On a cloudless Sunday morning in late January, beer drinkers and eager foodies buzz around Goldspot Brewing Company in Berkeley and line the block for the first installment of Homos & Homies, a bi-monthly pop-up event featuring queer and BIPOC food vendors, artists, and makers. With the garage door wall rolled up, patrons mingle amongst the twinkly lights of the cozy taproom and the brisk outdoors. The air is saturated with the smell of sizzling red-chile-sauce-lathered corn tortillas filled with hibiscus flowers and melted cheese. Lining the red bricked walls are energetic and dreamy mixed-media portraits from the Queer series by local artist Shaunie B.

Homos & Homies is a collaboration between Cholo Ass Vegan, the Easy Vegan, and the HungryTreeHugger, with other rotating vendors at future events. After connecting at the Queertoberfest event at Goldspot Brewing Company last year, David Alires of Cholo Ass Vegan and Taylor Herbert and Alexi Mandolini of the Easy Vegan concocted a plan to engage the community and put their meatless spin on familiar dishes via the bi-monthly pop-up event. “We like to consider ourselves intersectional vegans because a lot of times vegans get a lot of heat for only caring about animal suffering. And that’s not us. We care about everyone who’s been marginalized, from animals to humans, anyone who’s experienced oppression,” says Alires, referring to the mission behind Cholo Ass Vegan to make plant-based food more accessible to Denverites. “To bring this idea of intersectional veganism to light, we have to work with organizations doing this work, like Frontline Farming, whose mission really aligns with us.”

Like the event organizers, Frontline Farming (which has been a beneficiary of former Goldspot Brewing events) also works at the intersection of food and community, and as one of Goldspot Brewing Company’s community partners, they were chosen to receive 10 percent of all proceeds from the event. Frontline Farming aims to elevate the narratives of farmers of color and create greater equity across our food systems in Colorado. The organization kicked off its BIPOC farming apprenticeship program in April, which supports emerging to intermediate farmers in gaining fundamental skills to move toward personal and communal food sovereignty.

Vegan food from the Homos & Homies event in January. Photo by Marianne Manzler
Vegan food from the Homos & Homies event in January. Photo by Marianne Manzler

Alires, Herbert, and Madolini also wanted the event’s artwork to represent the colorful personalities of the event organizers and intersectionality of the event, so they commissioned local graphic designer Brayan Montes-Terrazas to create the event poster. “This is the side of my business where I get to make fun and colorful products that speak to who I am as an artist, an immigrant, and a queer person,” Montes-Terrazas says. “I’m super passionate about community building through art and helping more Latinos, queer people, disabled people, and people of color in general come up in the creative industry. Things like this help build trust within the community, businesses, and give voice to marginalized voices.”

Seven-year-old Goldspot Brewery, which is a queer-owned and operated  community gathering spot, became the perfect venue for Homos & Homies. In addition to serving craft beer, it is dedicated to offering a welcome space for LGBTQ communities. Head brewer Kelissa Hieber took over as sole owner during the pandemic and wants her brewery to not only be a safe space, but be at the forefront of change for the industry as a whole. “We do a bunch of cool community events, because making the industry more diverse and welcoming is definitely my top priority. I started in this industry as a 24 year-old gay woman—can you imagine how easy it was?” Hieber says. As the co-chair of the diversity, inclusion, and equity committee of the Colorado Brewers Guild, Hieber believes outreach events like Homos & Homies will help pave a path for a more inclusive and diverse craft brewing community in Denver and beyond.

While the event features rotating vendors and events, attendees can expect to enjoy sips like Goldspot’s tart Fozzy Pear sour and the balanced and refreshing I Can See Queerly Now Hazy IPA. Bites to look for include Cholo Ass Vegan’s coveted hibiscus flower birria tacos; the Easy Vegan’s loaded pierogi potato, a garlic whipped spud with Italian-style walnut “meat,” caramelized onion, and kraut; and HungryTreeHugger’s mindfully-crafted blueberry lavender doughnut, a dessert made from scratch with local ingredients that will nourish both your body and soul.

Mark your calendars for the next event on Sunday, March 6 from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. admission is free; 4970 Lowell Blvd.

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