14 Jul Knocking It Out of the Park; A Home Run of Beer & Bacon
All puns aside, this weekend’s Bacon and Beer Classic at Victory Field was an event blessed with the essentials of a high quality outdoor event: perfect weather, delicious beer, and excellent food choices. While organizers can only *hope* for decent weather, the other two main essentials were spot-on with an abundance of creativity and innovation.
Any festival which calls itself a “Bacon and Beer Classic” has to put its own emphasis on the bacon to be served. What was both energizing and intriguing was the plethora of bacon-themed foods available from the standard strip of deliciously cooked bacon from the Pint Room in Carmel to the Happy Hour on a Stick from 240 Sweet, and so very much in-between. The creative talents displayed by the vendors at the Beer and Bacon Classic should be applauded for appealing to every taste sensation, and if the organizers emphasized creativity, they more than received it in spades. My personal favorite was the Waffle Crusted Candied Bacon with Maple Pomegranate Glaze from Oakley’s Bistro – in telling a friend about this delight, I may have mentioned passing on a moderately pleasurable activity in order to receive another helping of this melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Although Oakley’s did not score in the winning categories, they were my personal favorite.
Some of the best moments of a beer-related festival are the one-offs, the showcases, the “brewed just for this” beers that just can’t be found anywhere else. I had expected some bacon-related beers, and, to be honest, in the past I’ve found them a little meh – okay, but not great. That said, the offering from Grand Junction Brewing in Westfield, a Maple Bacon Dark Road Porter, was firing on all cylinders – the smokiness of the porter was a perfect foil for the sweet goodness of the Indiana-sourced bacon and maple syrup. It was the best of both worlds, in its commitment to both its ingredients and its name. I would definitely drink this again and be ever so happy to do so. Congratulations, Grand Junction, another job well done.
My overall favorite beer of the day was the Damascene Apricot Sour from Tin Man Brewing, which was also a crowd-favorite in the Summery Sud category. This beer was just the right balance of sour and refreshing – with that bold apricot flavor. I will make a point to get my hands on some of this next time I am in the Indy area, as I can see this being my go-to beer for a warm summer afternoon.
Overall, the beers available were widely divergent in character, color, flavor, and style, providing ample opportunity to try an assortment of beer. From barley wines to sours, and every variety in-between, attendees were treated to a festival just as devoted to beer as it was bacon.
Although the organizers for this event could plan for a variety of vendors, a plethora of beers, and an abundance of bacon, one element that can never be truly determined until day-of: the weather. That said, Victory Field is an excellent location for events such as this – plenty of cover had it rained, and plenty of sun for a good weather day. The weather cooperated for the Bacon and Beer Classic and Victory Field’s shade and sun areas were full of 2,500 bacon and beer loving attendees. The lines were full, but never long, and food/beer were available in abundance. It was an excellent way to spend an afternoon in Downtown Indy.
Award Winning Dishes:
Best Sweet Dish: Exchange Pub + Kitchen, Baby’s Bacon Peach Cobbler- both sessions
Best Savory Dish: Shoefly Public House, Bacon & Ghost Pepper Cheese Hush Puppies; and Loughmiller’s Pub & Eatery, Bacon Jam Bruschetta
Best Overall Dish: Ember Urban Eatery, Sorghum Sowbelly BLT Bites; and Pipers Restaurant, Chinese Five Spice Candied Bacon with Smoked Cheese
People’s Choice: 240sweet, Happy Hour on a Stick – Beer Marshmallow toasted and rolled in bacon, pretzel and chocolate; and Hard Rock Cafe, Twist & Shout Shake
Aleea is a native Hoosier, beer-lover and PhD candidate in public administration. When she’s not championing her home state, actively seeking out Indiana breweries and trying new beers, she writes on topics related to public management, public policy, politics, financial management, and organizational development. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.