Bacon, Spirits and Beer on the water of San Diego’s Embarcadero Marina Park. What more could a discerning human ask for? Great weather, you ask? CHECK! Cool breeze? CHECK! Lovely view and friendly vendors? CHECK and CHECK! Let the indulging begin!
I brought a human, female companion along for the food sampling, because, as you know, Beer Aliens only digest beer. Bacon-infused food samplings were found at each of the following tents, although it was not always immediately obvious where to find the food: Barleymash, Local Habit, Duck Dive, Eureka!, Fig Tree Cafe, La Jolla Brewing Company, Romesco, Salt & Cleaver, Shore Club, Slater’s 50/50, West Coast Tavern, Corbin’s Q, and Marina’s Kitchen. My human companion enjoyed each of the bacon-infused food samplings, and there were a few samples for which she insisted a second helping was required before she could properly describe the appropriate level of deliciousness.
Of all her food exploits, she seemed to enjoy the Yak Nuts and Man Candy most.
I remember seeing her gingerly nibbling on the Yak Nuts from Corbin’s Q. A smile spread across her face as she clearly enjoying the combination of sweet teriyaki glaze and bacon-wrapped bell pepper and chicken. Unfortunately for her, the experience was over too quickly – in fact, a Yak Nut is rather tiny.
The Fig Tree Cafe’s “Man Candy” is a THICK slice of bacon glazed with brown sugar and paprika. According to my friend, it did not disappoint, unless you count how quickly it was gone. I’m pretty sure she may have gone back for a second and possibly third helping of that sweet and spicy thickness.
She also enjoyed munching on the Bacon Peanut Brittle from The Trails and the Bacon and Caramel Popcorn from Marina’s Kitchen.
Aliens are not much for the hard spirits either, so my human companion sampled a few of these and especially enjoyed Henebery’s Whiskey, Cutler’s Grandma Tommy’s Applie Pie, Casta Negra’s Agave Tequila, BarleyMash’s Jamaica Rum with Pineapple and Bacon flavor infusions, and Twisted Manzanita Moonshine from Santee.
But, enough with the food and hard spirits! We Aliens are, after all, obsessed with all things BEER. It was enjoyable to witness humans eating bacon. But … BEER? Anyone?
The event space hosted 22 breweries. Half of them were not local, which was a nice change of pace for this Alien. I was surprised, however, that more San Diego breweries did not participate. Maybe next year, San Diego?
My TOP brew of the day was actually not a traditional beer; it was the Sour from Golden Coast Mead. Yep, a MEAD! It surprised me, too. Early on during the festival, the Golden Coast booth was non-descript, without a banner (although one did arrive later in the day). It was actually the bee hive masks worn for a few minutes by the owners that caught our attention and drew us near. After chatting with them, and discovering that they did not, in fact, have any live bees on hand, we also discovered why the booth was so bare – their soft opening had occurred only one week prior to the Bacon and Barrels San Diego fest with a grand opening not set until mid-June 2014. THe mead itself was DELICIOUS – not too thick like some overly sweetened meads – it struck that perfect balance of sweet and sour to make a refreshing, crisp, and tasty experience. I am really looking forward to visiting Golden Coast Mead in Oceanside, CA when they have their grand opening!
Aside from the food, distilleries, and breweries, there were a multitude of wineries present, including Alta Maria Vineyards and Fallbrook Winery – both of which my human companion especially enjoyed.
But, where was our beloved Ballast Point distillery, San Diego?
In fact, there was something for everyone at Bacon and Barrels. But, for an Alien who strictly goes for beer, the selection was light. I heard similiar rumblings from humans who went strictly for the food. Fortunately my own human companion had few complaints – as she imbibed in food, beer, and spirits – equally.
All in all, we had a wonderful time at Bacon and Barrels and came away thinking, next year, it could be even better! Hopefully by then my human taster will have recovered from the bacon and barrel induced coma from which she may likely still be suffering.
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