The Hormel Black Label Bacon Fest happened on International Bacon Day, August 31st. Held at Preble Field at Liberty Station on a hot afternoon, the only thing that could have made this epic ode to bacon better would have been more shade. Access and parking were easy, the festival was laid out well and the staff kept things operating smoothly throughout the event.
With over 3200 tickets sold, the organizers handled entry well with huge staging areas for VIP and general entry ticket holders. Before I got there, 30 minutes prior to VIP hour, there were people waiting for general admission. That’s an impressive devotion to the crown jewel of the pig. If you were a VIP, you got a lanyard with glass holder so you could hang your beer around your neck while eating, this ingeniously simple device will accompany me to future festivals for sure, it worked very well.
Unlimited tastings of forty different beverages and twenty eight bacon inspired dishes were included with your ticket, no tokens or bracelets to get in the way of your fun here! During the VIP hour the only question was what to do next, the options were almost overwhelming. Don’t worry, we made it through bacon dish after bacon dish with great craft beer and the occasional moonshine. I’m willing to make that sacrifice for my readers. I go to a lot of festivals and I can tell you this one was one of the best. The combination of food and drink united under the love for bacon came together in harmony.
I was satiated before VIP hour was over and when the flood gates opened for the general entry I was thankful for the complete lack of lines and special beers offered to VIPs. To say there were a lot of people there is an extreme understatement. San Diego loves bacon and this festival proved that without a shadow of doubt. Ravenous hog fans filled almost every food and drink line, although they kept moving in most cases, there were a few lines that intersected and caused a little confusion.
Some standouts for me personally included pork belly corn dogs, bacon/tuna/avocado sushi, a trough full of bacon, bacon sausage made with Pupil from Societe and my favorite dish of the day, Dirty Red Dust Chicharones from the Handlery Hotel. I cover a lot of events at the Handlery but I’m not playing favorites here, Chef Karl really nailed an amazing dish. The pork belly corn dogs from Bub’s at the Ballpark were a very close second, an amazing idea pulled off with greatness.
On the drink side of the world I was pleasantly surprised by SakTea, an iced tea infused with sake. It was probably the nice contrast to the beers but I found it very refreshing. For the most part I had had almost all the beers onsite but some new ones I liked were Kevin’s Bacon Ale from Helm’s, Devotion from Lost Abbey (pretty heavy for a super hot day but amazing none the less) and Citra Session IPA from Green Flash. I also seriously enjoyed the Bakon Bloody Mary but the standout drink of the day has to go to Manzanita Distilling for the oak aged bacon moonshine.
What a day this was! The Hormel Black Label Bacon Fest had great food, great drink, great people and great music all together to give you a tremendous festival celebrating one of the greatest things on our planet, bacon. Do not miss next year’s event!