Veganism aside, the burger still holds court as a staple dish. And thanks to its popularity, people are taking a spin on this classic meal and using it to support good causes.
“About nine years ago I started hearing about a burger competition in Miami called the Burger Bash,” says Jeremy Kossler, chief ambassador of Denver Burger Battle. Kossler took inspiration from the Florida-based competition and developed what has become the largest regional burger festival in Colorado. “The first year we sold 300 tickets, and we really had no idea what we were doing,” says Kossler. “We realized that if we got the burgers and beer right, everything else could be a work in progress and people would still be happy.”
Eight years later, the stakes are much higher as far as burgers (and ticket sales) go. With an average of 2,000 attendees, this meat-lover’s festival is sold out annually and stays true to its original focus: burgers, beer and making a difference. For the past five years, Denver Burger Battle has collaborated with the Kossler Foundation and other local nonprofits to donate to child welfare and hunger relief. This year’s outcome resulted in $40,000 raised with a grand total of more than $100,000 in the event’s eight-year history.
The battle features the top 16 restaurant burgers from around Colorado. “In order to discover them, we have a team of burger scouts who go around the state sampling burgers,” explains Kossler. “Once the top 16 are chosen, attendees can vote for their favorites using their barcoded tickets with the winners announced at the end of the event.” In 2017, Stoic & Genuine won People’s Choice and Stanley Beer Hall landed the Judges’ Choice.
This year’s event was held Aug. 3 at Tivoli Quad Park on the edge of downtown. Besides burgers, attendees can enjoy live music, boozy milkshakes, desserts and craft beer, wine and spirits. VIP tickets include entry into the event an hour early, specialty cocktails, and access to covered luxury lounges.
“We’ve resisted the temptation to be all things to all people,” Kossler says, “and just work really hard to do what we do best, which is showcasing the best burgers in Colorado.” denverburgerbattle.com