Review: Beer and Bacon Festival 2014 in Altamonte Springs, FL
I do want to start by sharing an awesome idea Ric and I had. We made pretzel necklaces for the event! (Okay, not original… we stole the idea from someone at the last festival…). We used our medals from the Bacon 5K early that day. That’s right. 🙂
Let’s get started with a review:
* My husband and I arrived early at 3PM and found the first surprise. The festival bought your first pour! If you purchased a band for the unlimited beer sampling, you received a ticket to stop by the first tent and get a beer! This was nice, because the beer sampling didn’t actually start until 4PM. Not a big deal though. All the food vendors were up and running and there was a cash bar for full glasses of beer or non-alcoholic beverages. I personally think this is a fantastic way to start the event. It allows those who don not want to participate in the beer sampling to at least have an hour to sneak in and try out the food, with the option to purchase a single beer if they would like. Genius!
* We were joined by our friend Tyler and ran into a friend we haven’t seen in awhile – Jeff!
* Like I said, the set up was pretty much the same, but now extended! They included a Florida Brew Garden! It was pretty fantastic. My favorite beer from the Florida Brew Garden surprised me: Grapefruit Gose from Florida Avenue Brewing Company. It wasn’t heavy with tang of grapefruit and had a bit of a salty aftertaste. I really liked it. Maybe because it was so different from everything else there. But it was a nice change.
* I also have to point out the fact that the giant cardboard pig was no longer hanging out next to booming speakers, making it impossible for photo ops. He was now traveling around the festival and found himself under a tent up with the festival. I did have my picture taken by someone with the festival, but my picture did not make it on to the website with all the others. I’m pretty disappointed about it. But I will live.
* And 4Rivers once again blew the place apart with their amazing food. We ordered 2 sliders to try, but they made a mistake in the type we asked for. We simply said it was no big deal and that we would eat anything. So, they gave us three (Pork, Chicken, Brisket). 🙂 For realz. Tyler indulged in the 2 Slider & 2 Jalapeno Poppers Combo. Everything was amazing! Freshly made, warm buns, crispy bacon and juicy meat!
* Another thing I would love to point out – no tents promoting exercising and wellness. It really was just the hula hoop people I couldn’t stand last year. I wrote about it in last year’s review. And no Whole Foods Market pushing their vegan bacon. They really were the two outcasts with the vendors and I was glad to see they were gone.
* Pizza Hut??? Okay, some may think this was lame to have them at the festival. But think about it. They made since. Kids will be there and they love pizza. Win win. And, people are drinking beer, what’s a great snack to go with it? Pizza. But the biggest point I want to make is what they were offering. Yes, there was plain cheese pizza, but I’m not concerned. It was the Bacon Stuffed Crust Pizza that has been exploding the Twitter bacon posts. And they threw in a Bacon & Tomato Alfredo Pizza just to satisfy you one more step. I personally do not like Pizza Hut’s pizza because of their crust and sauces, but I did feel this was a great marketing idea to be there and they definitely had a place at the festival.
* Every person behind the pouring stations were smiling and in a great mood all night. Even when there was an obviously drunk and annoying person they were dealing with.
* I was saddened by the options for food. This may have been a bit of my problem. I found myself being very picky. I didn’t want the pizza – don’t like Pizza Hut. And you know pizza can only stay fresh for so long. The cupcakes from Cupcake Crazy are past due in my opinion. It’s been done and I am always disappointed with the lack of actual bacon “in” the cupcake. I felt the same way about them last year. Terramia Ristorante’s food looked like slop and not very appetizing, same as last year. The Meat House offered sliders that simply looked like they added bacon on top. And the brussel sprouts they made looked overdone – I have my own recipe that I will stick with. But the worst…..
* The Hammered Lamb. I didn’t like them last year, and it seems that my opinion will remain the same. For some sad reason they had the grilled cheese on the list again. It was terrible last year. So bad, that I did a separate review for them. I wasn’t going to touch it this year. Nothing looked that great coming from the tent. We awkwardly leaned in on people to see what they got. But no one was getting the Maryland Style Crab Cake Topped with Bacon Remoulade. I know, there must be a reason why. But for some strange reason we went for it. It was $5 for the tiny crab cake that tasted as if with frozen and quickly heated there at the festival. It was too soggy in the middle. Very bland. And the sauce had no hint of bacon flavor what so ever. The sauce just tasted as though they whipped up some mayo and threw it on top. No more chances. I WILL NEVER EAT ANYTHING FROM THEM AGAIN.
* Oh Ale House. You were the highlight of last year’s festival. I gave you a top notch review. But this year you only has a bacon sample. And interesting sampler though. And you sold out too quickly. You left us with not many other options. I actually went in to the festival with the thought in my head, “Well, if everything’s a bust, we know there’s at least Ale House.” Not this year.
I do find myself becoming more picky with bacon treats now. It’s hard to impress me. I feel I look for a lot when it comes to preparing a food with a specific item that is suppose to be known. I feel let down a lot. I’m not a great chef myself and can have a pretty bland pallet at time, but when I go to an event I am revved up. If I wasn’t there to give a review, I would say it was great in a every way. And that everything I ate was great. But I have done this quite a few times now, and my expectations are getting higher.
The festival itself was very well organized. The festival as for beer was PERFECT! The bacon vendors I feel could be improved. I had a fantastic time in the end. I will return if they do next year.
Posted on November 16, 2014, in Bacon News/Festivals/Events, Reviews of Bacon and tagged 4Rivers, Altamonte Springs, bacon and beer, Beer and Bacon Festival, Cupcake Crazy, Florida Avenue Brewing Company, Grapefruit Gose, Miller's Ale House, Orlando, Pizza Hut, review, Terramia Ristorante, The Hammered Lamb. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.