Bacon. AND Beer. What?!?!? Yes. And it was just as good as you are imagining.
This year was the 4th annual Bacon and Beer Classic in Chicago. You can also catch this tour in other cities but the food and beer vendors will be representative of those locations. The event was held at Soldier Field and took up the entire walkway on the Mezzanine level. There were over 100 beer vendors (craft beers) and over 30 bacon dishes.
General Admission* got you entrance into the event, three hours of eating and drinking, and a really nice souvenir cup. No throw-away plastic here. This one was ceramic.
There was also a VIP option (which I might consider upgrading to next year). You get an additional hour of tasting (before the General Admission crowd comes in), designated bathrooms, and a lanyard that hold your souvenir cup. Trust me when I say this would have come in handy when I was trying to juggle the mini cup and all of the food I was sampling.
As I mentioned before, there were over 100 craft beer vendors. Some were brands you might know like Pollyanna, Bells, and Founders. My SO and I are always up for something different so we were trying out the local vendors. There were also a couple of cider vendors as well as a few spiked sparkling water booths. A little something for everyone. One stop that put a smile on our faces was the bacon bourbon table. I wish I could tell you what it tasted like but they were mixing it with their special brand of Bloody Mary mix. So it looks like I’ll be making a trip to Binny’s (I already Googled it. They carry it.).
Now, let’s talk about the food. With the exception of a few places, you were only getting a tasting portion. Which was fine because there were over 30 food booths. A few of our favorites were a pork belly fried rice, a bacon beignet, and a bourbon glazed shredded pork over mashed potatoes. Seriously, they weren’t playing here. But hands down, our two favorites were the bacon topped jalapeno popper and the spiced pork belly with a pineapple relish. We went back for seconds on the latter one.
My one tip for you – if you pass a beer or food vendor and don’t want to stand in the long line, you will not be able to go back later. Well, you will, but the chances are pretty high that they will be out of their product. Especially the first-time and local vendors. Trust me, the line was long for a reason. I found out the hard way when I missed out on a bacon topped Krispy Kreme donut. Someone is in the dog house for convincing me we should come back later.
*I thought I saw this event on Groupon but, since I already had tickets, I did not save the link. Look for it next year.