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A Weekend of Beer, BBQ and Plenty of Fun

July 27, 2011

This past weekend, Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, Vermont threw a big party revolving around BBQ, beer and music (personally, three of my favorite things). And boy, was it a party!

This being my first time at the Harpoon Championships of New England Barbecue Festival, I didn’t quite know what to expect.  I imagined rows of smokers cooking delicious pieces of meat, the sun shining above, relaxing to the tunes of some great bands and of course –drinking some great Harpoon beer.

Everyone was all smiles during the festival!

It was everything I wanted… and more.

Forty teams competed over two days, and the smokers were on full blast and the taps were open. Even in the heat, people were walking around with smiles on their faces and cooling down at the water truck (that had a sprinkler attached to the side of it) and enjoying the opportunity to try some of the country’s best barbecue with a pint of delicious, local beer.

And while the smell of BBQ filled the area, there was plenty to do – you could relax in the shade with a pint of Harpoon IPA and listen to music, kids could get their face painted and the whole family could enjoy a tour of our Windsor brewery. It was truly an event that brought the New England community together for the perfect summer weekend!

The beers available paired perfectly with the scrumptious offerings that surrounded the brewery. On Saturday, when the temperatures soared, I enjoyed washing down some amazing beef brisket and a pulled pork sandwich with an ice-cold Harpoon Summer Beer. Another crowd favorite? Not surprisingly it was UFO White – with its slight citrus notes, the refreshing beer definitely helped everyone keep their cool while the temperature was rising.

For those who were interested in learning more about beer and food pairings, Beer and BBQ University gave everyone the opportunity learn from the best. They gave everyone the opportunity to sample a wide variety of Harpoon beers perfectly paired with BBQ from Professor Kevin Flannery from of Slowpokes BBQ.  Delicious!

Both days of the Harpoon Championships of New England Barbecue Festival brought out some of the best barbecue that the region has to offer. This year’s overall Grand Champion title went to Lakeside Smokers, however all 40 competing teams put on an impressive show and definitely left everyone with a smile on their face and a belly full of barbecue (I know I did)!

Another highlight? Giving back to the community.

Ellen O’Reilly, one of Harpoon’s talented graphic designers, drew a crowd at her caricature stand, which was helping raise money for the upcoming Point to Point Ride to benefit the Vermont Foodbank. Over the weekend, festival goers raised over $800 for the Vermont Foodbank, between posing for caricatures and dropping money in the many coin banks.

Hope you all had as much fun as I did!

So, all in all, my first Harpoon BBQ Festival an amazing experience. I had a great time with everyone who came out and definitely had my fair share of various barbecued meats.

And the fried Oreos were amazing.

What was your favorite part of the festival? Tell us on our Harpoon Riverbend Taps & Beer Garden at the Harpoon Brewery Facebook page!

See you there next year!

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