 6 at the Denver Rock Drill. The Mile High Grilled Cheese and Beer Fest will be at two-session feast offering unlimited bites from some of the city’s most notable contenders.

The Denver Grilled Cheese Festival will follow suit on November 14. The midweek festival will be a single session, and presumably a danger and a revelation for the emboldened hump-day crowd.

Photo by Brittni Bell.

The Mile High Grilled Cheese Fest will have participating chefs including XATRUCHO’s Edwin Sandoval, Beatrice & Woodsley’s William Johnson, Edible Beats’ William Harris, Get Fed Concepts’ Taylor West and Savanna Thoemmes, The Kitchen’s Peter Getty, STK’s Jeremy Hill, Éclat Culinary’s Samantha New and WHYLD Hospitality’s Devi Green. The drink line-up is still under wraps but should be revealed in the next few days. The chefs’ years of combined culinary experience is sure to bring an interesting diversity to the comfort food staple.

Sixteen different participants will be involved in peddling their grilled cheese at the Denver Grilled Cheese Festival. The restaurants include Kentucky Inn, The Corner Office, Euclid Hall, The Whiskey Biscuit, Denver Burger Battle winner Stanley Beer Hall, Briar Common and others. Drinks will be provided by Oskar Blues, Odell Brewing, Briar Common, Ratio Beerworks, Stranahan’s Whiskey and Whiteclaw.

Photo by Jackie Collins

The Mile High Grilled Cheese Fest will sponsor Minds Matter of Denver, a charity organization committed to helping kids from low-income families get into college. Participating students are paired with multiple adult mentors and take part in after-school sessions that focus on college application writing, standardized test preparation, community service and writing and speaking skills.

The Denver Grilled Cheese Fest will donate to Imagination Library of Denver, the local partner of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library — a program gifting that sends free, high-quality books on a monthly basis to children from birth until the age of five, regardless of family income. Few combinations have yet to prove themselves better than beer and grilled cheese, so to add education to the mix makes the events a nearly unstoppable force of good.

The Mile High Grilled Cheese Fest takes place on Saturday, October 6 in two sessions, the first from 2 – 5 p.m. and the second from 6 – 9 p.m., with VIP sessions starting 30 minutes earlier. The event is at Denver Rock Drill at 1648-1798 East 40th Ave., Denver. Tickets are available here.

The Denver Grilled Cheese Fest takes place on Wednesday, November 14 from 7 – 10 p.m., with a VIP session starting an hour earlier. The event is at Mile High Station at 2027 West Lower Colfax Ave., Denver. Tickets are available here.

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