Monthly Archives: October 2013

Beer and Bacon Festival in Altamonte Springs, FL

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Yep, that’s right Central Florida! There is another bacon-related festival! How lucky are we????? I’ll give you the run down:

DATE/TIME
Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
Festival opens at 3pm. Beer sampling is from 4pm-7pm.



WHERE
Cranes Roost Park at Uptown Altamonte.



PARKING
FREE parking located near the festival at Cranes Roost Park, Uptown Altamonte and near the Altamonte Mall. Get there early to get a good spot!



TICKETS
It is free to come into Cranes Roost Park at Uptown Altamonte. Tickets are solely for beer sampling.

$25 in advance, which can be purchased through Eventbrite ($3.25 service fee).
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Tickets can be purchased day of the event but will be $35 at the gate.



TICKET INCLUDES
Unlimited 4oz craft beer samples with your purchased beer wrist band.

“With the purchase of a ticket, you will receive a complimentary koozie (while supplies last).”



BEER ON BOARD
Goose Island Beer Company: Honkers, IPA, 312, Harvest Ale
SweetWater Brewing Company: 420, IPA, Blue, Motorboat
Magic Hat Brewing Company: #9, SĂ©ance Saison, HIPA, DeVEILed
Blue Point Brewing Company: Hoptical Illusion, Toasted Lager
Florida Beer Company: Key West Southernmost Wheat, Key West Sunset Ale, Florida Lager, Swamp Ape
Kona Brewing Company: Longboard Island Lager, Big Wave Golden Ale
Redhook Brewery: Audible Ale, Longhammer IPA
Shock Top Brewing Company: Shock Top, Shock Top Raspberry, Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat
Victory Brewing Company: Hop Devil, Golden Monkey, Swing, Festbier, Red Thunder
Wood Chuck Hard Cider: Amber, Fall, Pumpkin, Magners, Magners Pear, 802



BACON????
The bacon delights are not included in your ticket price. Small plate items are priced from $2 to $6 each. There is a very impressive list of food vendors (some menu items listed):

4 Rivers Smokehouse: Brisket or Pulled Pork Sliders with Bacon; Chicken on a Biscuit with Bacon and Maple Drizzle; (2) Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos
Cupcake Crazy: Bacon Salted Caramel; Amaretto Custard; Nutelalicious
Terramia Wine Bar and Restaurant: (food options were not listed)
Whole Foods Market: (food options were not listed)
The Hammered Lamb: (food options were not listed)
Ruth’s Chris Steak House: Crab BLT; Prime Beef Slider with Bacon & Onion Jam; Cheesecake with Chocolate Almond Bacon Clusters
Miller’s Ale House: (food options were not listed)
Tako Cheena: Chinese BBQ Chara Siu Pork Belly Tako; Bani Mi Pernil Tako with Pickled Daikon Radish; Crispy Smoked Eggplant Empanada; Bacon Infused Ice Cream
Omaha Steakhouse: Bacon and Bleu Cheese Burger Sliders; Bleu Cheese Chips with Bacon; Bacon and Caramel Popcorn Pops



QUESTIONS?
If you have any further questions about the festival, please check out the festival’s WEBSITE, Facebook, or Twitter page.




– Elle.

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Review: Old Forester & “Breakfast in a Cup”

There were many disappointments at the Festival of Bacon, but the “Bootleggers Row” was definitely one of the best parts. It consisted of Jagermeister, Jim Beam, and Old Forester. But, Old Forester brought the best drink to the festival.

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So, what would you want in a bacon drink? Something smooth? Not too heavy, right? Maybe something different. Don’t just throw bacon in. I’m an experienced bacon fanatic. You have to take an extra step to get my attention. And oh, my. Old Forester’s booth did just that.

My experience began when I walked up. I was already happy because everyone behind the booth was happy and excited to be there – which was not easy to find at the festival. There was a very nice man by the name of Michael J, Ring behind the booth dishing out a drink that caught my attention. It was called “Breakfast in a Cup”. And it was just that. At first look, it seemed as though it would be almost fruity because of it’s color and was dished out from a beverage dispenser with slices of oranges. But I was wrong. When a took a my first sip, my mouth actually felt as though it was full of eggs, bacon and pancakes – but the taste was so much better. You could actually taste the fruit, the bacon, and the hint of sweetness. I honestly felt as though I could sit there and have that for a for meal.

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I’m also very excited with their infusion of bacon in the Old Forester Bourbon. They really did it just right. Usually most don’t drain the fat correctly or they simply choose the wrong drink to mix with. The bourbon cuts perfectly with the bacon fat and melts flawlessly. I was extremely impressed that I was able to taste the bacon flavor, without having to swallow chunks of bacon fat or feel as though I was chugging lard.

This drink truly is a “breakfast in a cup” and I highly recommend everyone try it. Michael is the Whiskey Brand Champion for the North American Whiskies from Brown-Forman and the genius behind the recipe. He was kind enough to send the recipe to me so I could share it with all of you.

To Infuse the Bourbon:
For one bottles worth of bacon bourbon, render three pieces of bacon slowly so as not to burn (the flavor is not too appealing).

Add the warm grease and bacon to the bourbon in a pitcher and whisk for 2 minutes. Let it set over night before placing the bourbon in the pitcher in the freezer. This should solidify the grease and clarify so it not cloudy. fish out the fat and strain through fine mesh or cheese cloth and return to bottle.

To Make the Drink:

2 oz Old Forester Bourbon infused with bacon

1 oz Tuaca Vanilla Orange Liquor

2 oz Fresh OJ

1 tbsp Black Cherry Syrup (Filthy Garnish available at Total Wine)

1 cherry for garnish

** Mix in a pint glass and top with Sprite for Bubbles.

And Enjoy breakfast in a cup!!”


If you do try it and would like to share your experience or maybe even have a recipe with their products that you would like to share with others, please visit their Facebook and Twitter.

I personally plan on trying more bacon-related drink recipes with Old Forester Bourbon. It just made everything so smooth and enjoyable.

Thank you, Michael for sharing your creation with us all!



– Elle.

Review: Festival of Bacon 2013 in Orlando, FL

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The Festival of Bacon took place in my hometown of Orlando on October 5, 2013. I have been waiting for a bacon festival to happen near me for a very long time. I started my bacon blog in April of 2011 and have been posting about many bacon-related topics, including bacon events in other states. So, when the Festival of Bacon was announced I began counting down the days. I did what I could to spread the word to others in the area and supported the festival on my blog. I’m hoping my review of the festival is an interesting read to everyone.


MY PREPARATION:

Did my bacon nails!

Did my bacon nails!



And made a tank top out of a "I love bacon" t-shirt I had. Click the picture to be taken to directions.

And made a tank top out of a “I love bacon” t-shirt I had. Click the picture to be taken to directions.


PROS OF THE FESTIVAL:

* Located in Orlando. My hometown. I am actually able to say I attended a bacon festival!

* Future 6 Helping Hands had a booth set up selling shirts and other merchandise to raise more money. And they had a cool pig to pose with for pictures.

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* The booths of free bacon provided by the festival were great! The choice in bacon and how it was cooked was just right!

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* Our amazing encounter with The Smiling Bison. (see detailed review)

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* There was a booth where you could buy all the familiar bacon-related products, such as Bacon Ornaments, Bacon Gumballs, ect. A must for a bacon festival.

* Orlando Chili Cook-Off had a great set up! I received a paper bacon ‘stash on a stick! They were incredibly nice and offered awesome chili with bacon! It had no beans, was flavorful with a hint of spiciness that kicked in at the end, and lots of bacon. I look forward to the Chili Cook-Off in February. I can’t wait to go and maybe find some bacon chili to write about. It’s always a great time at the Orlando Chili Cook-Off!

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And got some other Bacon ‘Stashes, too!

* The “Bootleggers Row”. It consisted of Jagermeister, Jim Beam, and Old Forester. Both offered some awesome bacon cocktails. Jim Beam and Old Forester definitely had the best drinks to offer. I’m hoping they send me their recipes so I can share them with everyone.

**(On, October 12th, I posted a separate review on Old Forester’s “Breakfast in a Cup” drink from the festival. It was definitely my favorite drink and the creator of the recipe was very nice a sent me the recipe to share!)**

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* The Pug Rescue of Florida was there. They had two pugs there at a kissing booth. $1 donation to their rescue and you got a kiss! Free petting. 🙂

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CONS OF THE FESTIVAL:

* We arrived 45 minutes early, thinking we would be standing in line. There was no actual entrance and no indication where parking was. The address listed said “Robinson St” but we found out entry to parking was actually off “Livingston”. And like I said, there was no sign and no one at the opened gate directing anyone in and showing us where or how to park. I was amazed those who showed up early with us were able to figure out the correct way to line up cars in the field on our own. So high five to us!! But getting out was a pain in the ass.

* As we walked around the entire perimeter of the festival, trying to find out where the actual entry was we discovered there was about 50 ways to get in for free. The place wasn’t even secure. Gates were wide open, no one questioned random people that were walking in and out with their dogs (obviously not volunteers – we even talked to some of these people, they weren’t). After talking to a couple people and finally directed to the location of the entry area, we discovered a huge opening where once again many were just walking all about – with their dogs. We were not the only ones in this situation. We gathered with others and stood there waiting for anyone that could answer our questions. We are now 30 minutes before opening time. Finally, it was established we were in the correct place, but they had not yet set up the ticket lines or put up any gates to the front. We were asked to continue waiting. Given we were now a whole 20 minutes early before opening time. We stood there, formed our own line, and about a hundred people or so showed up to stand in our line, as they quickly tried to put their ticket lines together. When they were ready, they announced for everyone to pile in, which pissed me off because me and about 10 other people had been there for quite some time and been through enough at this point and now almost had a hundred people cut in front of us.

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* As we were in line, one of the volunteers seemed to know what was up. He tried to make chit-chat with us because they were still not ready to let us in. Then, there was the woman volunteer in the “will call” line that was next to us. She stated more than once she didn’t even know what she was doing because she “just showed up.” When another yelled down to her to ask what line she was, she yelled back “the cool line” and then said directly to the people around her she didn’t even know what line she was in. My husband reached over and pointed to the sign right next to her that read it aloud “Will Call”. They made several announcements while we were there about volunteers not being paid to be there and they worked on tips. I’m glad they weren’t paid. I could not find a single person that would help me anytime I had a question. And I will tell you right now, I only tipped a couple vendors that I actually enjoyed.

* Half the vendors had nothing to do with bacon.

* No air circulating under the tents set up at the bars. We tried going to the tents to escape the heat but others doing the same were packed in. It was heat exhaustion or suffocation. We spent most of our bacon bucks on water.

* At 12:40, we actually could not find COLD water. We had to leave by 1 PM because we were starting to feel ill from the heat and were hungry.

* Anthony’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant (see detailed review)

* The bacon chocolate offered by SGT Bacon was badly dispensed. The 2 for $1 meant you got half a bacon slice broken in half. That makes two.

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* Hardly any vendors offered free samples. It was advertised 30,000 free samples. I assumed this meant the three booths the festival themselves offered where straight bacon slices were dished out. The lines for the free bacon were extremely long compared to any other. Tickets were $27 at pre-sale and $35 after that… what did people pay for? To pay more?

* Bacon games and activities? Please someone tell me where they were because I couldn’t find them.

* Your change was given to you only in bacon bucks. Even if you paid in real cash. I didn’t appreciate the gimmick.


WHAT I WOULD CHANGE:

* Be more selective of the volunteers you choose.

* If having an event that lasts more than 4-5 hours, make sure to have separate entertainment to offer and divide it up through the event. This will keep people entertained and want to stay longer.

* Be sure to have plenty of places to keep out of the heat if choosing a hot day. Make sure air can circulate in areas where people are to gather.

* Be more selective of the vendors setting up with your festival. See what it is that they are offering to your guests. Will it actually improved their visit or is it even relatable to your strict theme?


MY SUMMARY REVIEW:

I feel as though my expectations were set too high for a festival I have waited years to arrive in my area. I must remember this is the first year. There will be things to learn from. I also feel as though the vendors and volunteers did not have the same dream as the guys who put this festival together.

When I first heard of the Festival of Bacon, I began following them on Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram. I wanted every detail as it was being released to the public. I was overwhelmed with excitement. The buildup was amazing. The advertisement, involvement with bloggers and local news was perfectly done.

But as my husband Ric, our friend Jon and I arrived to the actual event, my heart began to sink. The lack of organization. The lack of pride from vendors. The lazy volunteers. It all just got to me.

Maybe I don’t get the Epcot Food & Wine/Food Truck-ish theme. You know what I mean, “Pay to get in and then pay to try anything – and only very small over-priced portions.” I know many people enjoyed themselves. I know it was a success overall. But for this bacon-fiend that blogs solely about bacon, I felt let down. I may have done it to myself. I may have just dreamt up this perfect festival in my head..

I really do hope there is another Festival of Bacon next year. I really do. I want to give it another try. I want to see it succeed. I believe in the guys that organized it, I just think they need the right people by their side to help it thrive.



– Elle.