Two things brought 100 Central Peninsula residents together Saturday evening — beer and bacon.
The Kenai Peninsula Brewing and Tasting Society hosted its first Beer and Bacon Festival at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska in Kenai this past weekend.
“There’s nothing better than beer and bacon,” Soldotna resident James Whiting, who attended the event, said.
Event goers voted to select the best home brew as well as best appetizer and entrée at the novice and professional levels.
Soldotna home brewer Josh Herald, who has brewed more than 50 different beers in seven years, brought his chocolate stout to the event.
“I used to like drinking beer and decided I could make it better,” he said.
Kenai resident Chris Zoda sampled Kenai River Brewing Company’s Morning Bacon brew garnished with bacon.
“It’s really, really good,” he said.
Zoda said he came to the event because Herald his coworker was bringing his brew and beer and bacon are the “best two things in the world.”
Using bacon and a local or home brew, five local restaurants competed against one another, as did about 15 novice chefs for the top entrée or appetizer. Creations ranged from bacon brownies to bacon wrapped chicken soaked in coffee stout.
Denise McCamon with Main Street Tap and Grill in Kenai experimented with bacon jam for the first time, using it as the finishing touch on her pan-seared scallop topped polenta cakes.
Greg Olcott, who worked on the subcommittee for the event, said the event was born from a brainstorming session and beer and bacon seemed like an obvious event choice. When they only sold 40 of the society’s 100 tickets at the beginning of the week, Olcott said the group was a little concerned if the event would turn out a crowd, but the society sold out that night.
Olcott also took part in the event. He made boneless ribs marinated in coffee stout, maple syrup, liquid smoke and barbecue sauce.
Paul Winford, who helped to coordinate the event, said next year they hope to make Beer and Bacon Festival bigger and better.
Proceeds from the $25 tickets went to the Challenger Center.
Kaylee Osowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.