baconandbarrels (1)

I love bacon as much as I love beer, but I don't indulge in it nearly as often. It's just such a pain to make, at least for me. It always seems that the cooking delta between it being a flaccid slab of pork fat and an unsalvageable charcoal-breath strip is as thin as bacon itself. Beer, on the other hand, is always ready to drink and easily accessible in a bottle or can. Sure, bacon has technically been canned, but I just trust beer's track record in that conveyance a bit more. ---

Why does eating bacon have to be so hard? Why can't someone cook it all for me? And, while they're at it, can't they produce dozens of bacon-augmented creations and deliver it in a festive environment overflowing with liquor and beer?

What's that? They are? Whelp, there goes my atheism.

This week brings with it two days of pork-based revelry by way of the Bacon and Barrels experience, which will include a bacon pairing dinner with beer and wine on Friday and an all-you-can-cram-into-your-piehole afternoon festival on Saturday. The plates and the drinks are bottomless, so if you were planning on scheduling a check-up or physical anytime soon, you might want to see if they can squeeze you in before this event. ("Doctor, is blood supposed to be... creamy?") 

Don't let all this rampant baconlust get you thinking that I've forgotten my where my loyalties lie. The beer list promises to deliver local brews from Stone Brewing, Ironfire, Aztec Brewing, Helm's Brewing, Iron Fist, Legacy and On The Tracks, but the one that shook my foundation was from Barrel Harbor. They're bringing a Viking ale made with smoked malts and juniper called King Gorm's Gotlandsdricka. That couldn't be more metal if it were served in the skull of a recently slain enemy. Multiple other outstanding breweries (Great Divide, Mendocino County, North Coast, Sierra Nevada, Ninkasi, etc.) will be offering samples as well.

I will offer the caveat that I suspect the reference to barrels seems mostly directed at the wine and spirits (Scotch!) that will likewise be served and paired at the festival, not specifically barrel-aged beers. That actually makes sense given that this event was initiated in Santa Barbara's wine country, but around these parts it carries a slightly different set of expectations.

If that doesn't upsell it enough for you, there's yet one more spectacle to behold. You haven't lived until you've witnessed a semi-inebriated me trying to slop my way through a livetweet while balancing a drink and appetizer in my hands. It's such a shabby and stumbling display that you might even feel compelled to offer assistance, but please don't. It's important that I learn how to do this on my own.

You can join in the fun by referencing #baconandbarrels willy-nilly on social media. I'll be using that in conjunction with #berconandbarrrks since I'd wager that's about as close as I'll get to the original once the scotch is flowing.

Tickets to both events are currently available online.

Write to and, or follow @iancheesman on Twitter or read his blog,


See all events on Friday, Oct 21