The Brewery and the Beast Meat Festival Brings Home The Bacon

Smoken Bones Cookshack's duck sausages. Photos by Elizabeth Nyland

Entering the backyard of Phillips Brewery for the first time is a somewhat misleading venture. A narrow corridor leads to an open space with a loading dock smack in the centre. But with a little planning (like six weeks, maybe) and the mind of an avid meat fan, and you can fit an amazing number of vendors into this tight space.

For Brewery and the Beast, 28 different booths mashed themselves into the backyard along with another 700 hungry meat eaters. The word of the afternoon was definitely “gluttony”.

Duck liver ice cream with duck fat praline from Organic Fair. Photo by Elizabeth Nyland

As far as the eye could see there was meat, grease, smoke and happy people carrying around little wooden boards soaked in jus-y goodness. Booths were manned with piles of meat in various forms from whole pigs, tomahawk steaks (a rather impressive looking whole rib with a steak on one end), two inch thick ribeyes, whole beer can chickens, and medieval looking sausage smoking devices. There were whole lambs, confit bacon cooked in duck fat, people milling around chomping on enormous bones, talk of the “meat sweats” and protein overdoses and a whole lot of very stuffed bellies. Of course there was also line ups as far as the eye could see for the first two hours, but those died down as people struggled to fit more food in

Prime Steakhouse & Lounge flank Steak. Photo by Elizabeth Nyland

Among all these enormous hunks of protein were other forms of the good stuff too. Standouts included duck liver ice cream from Cobble Hill’s Organic Fair with duck fat praline (I had three helpings), duck and goose sausage from Smoken Bones Cookshack and and a ridiculous number of sauces (plus a BBQ sauce fountain) and truffled frites from the Marina Restaurant – a line up which never faltered throughout the entire festival.

Porterhouse steaks lined up at the Marina Restaurant stall. Photos by Gary Hynes

I suggest next year, along with your free wooden “plate” a series of tips for eaters including, but not limited to, pacing yourself, drinking some water, not forcing oneself to eat all the fillers (buns, breads, etc.), and switching back and forth from beer to food and back again. For most of us, this was a first experience at a meat festival, I think we all got a little ahead of ourselves trying to eat one of everything.

From left to right: Housemade Pastrami Melts from Pig. Ale Braised Fraser Valley Pork Cheeks w/ Housemade Waffles, Italian Plum Preserve + Cracklin’ & Kale from Vis a Vis. The welcome. Photos by Gary Hynes

But for the most part, what I took away from this event was the sheer number of people, farmers, chefs and fans who participated in such an amazing festival of food. All the meat was sourced as locally as possible and every vendor displayed the farm name where the meat was sourced either in the booth itself or listed on the handout given to each festival goer. Fortunately, organizer Scott Gurney promises this will be an annual event. Bring on the meat!

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