Photos: Denver Burger Battle sizzles despite a downpour

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All photos by Lori Midson.

The Denver Burger Battle opened to a wet -- very wet -- start last night, when rain threatened to turn all that beef into a massive river of particles floating down Speer Boulevard. But while the first thirty minutes of the annual ode to burgers -- which took place at Sculpture Park -- kept the crowds huddling under their umbrellas, Mother Nature played nice for the rest of the evening, allowing hundreds of burger fanatics to feast until the flames finally subsided around 10 p.m.

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Twelve restaurants -- Park Burger, Juicy Burgers & Dogs, Grind, Larkburger, Highland Tap & Burger, Candlelight Tavern, TAG Burger Bar, Jax Fish House, EDGE, Punch Bowl Social, Linger and Crave -- competed for the Best Burger in Denver title, and the showdown, judged by the public, as well as a panel of chefs, including Lon Symensma (ChoLon), Biker Jim (Biker Jim's Dogs), Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja, Bistro Vendome and Euclid Hall) and Brandon Biederman (ACE), culminated in wins for three restaurants: Park Burger, whose towering burger was topped with giardiniera, truffled garlic aioli, leafy lettuce, pancetta and provolone, was awarded first place by the judges, while the beefy "Godzilla" bomb from TAG Burger Bar -- butter lettuce, teriyaki sauce and shiitake mushrooms stacked on an excellent poppyseed-sunflower-and-sesame seed bun -- waltzed away with the people's choice award; Crave and Park Burger came in second and third, respectively.

The burger combat -- now its own spectator sport -- is hosted every year by founders Jeremy and Kelly Kossler, and it's definitely one of the city's best food-related events, plus the proceeds benefit the Kossler Foundation, which distributes funds to local charities.

In case you missed last night's revelry, you can live vicariously through our photos on the next page -- and in our extended slide show.

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