The start of a new year means more opportunities to explore, to indulge and to enjoy all that the world has to offer. For many, this means traveling, dining out, and experiencing new things as much as possible with the ones they love. No matter where you go in the United States, each state, city and town has some form of food or beverage that they’re proud to call their own. Knowing where to go and what to sample can often be tricky. However, throughout the year, large food and beverage festivals help to bring people together from all over each state to help take the guess work out of the equation.
From hamburgers to pizzas, and from ice cream sundaes to apple pies, each state across the U.S has something to offer, and attending a festival that has them all laid out for you, can help you to better decide in your own opinion just what the best dish or brew truly is. For savory eats, craft beers, gourmet wines, and homemade aged cheeses, to mention but a few, these festivals are the ones you want to mark on your calendar, take time off work for, and truly dig into in 2016.
Taste of Vail
The people of Vail come together in a big way for this platform to promote the community’s ever–evolving food and beverage assets. This festival is unique in that you can do just about everything over the course of the 5 day event. Hit the slopes, taste food from a variety of local eateries from local chefs, and taste the one of a kind wines made by vintners native only to Vail. With more than 30 chefs and restaurants represented, and over 50 wineries, your palate and your appetite will never be bored.
Willamette Week’s Eat Mobile Festival
It should come as no surprise that Portland, the home of “weird”, does food festivals a little differently. With over 400 food trucks at the event, every April the city’s best street food battles it out in one place. With Portland being known for its eccentric style, local chefs truly put their own flair into the food they make, so expect to see some wacky creations, but ones with lots of love poured in as well as flavor. In past years, the event took place under the Morrison Bridge, but last year in 2015 it utilized cart pods. Buses picked up and dropped patrons off from a large parking lot, and shuttled them to the location of all of the trucks. Tickets are limited, as the event can only hold around 500 people at a time, so look out for them to be available in early April.
Taste of Chicago
“The Taste” as it is so lovingly called by locals, is the world’s largest outdoor food festival. It has been running for over 30 years, and is a five day festival that easily gathers over 2 million people from across the world each and every year. Held at Chicago’s famous Grant Park on the lakefront, it has one of the largest varieties of Chicago’s famous deep dish pizzas, as well as other regional foods, this event is great for all of the family. With over 50 booths and tents to choose from, the smells filling the air during this hot summer food festival is worth the price of admission alone.
LA Food & Wine Festival
This 4 day event spotlights and showcases 151 world renowned chefs, 30 different restaurants and 200 vineyards. With such a diverse and large food and drink culture in Los Angeles, this is one of the premiere events of the year. With its central hub beginning at Grand Avenue, and seemingly expanding across downtown LA, not only can you see the sights (and maybe a celebrity or two), but you can really taste the culture in everything you eat as well.
New York, NY, May 21st, 2016/Des Moines, Iowa, August, 2016/Minneapolis, MN, October, 2016
With a name as attention grabbing as this, and 3 different places and times throughout the year to experience the madness, this festival is truly one of a kind. Where the Wild Beers Are is unlike anything around because it is a single-style beer festival, Meaning, unlike other festivals that let you sample beers of all styles, this is just giving you one. It may sound strange, but the variations of just one type of beer are abundant, and enough to keep you entertained. Without any sign of kegs or even official brewers, this festival sees you consuming wild and sour ales from people just like yourself that have an affinity for beer, meaning exposed to “wild” yeast or bacteria rather than exclusively fermented with “pure” yeast. Every 750ml bottle of sour, wild, or farmhouse beer you bring can be traded in for 10 drink tickets.
The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is a three day annual event that typically sees thousands of people flocking to the Mile High city to sample and purchase well over 1,600 different American beers. Over 100 beer judges from the all over the world participate in dissecting close to 2,300 beers entered by more than 450 domestic breweries, with 69 categories being given gold, silver or bronze awards. If you love beer and you love exploring new cities with great people, you’ll love this festival and everything surrounding it.