Beer, Bacon, Bourbon Festival Puts Hudson Valley on the Map
The Hudson Valley has long been revered for its wine trails, gaining fans amongst locals and tourists alike. Wineries like Palaia Vineyards, Warwick Valley Winery and Brotherhood Winery continually host live musicians and festivals that become larger and more popular each year.
And, now craft beer is enjoying a renaissance and following in the path of the wineries. The Hudson Valley now has a growing of breweries/brewers and with that, one more beer festival to enjoy! I had the pleasure of attending Beer Bourbon and Bacon festival in Rhinebeck. When I first heard the spot on the radio, I thought "three things I can really get behind! I've got to go!" So I invited my friends from the city, picked them up at the Beacon train station and got on our way to enjoy some of the best things in life on an incredibly beautiful day.
Despite traffic to get in due to an unfortunate fire across the street from the fairgrounds, the cars were well maintained by staff. We were met by another long line, one for will-call tickets and another for Ticketholders. The Ticketholder line wasn't signed between booths and there was some general confusion as to which line we needed to be in. Finally, a staff member showed up to take tickets and hand out wristbands. From there, we were on our way and greeted with our tasting glass (plastic for regular ticket holders, glass for VIPs) and drink stamp card (and no vendors even stamped it, so it didn't matter that I lost mine almost immediately. Don't keep important things in your back pocket.)
As we walked into the fairgrounds, we made a run for the bathrooms, which had no line and were IMPECCABLE. (Who else dislikes Port-a-potties?) From there, we hopped onto Millhouse Brewing’s line near the stage to enjoy some live music. Each line was about 10ish minutes, which was long enough to drink our beer, point out attendees' beer and bacon related t-shirts, and make a plan for the next beer tent we were going to hit. After about 3 beer tastes each, we decided lunch would be a good idea. Considering that Handsome Devil BBQ was the premiere food vendor, we lined up on a huge line for some eats. I got the pulled pork sandwich and mac and cheese bites. The sandwich was a little smaller than my appetite, but the meat was smoky and tasty. The mac and cheese bites were wrapped in bacon and came with a cheese dipping sauce. They were awesome.
We spread out onto the vast lawn, not feeling crowded despite the large amount of people in attendance. Other vendors also had barbeque, making me think they should have named this event "Beer, Bourbon, Bacon, BBQ" instead.
We made the rounds to the few remaining beer tents outside, and made the venture inside where lines were considerably shorter and we were able to drink quite a few brews before finding the bourbon tables. I had one taste of Apple Jack before I knew I couldn't go on drinking, but thankfully there was a table next to it that had Hudson Valley Organic maple syrup. In shot cups! It was delicious and buttery and not too sweet as some maple syrup I've had in the past. They should have been serving vanilla ice cream with bacon sprinkles and that maple syrup on top. It would have been perfect.
A few other vendors inside sold beer themed t-shirts, jewelry and one table even had different hops plants. A portion of the building was dedicated as the VIP beer and cheese market and VIP lounge. I became incredibly excited upon finding that my favorite pickle vendor was in attendance, and happily waited in line for 30 minutes to get a quart of spicy half sours. It was enough time to sober up to drive home, but not before a stop to the ice cream truck for a giant waffle cone. Again sitting in the grass felt great, as we had a nice patch to ourselves as the day wound down.
I really loved this festival. The fairground's size in comparison to the amount of attendees' never felt too crowded. They have a lot of room to expand for next year. (And the real bathrooms and hand washing station were great!) There was a really good variety of beers, many of them locally made. Next year I hope they open the doors earlier so I can take a bit more time to enjoy each vendor's brews. I also recommend buying a VIP pass before they sell out, the pretzel necklace, cheese and bacon samples for VIPs only definitely swayed me. I hope to see everyone at Beer Bourbon and Bacon next year! It's definitely a happy addition to the Hudson Valley's summer festival season.
Beer, Bourbon & Bacon an Out of the Box Production, Inc. event was attended by Theresa Rockabirdie
Also check out Hudson River Craft Beer Festival September 20th in Riverfront Park in Beacon!
21 + please & always drink responsibly!