Sure, the bacon is going to get all of the marquee attention for this weekend's Beer, Bourbon, and Bacon event, but let's not forget about the delicious beer.

Now, a few disclaimers: there's not one brewery at the festival that I haven't enjoyed. They all produce great beers, and they are all certainly worthy of your attention.

I'm also excluding from this list breweries that we've featured on the show or on the website or via YouTube. At this point, I'd hope you'd have already tried some of their stuff, or are familiar enough with the name to know that they're worth giving a shot. Unless I'm just shouting into a void and no one actually hears or reads anything I see, which I do recognize as a plausible possibility.

I should also mention that some of these are VIP exclusive (although I tried to limit the VIP-only breweries on the list), so if you're considering getting that VIP ticket, I'd recommend it.

Let's get on with it!

  • Evil Twin Brewing This is a fairly unconventional brewery as far as the concept of a "brewery" goes. I say that because, well, there's no brewery at all. Based in Brooklyn, Danish ex-pat Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø (twin brother of acclaimed brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergsø) basically just travels around and brews beer with people he likes. Two Roads, Westbrook, and many others have collaborated with him. This leads to some exciting and interesting beers, and all of them are worth a shot.
  • Almanac Beer Company - Based in San Francisco, this is a brewery that's been getting a ton of recognition for its "Farm to Table" approach to brewing, as they attempt to use locally-sourced fruits and ingredients in their beer to give them a unique character. I've enjoyed a lot of their beers; they've done quite a few sours that are absolutely worth trying if you're into sour beers.
  • Transmitter Brewing I tried their stuff for the first time recently, visiting their location in Long Island City this past Fall, and I have to say that I was really impressed. In addition to making great beer, they've got a really cool aesthetic and, hey, they're New York. Get in on the ground floor here, because I see big things happening in New York with this brewery in the coming months.
  • Sweet Water Brewing Company - Speaking of breweries with big things happening, it seems like Sweet Water is popping up all over the place lately. In fact, I was enjoying one of their beers just yesterday. If you enjoy a beer with a hoppy bite to it--but one that's still pleasant to drink and isn't assaulting to your palate--you can't go wrong with any of their offerings.
  • Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales - Michigan has become a brewing powerhouse. Bell's, Founders, Dark Horse, and Jolly Pumpkin all call the state home and they all put out some excellent beers. I don't know what specific beers they'll be bringing to the festival, but if La Roja is one of them, we'll all be better off as human beings.
  • Prairie Artisan Ales - On the flip-side of Michigan is Oklahoma, which might have a burgeoning brewing scene, but I certainly haven't heard of it. All I've heard about from that state is the excellent beer coming out of Prairie Artisan Ales in Tulsa. They're afraid to try new things and they love to work with other breweries, which is a really cool approach that leads to very original and very delicious beers.
  • Westbrook Brewing Co. - Speaking of breweries that have done a fair amount of collaborating, South Carolina's Westbrook Brewing brews a lot of the beer conceived by Evil Twin, but also produces some really incredible beers of their own. Their gose, in particular, is a revelation and is absolutely one of my top 5 favorite beers ever.

So there you have a start, but of course, try whatever you can get your hands on--er, responsibly please--because there's not a bad one in the bunch.