We were so excited when we found out that the Bacon and Beer Classic was returning once again to Flushing, Queens (not a lot of cool events happen here). Then we got even more psyched out of our minds when we found out that we can go since we had such a great time last year. The 2nd Annual Bacon and Beer Classic (aka BandBClassic) took place yesterday, April 25th at Citi Field Stadium. Last year, we attended the evening session so this year, we opted to go to the brunch session (12 P.M.- 3 P.M.).
VIP holders were allowed an hour early entrance and exclusive access to the field and dug out area. With that said, we were supposed to be let in at 11 A.M. However, they were behind schedule which was a bit of an annoyance. Prior to entering, bags were inspected and each ticket holder was subject to metal detector which I didn't mind at all (safety is important). Once we completed the initial process of entering, we were given the infamous red ceramic glasses and made our way up the escalator.
Upon arriving upstairs, a staff member handed us a map of the event: there were lots of restaurants and breweries to try (at least 100 different vendors!). There were a lot more people this year so the lines were longer. The one thing I noticed that was different with the early session was that a lot of the vendors weren't ready yet and that's something to consider if you plan to attend next year.
The first thing I tried was the Pineapple Bacon Chocolate Delice from Manila Social Club. It was a sweet confection made with powdered bacon fat and it was as tasty as it sounds. It was a small enough snack that definitely set the mood for event. I also loved Pig Guy NYC's Bacon S'mores (a thick cut of bacon covered in chocolate and rubbed with graham crackers). The line for Pig Guy NYC last year was so long, I didn't get a chance to try so I was determined to find them this time around. The dish was a great combination of sweet and savory. Naturally, one shouldn't make chocolate covered bacon a staple of their diet; it was very fitting for the fair theme and an excellent testament to excess. Another one of my favorites was Sweet Chili's Bacon on a Stick (I didn't get to take a picture of it because I just wanted to eat it right away). The name of the dish is far too simple. Yes, it was bacon on a stick but it was sweet and a little spicy. The one item that I waited a long time for was the Peanut Butter Bacon Burger from Whitmans. I was first in line and watching them prepare it was a delicious moment itself. The servers were well aware of the line and chopped up some bacon to be passed around as we waited eagerly but patiently. Like the Pig Guy NYC Bacon S'mores, this dish had savory meets sweet. The peanut butter began to melt once the burger was placed. While the burger was great, the bacon wasn't featured enough but was appreciated.I also really appreciated the Bacon Cauliflower Chowder I had from Blind Tiger Alehouse (once again, I didn't get to snap a photo because I was so cold and needed it in my belly). They were really smart to serve hot soup because it was freezing! Another local vendor I was really excited to try was Tipsy Scoop, I recently found out about them via Instagram and immediately wanted to get my hands on their boozy ice cream. I was so glad to finally get a taste (I had the Maple Bacon Bourbon and it was delightful). Apparently their ice cream is supposed to contain 5% alcohol. They gave out small sample scoops which were similar to the samples you'd get at Baskin-Robbins. The alcohol taste wasn't evident but the ice cream itself is worth trying. I also had to have more Bacon Mini Doughnuts from Sweet Dreams Mini Donuts and it was even better than last year! The Doughnuts must be tried fresh and as soon as possible. They melt in your mouth so wonderfully. Unfortunately, I didn't to try Schmackary's, Tres Carnes and La Crepe C'est Si Bon.
This was the Bacon and Beer Classic so it'd be silly to ignore the beer. Again, I was disappointed to see the return of the red ceramic cups. I like to look at my beer and admire its color but that just wasn't possible. I don't know what it is about these cups but people seemed to break one every few minutes. There were many breweries serving and I am sorry to say that I wasn't able to try everything. Time flies by at these things. My goal was to try beers that I've never tried before. MY thoughts will be brief, I wasn't able to sit down and contemplate each beer to the extent that they deserve.
10.Queens Brewery: Queens Blau- This was my first time trying any beer from this brewery. It was also the first beer I had at the event. While it's the lowest one on my list, its not a horrible beer. I just wasn't falling in love with it. Its said that it's fermented with blueberries but I wasn't able to taste of of those. It drinks clean with a texture similar to a lager but does end on a very ale note.
9. Flying Dog Brewery: Bloodline Blood Orange IPA- I'm pretty shocked to see Flying Dog so low on my list. I've liked most of their stuff but this beer didn't do much for me. The orange didn't really come through as strongly as I hoped and was mostly covered by high amounts of hops. Yes, they were citrus hops and yes this was an IPA but I was hoping for a better balance. This tasted like a slightly more citrus IPA. If that was their intent then they should have re-released their Single Hop Citra. The beer is worth trying but don't go for it expecting orange. The hops are heavy in the front and you finish with a light orange after taste.
8. Two Roads Brewing Company: Lil Heaven Session IPA- Not really my style. I ventured out of my comfort zone a little bit. This beer is very very very light. It's also very refreshing. I can easily envision the time and place for a beer like this. It's good hammock fair. Lay back in your lawn chair and enjoy a couple. While being light and low in alcohol it does have a bit of a hop bite to it.
7. Brewery Ommegang: Nirvana IPA- I was really excited about trying this. Ommegang makes one of my favorite beers(Three Philosophers) and I usually like their beers. I just wasn't impressed. Perhaps I'm holding them to too high of a pedestal. The beer tastes very traditional. Its not bad but there isn't much else going on. I was hoping they would put their own spin on it or something. The hops aren't too in your face which is good but there are other IPAs out there and this one didn't do enough to separate from them. For now, I'll just stick to drinking their mainstays like Three Philosophers and Abbey Ale.
6. Abita Brewing Company: Bourbon Street Barrel Aged Imperial Stout- I was surprised to see a bourbon stout being served. One doesn't think stout when they think of Spring/Summer and baseball. I used to be a big fan of bourbon barrel aged beers. I used to relish in that strong smell and almost thickening taste that wrapped around your tongue and would cling for long after the beer was finished. Then suddenly I lost all taste for them. I find the bourbon to often over power the beer. My new kick is rum Barrel aged beers. With that said, this was a fine beer. If you are going to be drinking a bourbon stout then you best expect to taste bourbon and..stout. The stout itself is very rich and thick. I best I'd love it without the bourbon. The bourbon flavor comes through strong and hard in this beer. If you like bourbon flavor in your stout then this beer is worth trying.
5.Founders Brewing Co: Rübæus- So here's what happened: I approached the server asking for more info about this beer. He said that it was made with raspberries and next thing I knew, I had the reddish-pink foam at the top of my glass. Like the bourbon stout, you really got to consider what the beer is. I hate this style of beer. I was happy that it wasn't sour and I didn't finish it. My problems with it? Well, it was heavy on the raspberries and sweet but not tart. It drank more like a carbonated juice. Which i suppose is what someone drinking a fruit beer would want. Which is good for the style.
4. Great South Bay Brewery: Blood Orange Pale Ale- Now we are talking! This is the blood orange beer you drink when you want to really taste the orange. First it smells like fresh oranges. There's hops of course but they aren't taking center stage. You taste more sweet orange than hop flavors.
3.Anchor Brewing Company: Anchor Saison Spring Ale- Oh my god! I really liked this beer. Had this been the last beer I tried it would have been my number one. You get this rush of stone fruit and yeast. The beer is light on hops and drinks super easy. I plan to buy a bottle to drink for a proper review. There was a lot going on here that I wasn't able to properly appreciate. I liked it and I recommended it.
2. Central Waters Brewing Company: Experimental Belgian Stout- WOW! I've never tried anything like this before. Its like a stout meets a quad. On want a full bottle all to myself. You get stone fruit mixed with that rich roasted barely. Its thick like a stout should be but goes down sweet and relaxed. Just buy it. Just go out and buy it.
1. Finch's Beer Company: Hardcore Chimera-Warning!! This beer contains 9% ABV. You barely taste it. It's so accessible. The beer is sweet and drinks like candy. The hop flavor mellows out during the whole sip as if its tasking a leisurely stroll through your mouth.
We had a great time at the event and wish that there was more time to try everything. This event is definitely one of those events where you and your friends need to come ready with a game plan. I'm certainly looking forward to next year's! The event is still in its infancy and needs to work out a lot of kinks. A major advantage it has is the non food and beverage related entertainment such as the Bungee Run.
Judges tasted as many eats as possible to make their decisions. The winners are as follows:
Best Sweet Dish- Pig Guy NYC- bacon s'mores on a stick
Best Savory Dish- BarBacon
Best Overall- Sweet Chili- "pork-gasm"
People's Choice- Rudy's Original Cheesecake Drops- bacon infused
Winning beers from Abita Brewing, Southern Tier Brewery and Original Sin Hard Cider.
Best Sweet Dish- Pig Guy NYC- bacon s'mores on a stick...Again!
Best Savory Dish- Hard Times Sundaes- with meat from Schweid and Sons
Best Overall- Route 66 Smokehouse
Best Use of Bacon- John's of Times Square- pizza
Bacon and Beer Classic is a nationwide tour and the next stop is Seattle, WA at Safeco Field this weekend, Saturday, May 2.
Can't wait 'til next year to feast on bacon? Check out the Great Big Bacon Picnic!