I’m a pretty open-minded drinker. Aside from mezcal (which tends to taste too much like ashtray), I will happily sip just about any spirit, be it over ice (when good enough) or in a cocktail (always). But no matter the season or the occasion, as of about 8 p.m., the only liquid in my glass is whiskey. Bourbon, single malt, and rye all fit the bill, and over my time in Colorado—coming up on three years now—I’ve fallen hard for our local iterations.

Which is why, when I heard whispers about tomorrow’s the Whisky X, an event featuring “brown water” tastings from local and national distillers, some of Denver’s best chefs and food trucks, and a concert by alternative country band Drive-By Truckers, I marked it on my calendar in pen.

Chef-owner Paul C. Reilly (Beast & Bottle, Coperta) felt the same way. “Chefs are asked to participate in so many events,” he said, “but this sounded different and fun.” Throw in a live concert, and Reilly, known for his love of music, couldn’t say no. As he planned what he’d cook for the Whisky X crowd, he mused on the time he spent studying in England during college and a tour of the Scottish Highlands. “It was terrible weather: windy, raining,” Reilly reminisced. “Halfway through [the tour], we ducked into a pub outside Aberdeen. I had a dram of scotch and a bowl of smoked haddock chowder, and the match tasted to me like one of the great pairings on earth.” He’ll bring a similar chowder to the VIP part of the Whisky X, confident the smoky, caramel notes of the booze will be delicious with his hearty soup. (Hopefully, the weather will be Denver-sunny.)

Courtesy of Whisky X

Chefs Elise Wiggins (Cattivella), Tommy Lee (Uncle, Hop Alley), Jennifer Jasinski (Ultreia, Rioja, Stoic & Genuine, Bistro Vendôme, Euclid Hall), and Max Mackissock (Bar Dough, Señor Bear) will also be cooking for VIP ticket holders. And everyone at the party can purchase tasty food truck fare from the likes of the Colorado Pig Rig, Radical Sasquatch Dumpling Company, Rolling Smoke BBQ, Hangry Ohana, and more.

Rob Dietrich, head distiller at Stranahan’s, is also looking forward to pouring his Original and Diamond Peak single malt whiskies at the event. “We’re excited to be a part to represent [Colorado]. Having a local presence there with all the other big names is key.” Other local distillers include Old Town Distilling Co., Mile High Spirits, 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company, and Vapor Distillery.

Let’s drink to that.

Attendees must be 21 years of age or older to attend The WhiskyX Denver and a government-issued photo ID is required for admittance. A VIP ticket costs $125/person and includes early entry (6:00 p.m.), access to special tastings, exclusive dishes from some of Denver’s most acclaimed chefs, interactive lifestyle experiences, the live musical performance by Drive-By Truckers, and more. A General Admission ticket costs $75/person and includes entry at 7:30 p.m., access to interactive whiskey and lifestyle experiences, and the live concert.
 The Whisky X Denver, Friday, October 13 at The Wings Over The Rockies Air & Space Museum 7711 East Academy Boulevard, 303-360-5360

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.