When Brad Shell isn’t moving malt, he’s moving meat.
That sounds a little gross, so let me explain. As founder of The Unknown Brewing Co., Shell hosts a couple carnivorous affairs each year. There’s the brewery’s Chili Cookoff, in which yours truly and a team of chili-making friends competed last year (and handily lost), and there’s the brewery’s Smoke-Off, in which amateur pitmasters compete to see who has the best barbecue. Attend either annual event and you’re apt to find Shell cooking over a cast-iron pot that’s been in his family since before the Civil War. The Georgia native is deservedly proud of his Brunswick stew.
And between these two events, there’s the Bacon Beer Bash. Held next Wednesday at the taproom starting at 4 p.m., the event features a variety of beer styles that all share one thing in common: they’re brewed with bacon.
Prior to the inaugural event in 2014, I asked Shell why he’d do such a thing.
“Anything worth doing is worth doing with bacon,” he replied.
I’ve had a handful of beers brewed with bacon in my time, usually homebrewed stouts where the meat actually imparts a complementary smokiness to the base beer.
But for the Bacon Beer Bash, Shell isn’t limiting himself to just one style. Instead of being dry-hopped, a Citrus IPA will be “dry-hogged.” While saisons often have peppery notes from the yeast, in Shell’s case it comes from peppered bacon. Breakfast of the Gods is a big Belgian quad brewed with bacon, maple syrup and waffles. A cream ale called Hog-A-Pena was made with jalapeños and cream cheese.
Find the full list of seven bacon beers below. The Unknown Brewing Co. will tap the beers at 4 p.m. this Wednesday, Feb. 24. No tickets are required; simply pay by the pint or try a flight of several.