3rd Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience

It’s that time of year again!  Bust out the balloons and cake because it is time to celebrate!  Another year older means another year wiser – right? 

This year my husband and I decided we were not going to buy each other individual gifts for our birthdays this year.  Now before you think I am crazy for passing up a new birthday gift, you should know we still DID get each other a joint gift.  While we were throwing out ideas of possible gift ideas we realized our top two choices pretty quickly; something for our house or an experience that we could both share together.  Since we are constantly doing things for the house, we thought the experience might be more special and settled on the 3rd Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience as soon as we heard about it!


Our birthdays are exactly one week apart in March so this event was perfect to capitalize on both our special days being that it was held on March 8th, 2015.  We were excited to go to something in our local community that we had never been to before.  Sharing new experiences is one of our favorite things to do together and always makes us feel closer to one another.  The hubs and I have been to our fair share of beer festivals, food truck rodeos, BBQ festivals, and everything else you can think of related to tasty beverages and yummy treats.   Basically, we live to eat!  What I want you to know about this event is it truly is an “experience” and an amazing one at that!


This experience was held at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) in Durham, North Carolina and presented by Sam’s Quickshop and Tyler’s Taproom.  With 34 local restaurants and 56 breweries participating, it was the biggest and best Bull City Food and Brew Experience yet!  Two of my personal favorite aspects of the event were the live bluegrass music from the Barefoot Movement and the Special NC Brewers Guild Onstage Experience.  Checkout how the Barefoot Movement plays without any shoes!! 

Both of these were held on the actual stage of the DPAC and gave you a new perspective of the performance venue.  There was also plenty of space to stretch out as all of the seating throughout the DPAC was up for dibs.  We grabbed a beer, some amazing pork belly from Tyler’s Taproom, and popped a squat in the first row to listen to some great tunes. 

Tyler’s Taproom Pork with a Chutney and Cheerwine Reduction
On Stage Experience

Everything about this event was well planned out and executed to perfection.  Let’s break it down to why this is a MUST DO:

Anyone who has ever purchased a ticket to a beerfest that runs for 4 hours and spends 30 of those minutes waiting in line just to get through the door, knows this can be one of the most frustrating starts to your day.  You are excited and eager to get started at the first brewery yet all you can do is wait and watch the clock tic onward.  Hurry up and wait.

Well, at the Bull City Food and Beer Experience, this could not be farther from the case.  There was literally no line for us.  We walked up and walked right through the door.  We were immediately handed our souvenir tasting glass, which was actually glass, and a layout of the participating breweries and restaurants.  Seconds later we had our first pour and scrumptious tacos in our bellies from Nanas Taco.  Oh, did I not mention there were no lines for food or beer?  Yeah, I could not believe it either but I swear it is true.  The longest I waited for anything was maybe one or two people in front of me.

Chocolate Croissants

Let’s not forget another line that is killer at events like these…the bathroom line.  Normally, this is something I dread; leaving my place in the line up of breweries to make the trek to the port-a-potty, stand in line for 20 minutes, and all the while knowing you will have to do it all over again in an hour.  Well, since this was held at the DPAC, there were more than enough restrooms for everyone and I never once waited in a line. 

Durham is rapidly becoming one of the best foodie cities in the nation and this event is no exception.  The best of the best showed up in full force.  (A complete list of participating restaurants and breweries can be found here.)

These guys didn’t just show up and provide us with great food, they worked together with one another to really showcase what they can do and provide us with the best experience possible. 


Part of this is in how the event was set up.  Each brewery was teamed up with a restaurant.  They worked together ahead of time so the food would pair well and compliment the beers brought by the brewery. 

Most of the time there was at least two menu samplings (and please don’t let sampling trick you into thinking they were small) and each one paired to a specific beer.  The knowledgeable staff and owners were great at explaining the subtleties and complexities in the pairing of flavors that may have otherwise gone unappreciated.  They also were welcoming with offers to their establishments (which we have already taken them up on since the event). 


Another great feature (there really are too many to keep track) is that there was no limit to the number of samples in which you could partake.  We must have stood at the new England clam chowder with chorizo area for five minutes and eaten just as many servings.  And if that is not reason enough to brag about this event, how about unlimited pours?  That’s right!  First, they fill your glass to the tippity top.  Then, you can just stand there and refill if you like that particular beer!  Unlike any other event by far!!

If you are not local to this area, I would definitely recommend the Bull City Food and Beer Experience for a weekend away or a special occasion.  You will not be disappointed.   It was the perfect way for us to celebrate our birthdays and may even become a yearly tradition.  I am already looking forward to next year!


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