Craft beer or Mooncakes? Head to West Denver to get both at Suave Fest and the Mid-Autumn Festival

Celebrate Latinx craft beer brewers at Steam on the Platte and then head to the Far East Center to celebrate the harvest and a bountiful year.
5 min. read
A moon cake-eating contest at the Far East Center’s second Mid-Autumn Festival celebration. Westwood, Sept. 10, 2022.

West Denver will play host to two cultural festivals that will feature music, dancing, contests, craft beers and mooncakes this coming Saturday.

Starting at 12 p.m., Raices Brewing Co. and the nonprofit Cultura will host their third Suave Fest, a Latinx craft beer festival bringing together 18 different Latinx breweries from across the country.

And starting at 2 p.m., the Far East Center will be hosting their 3rd annual Mid-Autumn Festival, an Asian holiday that gives thanks for the bounties received this year.

(Full disclosure: Denverite is a media partner for both events and we will have a table at both events. Stop by and say hello!)

Suave Fest started in 2019 as a way to highlight Latinx beer brewers while also bringing awareness to the lack of diversity in the craft beer industry.

According to the Brewers Association, Denver is home to about 94 breweries. Five of those have Latino owners; Raices, Novel Strand Brewing Co. (which is partially Black-owned), Dos Luces Brewery, Los Dos Potrillos Cervecería and Cheluna Brewing Co, which is in Aurora and billed as the first Latino-owned brewery in Colorado.

Lindsey, Adrian, Jessica and Alma Vargas. Suave Fest, by Raices Brewing, Sept. 14, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Across the industry, Latino-ownership is at about half a percent, though the population accounts for more than 14% of consumers, according to Raices owner Jose Beteta.

"We're hugely under-represented in craft beer," Beteta previously said. "This is an industry with a lot of opportunity, and we want to encourage other Latinos to come into this industry and tap into it. We consume it. We love the culture behind it, and we want to be a part of it."

Besides introducing consumers to Latinx-owned breweries, Suave Fest also focuses on introducing other minorities to the brewery-owning world. The event is a place where folks can network and learn how to get into the industry.

But it's also about the variety.

Judd Belstock, owner of Dos Luces Brewery and Jose Beteta, owner of Raíces Brewing Co. Beteta is also the founder of Suave Fest, a Latin beer festival happening in Denver, Sept. 14, 2019. (Xandra McMahon/CPR News)

This year, the festival will feature 18 Latinx-owned breweries and 10 collaborating breweries with over 40 beer varieties. There's Roundhead Brewing Co., the first Latino-owned brewery in Massachusetts and Olentangy River Brewing Co. from Ohio. There's also several breweries from Puerto Rico including Dragon Stone Abbey Brewing Co and Reina Mora Brewing Co.

And of course there will be brewers from Colorado such as Lady Justice, Comrade, Chain Reaction and Jade Mountain.

Besides the beer, there will be a ton of musical acts including Orquesta La Brava and Mono Verde Collective. And no worries, there will be plenty of non-alcoholic options.

Suave Fest will run from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Steam on the Platte, 1401 Zuni St.

Just a few blocks away at the Far East Center, the community vibes will be the same.

The Center invites all Denverites to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, a yearly holiday celebrated across Asian communities. Mid-Autumn, also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival in Chinese culture, celebrates gathering the harvest, giving thanks and praying for another bountiful year.

In Chinese culture, the holiday also coincides with Harvest Moon, the full moon that occurs closest to the fall equinox which was Saturday, Sept. 23. The Harvest Moon this year will rise on Friday, Sept. 29.

All kinds of food for sale at the Far East Center's second Mid-Autumn Festival celebration. Westwood, Sept. 10, 2022.

Mimi Luong, owner of Truong An Gifts and property manager of the center, said the festival is also about bringing awareness to Asian culture and West Denver.

"Our neighborhoods have been here for a long time, but they haven't been recognized much," Luong previously said. "[These events] make people more aware of the Little Saigon District and it gives us a chance to share our culture, our traditions."

These will be on display via the food, vendors, contests and entertainment.

Speaking of food, the festival will have more than 40 vendors, including Celestial Bakery, Now Pho, Mukja Food Truck, plus there's several tea vendors like The Alley Boba and Tea Street providing boba drinks, milk teas and Thai teas.

Josh Chow pulls ahead in a moon cake-eating contest at the Far East Center's second Mid-Autumn Festival celebration. Westwood, Sept. 10, 2022.

There's also something for those who are into competitive eating.

Vinh Xuong Bakery will be supplying the extra large mooncakes for a mooncake eating competition. A mooncake is a thick Asian pastry, typically filled with a sweet bean paste. Last year, Josh Chow downed a mooncake about the size of his head in about 10 minutes.

And, of course the event will feature the traditional pho eating competition that's a staple at most of the Far East Center events. There will be two competitions to enter this year with pho provided by Pho Hong and Saigon Bowl.

New to this year's event are the children's lantern decorating contents for kids 14 years old and younger and a karaoke contest.

The event is not all about fueling your competitive side, thought. Live performances include a dragon performance from the Shaolin Hung Mei Association, a lion dance from Colorado Asian Cultural Heritage Center, a fire show from the Kalama Polynesian Dancers and a dance performance from the Royals team.

There will also be a K-Pop area where DJ Inneseoul will spin popular Korean tunes.

The Mid-Autumn Festival will be from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Far East Center at 333 S. Federal Blvd.

Royals, the k-pop dance group, performs at the Far East Center's second Mid-Autumn Festival celebration. Westwood, Sept. 10, 2022.

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