WASHINGTON -- Aaron Cohen of Boston, Mass., discovered a secret that attracts crowds of people to one of the food sampling events he organizes across the country. That secret is bacon.
"Food culture is pretty big and it's grown over the last couple of years, and bacon is a food item that people seem to put on a pedestal … They idolize bacon, basically," says Cohen, co-founder of Eat Boston and founder of the Bacon and Beer Festival.
Cohen has witnessed the bacon craze at his Boston, Denver, Austin, Philadelphia and Oakland Bacon and Beer festivals. Now, he's giving D.C. a taste of the salty and smokey trend with his April 12 Bacon and Beer Festival at Penn Social in Northwest.
Since he is from out of town, Cohen tapped D.C.-based freelance food writer Jamie Liu to help him bring together some of the city's best pork-centric chefs and local breweries for the festival.
The result is a two and a half hour event that will feature "bacon inspired" bites from restaurants such as Bar Pilar, Café Saint Ex, Bourbon Steak, Poste, The Pig, 1905, Agua 301, Art & Soul, Boundary Road, Chef Geoff's, Kitchen Cray, Bar Charley/Jackie's, Penn Social and Three Little Pigs.
"It's a way for the chef to take a food item and be very creative with it," Cohen says.
Samples of craft beer will flow from Chocolate City Beer, DC Brau, Dogfish Head, Fordham/Old Dominion, Full Tilt, Sam Adams, Starr Hill, Three Stars and Union Craft Brewing.
In addition to featuring food and beer, the event will donate a portion of its proceeds to Food & Friends, a nonprofit food preparation, delivery and counseling organization in D.C.
"It's a really great way to help the restaurants and breweries give back to the community, and both the restaurants and breweries are so generous with their time and their product," Cohen says.
Tickets for the Bacon and Beer Festival range from $45 to $60 and go on sale Thursday, March 13 on the event's website.
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