Four things to know about the upcoming Boston Beer and BBQ Fest

The fest's organizer Devon Regan shares his insider tips.

Boston-Beer-BBQ-Fest-2019
A spread of smoky goods from the festival. –Alyssa Parker

If the dropping temperatures of late have you wistful for summer barbecues, Drink Craft Beer has you covered with an opportunity to gorge yourself on smoky meats and cold beer. Boston Beer & BBQ Fest returns for its fifth year on Friday, bringing samples from seven barbecue joints and unlimited 2-ounce beer and cider samples from 25 breweries.

If you’re thinking about hitting up the food fest, read on to discover what tips and tricks Drink Craft Beer co-founder Devon Regan had to share.

Attend the first session if you can.

While all three sessions allow guests to explore an array of pours and smoky meats, Friday’s session comes with an added bonus.

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“Everyone gets to vote for their favorite barbecue joint. And then we’ve got a big trophy that we award to the winning barbecue place toward the end of the evening, and they get the bragging rights for the remainder of the sessions,” Regan explained. “The barbecue joints get super competitive over it. They’re talking smack on Twitter, things like that.”

The Smoke Shop is currently the reigning champ, and they’ll be back this year to potentially reclaim the title.

It’s all local.

The barbecue makers hail from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and the brewers from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts,  New York, and Vermont.

“When we ran our first event in 2013, all the breweries and all the food was local, and we’ve always kept that,” Regan said. “There’s so many great businesses to showcase right in our backyard.”

Additionally, Drink Craft Beer strives to create a lineup that blends fan favorites with new offerings. This year will be the event debut for three barbecue vendors and 11 breweries, including Massachusetts-based Artifact Cider, Big Pig Barbecue, Da Bomb BBQ, Notch Brewing, Sarcastic Swine BBQ, Stellwagen Beer Co., and Vitamin Sea Brewing.

“We try to find some new stuff because all of those favorites were new to us at some point,” Regan said.

Barbecue in front of a selection of beer. —Alyssa Parker

There’s food beyond the samples.

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“You get unlimited beer and then you get a sample from each barbecue place. But each sample is pretty significant, so it’s a full slider or a chicken drumstick or a bowl of chili,” Regan explained. “It adds up to a lot of food. But people like to be able to have other stuff, so all the barbecue places are also selling different stuff on top of what you get.”

Many of the joints are going the dessert route for these extra items, offering butter cake, cookie dough bombs, and whoopie pies.

Make a game plan.

Before heading there, Regan suggests going in with an idea of the brews and bites you want to taste.

“Not because we’ll run out — we never do,” he clarified. “But there’s a lot to try.” 

Consider what barbecue or brewery you haven’t tried, or what style of beer you haven’t tasted. You can check out the full list of offerings online.

Boston Beer & BBQ Fest; Nov. 15 from 6 – 9:30 p.m., Nov. 16 from 1 – 4:30 p.m. and 6 – 9:30 p.m.; Cyclorama, South End; $60; 21+

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