Sunday, May 15, 2011

2011 Beer and Bacon Festival 2011 Recap

This post is embarrassingly late (two weeks after actual event) but I wanted to share the awesomeness that is the Boston Beer and Bacon Festival before even more time passed by. You got a taste for what event was like last week, but here is more of an in-depth analysis of the second annual festival. Was it better than last year's? Read on and find out!

Learning our lesson from last year's line, we made sure to arrive at the Royale a full hour before the Fest was supposed to start. There was already a line forming outside, but I would say there was only around 30 people in front of us.  They opened the doors early (which was a blessing since it was chilly outside) but it was really only to herd us inside for another checkpoint. Our early arrival meant that we got a coveted spot on the stairs rather than being stuck in the large mass of people behind the ticket-takers:

When the event actually opened up, we made a mad dash for the first tables we could see.  As you saw last week, the Fireplace was the first place we hit and it was my favorite of the night. I almost wish I had it later in the night, because at this point, we were scarfing down food as fast as we could to make sure we could hit as many tables as we could (last year, we missed a bunch of tables since they ran out of food before we reached them).  Our strategy was, one person waited in the food line and grabbed two plates while the other grabbed both TINY beer cups to wait in the beer line. While Amy looks happy holding this prosciutto/pork rind dish, none of us liked it very much. It felt like a lot of pork product slapped onto a plate without much thought for flavor and texture.

Bacon flavored cotton candy was an unexpected surprise and took us all back to childhood. It didn't taste bacon-y, it was more smokey than anything else but still a fun twist on the flavor theme.

Andrew's favorite dish of the night was the chili (apologies on not remembering any of the restaurants associated with these dishes, it was just too fast-paced to be able to capture names or take pictures at the tables) although I don't enjoy it as much unless it's served over rice (that's the Asian in me!)

I think Phu was the only member of the group that was tempted by the pate dish - can you tell from his face how much he loves pate?

I had never heard of the brewery Clown Shoes, but not only did they have a creative name but I would say hands-down had the most creative roster of beers. I didn't enjoy it very much but everyone else in the group voted their Pecan Pie beer the best of the night:

It was crazy to look over the railing at one point (there were food and beer tables on both levels of the Royale) and see how packed it was! Even though the venue and the guest list were smaller than last year, it certainly didn't feel like it in terms of flow. However, I have to say that compared to last year, there was ample opportunity to make it around to all the tables and get something to try. I think the smaller guest list and better preparation by the vendors ensured that everyone got their money's worth of bacon dishes and beer. We were literally full half-way through and started selectively picking things to try rather than frantically trying to visit every table just to score some food.

 I still think it was amazing that we were all able to score tickets this (Amy and Merissa got through individually when the tickets were on sale online) and let me just say, our group did themselves proud in "winning" the Boston Beer and Bacon Festival!

At this point, I was so stuffed but I made myself take a Bacon-wrapped date from Garden at the Cellar just because I had read so many good things about Will Gilson (plus, he's the co-organizer of the event). Unfortunately, I don't think I'm much of a date person (it was too sweet and mealy in texture for me) but I appreciated the sweet/salty combo in flavor:
This guy was hilarious - high energy all night, singing, dancing and cooking like a rockstar even until the end of the event when other tables were running out of food (I'm really regretting not being able to give props to the restaurant he works at): 

This is what he was giving out, I think its official name was "Fried Awesome". His title, not mine.  All I remember is a fried mass with some honey mustard-like sauce on top. Not as awesome as the chef who served it but I appreciated his effort in making it.
One of my favorite photos of the night, taken near the end when we had stopped eating and focused on drinking as much beer as possible. Clearly, Phu and I found something hilarious but really, this photo captures the fun and spirit of the Fest: 

It's moments like these that I realize how lucky I am to live so close to my sister so we are able to experience zany events like this. I can think of no other person who loves beer and bacon as much as she does. After all, she was an inaugural participant at Atwood's bacon eating contest (I think way back in 2005 or 2006), so that pretty much seals her claim as Boston Bacon royalty, haha!
As we were getting (literally) the last drops out of the Sam Adams kegs, Phu let his inner engineer shine by getting a first-hand look at their specially-rigged cooler/keg/dispensers. 

I'll end the recap with this shot of Andrew and Amy gleefully celebrating scoring the last drops of beer in the room from Blue Hills Brewery:

I can't wait to see what Will and Aaron have up their sleeves for next year - count me in!

1 comment:

spongeamy said...

awww, yay!! :) so much fun!