Day Trips: Greensboro pairs suds and sizzle on Saturday

Pig Fest – Saturday in Greensboro – pairs beer and all-you-can-eat pork.
Pig Fest – Saturday in Greensboro – pairs beer and all-you-can-eat pork.

There are those among us who believe federal dietary guidelines should be updated to make beer and pork sausage two of five recommended food groups. This is neither the time nor place for that issue to be chewed over.

Much better might be Saturday afternoon in Greensboro, during Pig Fest, where Natty Greene’s Brewing Co. and Neese’s Country Sausage are teaming their product lines for four hours of suds, sizzle and live music. And wrapping it up with a Sooie Contest.

The event is for a good cause – $5 from each $30 ticket benefits the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina.

Guilford County is where J.T. (“Thiede”) Neese began selling sausage out of a truck close to a century ago. The business remains in family hands – the fourth generation – and has been at its current Greensboro location since 1933. The brewery’s origins are more recent, but also locally rooted. In the 1990s, Kayne Fisher and Chris Lester bought a bar and grill near the UNC-Greensboro campus, retitled it Old Town Draught House and began, focusing on craft beers. They launched Natty Greene’s in 2004 – early in the brewpub trend – at Greensboro’s Elm and McGee streets. A bottling/kegging production brewery and Raleigh brewpub followed.

Pig Fest will be staged at 1918 W. Lee St., at the production brewery – about a mile from the company’s original location. The event takes places in and around The Bunker, its on-site tasting room. Most of the year, The Bunker is open Fridays only, with seven taps of limited-release beer available only there. This weekend, it adds June-September Saturday operation.

Pig Fest is four hours of all-you-can eat pork. The $30 admission includes meat at four “Pig Stations” offering snout-to-tail products:

▪ The Savory station offers pork in dessert products, like the deviled ham served at Natty Greene’s brewpubs, pork belly topped with mango chutney – and bacon brownies (yes; brownies with bacon in them).

▪ The East vs. West BBQ station has vinegar, tomato and/or Natty-brand barbecue sauce for pork shoulders and butts cooked Saturday at Pork Fest.

▪ The Ribtastic station has St. Louis-style ribs with dry rib, mustard and “sticky-Q” sauces.

▪ Traditional N.C. is where Neese’s brings out a variety of its products: C-Loaf, souse, livermush, liver pudding and possibly hog dip (a spicy dip that includes its sausage; you eat it with corn chips).

Each station will be suggesting a beer pairing for those 21 and older.

Samplings include Natty Greene’s current seasonal (Freedom America IPA), the recent Lexington Smoked IPA, and a limited batch prepared for this event – Porkshot Amber, made from their Buckshot Amber Ale and infused with actual bacon.

The brewery is also selling $4 pints from the core lineup.

There will be live music from the Greensboro band Yer Crooked Cousins.

The Sooie Contest is staged toward the day’s end. Those who sign up for the pig-calling competition are judged by the crowd. The winner goes home with a Pig Fest goodies package.

Tickets are available online and will be sold at the gate until capacity (400 people) is reached. Admission for ages 6-12: $15.

Bordsen is the Observer’s travel editor.

Pig Fest

HOURS: 4-8 p.m. Saturday at the Natty Greene’s production brewery, 1918 W. Lee St., Greensboro.

DIRECTIONS: I-85 North to Greensboro exit 120A; follow U.S. 29 North into Greensboro; take U.S. 220/Freeman Mill Road north; turn left onto Coliseum Boulevard. Just past the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, turn left onto Lee Street (turn right on Lee instead for parking).