Artisan indulgence at NYC Bacon and Beer Classic
Countless scores of meat lovers and craft beer aficionados from all around the tri-state area descended on CitiField baseball park, home of the NY Mets in Queens, to indulge in their fill of pork and brews at the NYC Bacon and Beer Classic. The unseasonably chilly weather did not deter the crowds from enjoying cold beers from a variety of artisan breweries across the country, as well as sampling seemingly endless options of inventive bacon-based dishes from local food vendors.
The event was set up in two upper tiers of the stadium, with field and dugout access granted only to VIP ticketholders. The price of admission was all-inclusive for food and drink, making “pigging out” not only encouraged, but expected – and attendees heartily obliged.
Food vendor lines grew the quickest for fare that leaned heavily toward the gastronomic “sweet and savory” trend, all featuring bacon as the star ingredient. Plenty of maple bacon options were available, and the growing popularity of this combination made it the more pedestrian choice. Other selections ranged from standard favorites like peanut butter bacon burgers, bacon chili and bacon-wrapped grilled pineapple skewers, to creative inventions such as “spreadable” bacon jams, bacon “blondie” brownies and bacon cream cheese-stuffed soft pretzels. Even man’s best friend wasn’t left out: Dog Foodie specializes in “dognola” – granola-based “treats you both can eat.” Their limited edition bags of peanut butter & bacon granola made for a (somewhat) healthier snacking alternative while waiting on lengthy lines.
The array of foods would have been more interesting with a broader diversity of cuisines; pork is a staple in several world cultures, from Caribbean to Mediterranean to African. Although the event is intentionally staged in an all-American atmosphere (hence the baseball setting), it would have enhanced the participant experience to include global-inspired pork dishes as a nod to America’s “melting pot” heritage.
Several of the beer vendors made a concerted effort to showcase both their signature brews along with their seasonal blends. A standout seasonal was Wolaver’s Wildflower Wheat, a refreshing pale ale with hints of chamomile that promises cool relief for sweltering summer days. Another was Abita’s Strawberry Harvest, a lager that provides just enough fruity sweetness to please the palate without overwhelming it – no small feat, as other strawberry brews tend to have a syrupy aftertaste. Some breweries swung for the fences and offered bolder flavor concoctions, such as Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Jalapeno Saison and BBQ Bacon blends, with the former boasting a deliciously zesty finish. Stone Brewing Company’s unique Coffee Milk Stout was a surprisingly smooth and tasty potion that challenged concepts of conventional beer in all the best ways.
For obvious reasons, vegetarians and teetotalers would probably not have much fun at this event, but for the decadent foodie, the Bacon and Beer Classic is a nice respite from calorie-conscious fare.
For further information on Bacon and Beer Classic and future events visit here.