On Saturday, January 28th, we were one of the several hundred New Yorkers at the 3rd annual 2012 Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival, chowing down on delicious heaps of meat, swigging beer, and making faces with every shot of bourbon.
Held at the expansive La.venue in West Chelsea sponsored by the Trigger Agency, there were two sessions of glorious porkiness. The first was The Bacon Session that began at noon. The first bacon session had unlimited tastings from renowned NYC establishments like Idle Hands, Billy Hurricane’s, 123 Burger Shot Beer, Johnny Utah’s, Baconery, Lucky 777 Chili, Royal Rib House, and Tri Trip Grill. There was no shortage of pulled pork, spare ribs, bacon-wrapped shrimp, tater tot nachos (WHAATT, life changer), BBQ wings, pork chili, and bacon cookies and brownies.
We joined in for The Whole Hog Session later on in the evening. Although we didn’t get unlimited tastings, we were given tickets to enjoy “tapas style” BBQ from 3 different pit masters. Blacksauce Kitchen hails from Baltimore and served “ridiculous” BBQ biscuit sandwiches, if ridiculous means delicious and amazing. Kloby’s BBQ, also from Maryland, and Lil’ Red Pig from North Carolina also served heaps of pork with all the fixin’s.
Since the lines for food were atrociously long, we had to take turns standing in line and making drink runs. Fortunately with over 60 beers and 40 bourbon and other liquor vendors present, it was not difficult to get your paws on some delicious craft beers and bourbon to burn your throat. Redemption Rye (totally awesome name, by the way), Knob Creek, Maker’s Mark, High West Whiskey, Firefly Vodka (for a good time), and Evan Williams were just a few names that started getting us in trouble.
Beers inlcuded Porkslap, Ommegang, Sierra Nevada, Abita, Crispin, Breckenridge, Magic Hat, Goose Island, The Bronx Brewery, Woodchuck Ciders, Blue Moon, Negra Modelo, Leinenkugel’s Harpoon, and so many more.
There were other vendors with related and random products, including whiskey/bourbon/rum soaked cigars, make-your-own flavored whiskey barrels, kitschy sports oven mits and aprons and BBQ-related signs.
With a ton of tasting stands, we were excited to go around trying each one. That is, until we reached the TorchBearer Sauces table. I tried the Rapture sauce, deemed the “hottest natural sauce in the world.” They were not fucking around, WHAT THE HELL is in this??! I could not shake the burning pain in my mouth for at least 25 minutes, even after doing several shots of bourbon in hopes that another type of pain would relieve it. I was pretty confident that I have a high threshold for spiciness, but now I have my doubts because these sauces were absolutely absurd. Stupidly, I am still intrigued to try their the Zombie Acopalypse sauce and other hopefully less painful sauces.
Just thinking about this even brings tears to my eyes.
Aside from all the food and booze, there was The Tasting Theater where people could educate themselves at featured tasting classes and seminars. Speakers included Harlen Wheatley, Master Distiller for Buffalo Trace, Chris Mattera, Master Butcher from Sausage Craft, Gable Erenzo, Master Distiller for Tuthilltown, Rob Robillard, Master Distiller for Cabin Fever Maple Whiskey, NC Pitmaster Bill Eason from Lil’ Red Pig and MD Pitmaster Steve Klobitis of Kloby’s Smokehouse and Brand Ambassadors from Angel’s Envy and Makers Mark.
If you missed out, don’t worry: NYC was just their first stop on their national tour, so you can stalk the festival and find them in Atlanta, Richmond, Tennesse, Maryland, and North Carolina. All in all, it was a fastatic day of BBQ indulgence, and we can’t wait for next year. Check out our photo gallery for even more delicious pics.