That’s right – this quarter’s article isn’t about a single tasting of bourbon, it’s about a festival dedicated to the nectar of the gods! Sorry folks, this won’t have my normal tasting notes but we’ll get back to that in the next issue.
Moving on to the bourbon festival . . . because it was fun! And tasty! And there was A LOT of bourbon. This is a time when you definitely have to pace yourself or you’ll be face down in the lake before the sun goes down.
The second annual Breckenridge Hogfest, Bacon & Bourbon, took place on Saturday, August 26 in Breckenridge’s Main Street Station . . . and not only did it feature Denver favorite Tender Belly bacon, it also featured a number of bourbons to keep your taste buds in heaven for hours if not days. Not to mention, they had two live bands to keep up with all of those bourbon drinkers.
Breckenridge Bourbon was there (Duh! How can you have a bourbon festival in Breckenridge without Breckenridge Bourbon?!). I’ve reviewed this one before and it stays true to itself: easy drinking, a little on the sweet side so it’s a perfect beginner’s bourbon; throw in a drop of water (no need for ice, unless you like it cold) and you’re off to the races. And if you and a few friends were brave enough, you could do a shotski of their bourbon.
Dancing Pines was there – they also have a tasting room in Breckenridge – and of course, Woodford bourbon made an appearance. Law’s came to the party and brought their tasty lineup, I love Law’s bourbon; their rye is also outstanding. Colorado was well represented with some hometown favorites.
But, let’s talk about the surprising favorite bourbon, Old Forester Prohibition bourbon. Um, hello! At 115 proof, you would think this was in the same ballpark as EH Taylor’s barrel strength “I’ll take the paint right off that wall for you” bourbon, but it’s not. This bourbon was smooth, caramely (is that a word?) and with an amazing balance of heat. I drank it without water or ice and it was absolutely delicious. If you want to learn more about it, check out my interview with Jackie Zykan, Old Forester’s Master Bourbon Taster, on The Modern Gladiator’s Facebook page.
Wait, master bourbon taster? That’s really a thing? Damn, I’ve been doing all of this tasting and writing about bourbon and there’s a job as a master bourbon taster? How do you get that job?! First, you have to live in Kentucky . . . and it helps that Jackie has degrees in biology and chemistry and she worked her way through college as a bartender – so, there’s that. Smart, fun and she has the coolest job ever!
And what’s a festival without music? Well, not only was there one band, there were two bands playing to entertain the throngs of bourbon and bacon lovers.
Let’s not forget the bacon. Tender Belly never disappoints and Saturday was no exception. We tasted through three different bacons. Everything from the original (delicious) to the espresso-infused to the spicy habanero. After a day of fun, mountain sun, and bourbon, all I needed was the bacon, a bottle of Old Forester Prohibition, and a chair to sit and listen to the live music, stare at the mountains, and enjoy a damn good bourbon.