The annual "Bacon, Blues and Brews" festival is no place for the meager of palate or liver. This is territory stapled for those with an energy for tasty, salty cured meats, cold craft beer and the occasional sip or something stronger, malted.
To say the least, those who cling to the vegetarian, vegan or sober dictum need not purchase a ticket. There is not much for you here except a sense of dread or possible battleground for your shaming those who indulge combined with an internal struggle to partake and live life as it was meant to be lived.
Fearless. Fun. And full of near naughty possibilities.
Not to mention, the event takes place within the hanger-like confines of Brother John's BBQ, a joint so lit with smoked animal sections one would recoil with volunteered lifestyle fear when a heaping plate of the stuff arrives at your table. And if you want to keep your liver as pink as we like the center of our steaks, this is prime country to call your mortal enemy. A wall, behind a bar lined with dozens of taphandles, is a shelving unit to amber hued, golden hooch beauty - a near art installation for those that have long given up going out with a liver the color of the elephants we see after one too many.
This is the time and place to let go of the health instituted fallacies for a few hours. We have come to eat bacon, and lots of it. We have come to drink beer, and lots of it. In the backroom area of Brother John's, a bacchanalia takes hold but once a year. It is our time to indulge. Forget the minions that consider quinoa a fine breakfast option. We want pork belly. We want hearty craft brew.
This year did not disappoint. With taste offerings from local culinary heavyweights such as Fresco Pizza and Pastaria, KIngfisher, Mama Louisa's Italian, Bisbee Breakfast Club, Gourmet Girls, Noble Hops Gastropub, Dante's Fire, Mama's Hawaiian and, yes, Brother John's BBQ, our collective mouths were glistening with fatty pork recoil. We were handed a tally before entering to vote for their favorite, but seeing as I do what I do, I leave that bit to the public. It's best I relent because, in the end, I can never really figure out who the clear winner is.
Because I always figure that I am the winner. I get to eat all the foods. And drink all the beers.
Speaking of which, the mango and apricot varieties supplied by Dillinger Brewing flipped my tongue like an epileptic acrobat. Tart, punchy, sweet with a pleasant acidity to them both. Barrio had their ever famous blonde pouring away but I went back for their hazy IPA a few more times than I should have.
And you can't have a Bacon, Blues and Brews fest without an actual blues band. Local stompers and twangers Michael P and the Gullywashers provided that. Now if you know me, and read this blog, you know how much we embrace the ideology of Metal. But we do, oftentimes, tread into other musical waters. These guys were good. Really good. And if you know your Metal history, the headbangers journey began with the blues. Jimmy Page worshiped Delta blues artists, as did Iommi, Hendrix and Richie Blackmore from Deep Purple. So take heed young padawan Metalheads, and know this:
Blues is the roots, the rest is just the fruits.
The funny thing is, a day or two before Bacon, Blues and Brews, a friend that owns and operates a busy food truck supplied me with some new menu samples. One was an Asian inspired chicken sandwich featuring, that's right, pork belly. The other was a grilled cheese infused with five varietals that was also stuffed with, yep, pork belly. So by the time I got around to my third or fourth dish, I knew that I had to take it easy on the bacon front for a spell.
Maybe go vegetarian for a while. Heck, why not make it vegan?
Wait a minute. What am I saying here? Didn't I just lambast...you know...earlier, when I...
Oh man. What a hypocritical food writer I am. Crap.
Anyway, cheers to Tucson Originals for inviting me once again and thank you to all the chefs and brewers for letting me, and those who arrived, partake in your meaty and mead-y goodness.
Now to drink some water and eat a salad.
See you all next year...
|Ya gosh darn right|
|Oh what the heck...sure I'll try some|
|If its from Fresco, you know its gonna be amazing|
|Bacon wrapped fig on a nettle nest of awesome|
|Them Gourmet Girls always come through|
|There's s'more where that came from|
|Chef Ken in pork belly repose|
|Chef Mikey likes it...spicy|
|I totally thought a drag show was about to happen, totally bummed one didn't|
Camera, Typing and Going On A Cleanse
"Metal" Mark Whittaker
Day After Friday the 13th, 2019