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Keystone Festivals is entering its 11th year of the Bacon and Bourbon Festival, which means we are pretty much bacon experts. Check out some bacon pairings your taste buds won’t believe.

We have seen our amazing vendors make hundreds of delicious recipes and keep coming back year after year with incredible menu items and unique ideas. Bacon suppliers Berkwood Farms, City Meat Market, and  Des Moines Bacon Company always bring the most incredible bacon. 

So, this year, we wanted to bring you our ultimate guide to bacon, starting with an explanation of all the different kinds of bacon and ending with some fun bacon pairings and recipes you may have never thought of! 

Bacon Comes in Many Different Shapes and Sizes

a young girl in a big hat takes a big bite of bacon
Keystone’s Bacon and Bourbon Festival Always Takes Place in Late June

To us, every kind of bacon is fantastic. We classify bacon into three different categories: peppery, maple, or smoked bacon. 

  • Peppery bacon has always got a little kick to it and can pair well with foods it balances with like chocolate, creamy soup or cheesy potatoes, and even fruit. 
  • Maple bacon is the breakfast lovers’ dream. We like maple bacon with traditional breakfast foods like pancakes, but it can also be great on desserts or citrusy foods to break up the sweet.
  • Last but not least is smoked bacon. Hickory or Applewood smoked bacon is the creme de la creme of tastiness. The smoky flavor adds something irreplaceable! Other meats and seafood pair well with this type of bacon, but honestly, it can stand alone too!

Alright, here are our top 7 bacon pairings you may have never thought of:

  1. Peanut Butter & Bacon
  2. Bloodies & Bacon
  3. Bacon Cheddar Popcorn
  4. Big Wave & a BLT
  5. Apples & Bacon 
  6. Pork Belly & Maple Birddog Whiskey 
  7. Last but not least, Bacon & Bourbon (duh!)
peanut butter and bacon toast
Ever Have Peanut Butter and Bacon? Mouth Watering!

Pairing #1: Peanut Butter & Bacon

Elvis was right when he fell in love with bacon and peanut butter. Something about the salty bacon with the slight sweetness and creaminess of peanut butter is delicious. Check out this sweet and savory peanut butter-bacon sandwich recipe and make sure to keep an eye out for bacon and peanut butter pairings at Keystone’s Bacon and Bourbon festival

Bacon Pairing #2: Bloodies & Bacon

Bloody Buddy, RTD Bloody Mary returns to Bacon and Bourbon Festival. Bacon doesn’t only belong in breakfast cocktails though. Check out this Bacon and Bourbon Cocktail, complete with a bacon simple syrup that will definitely get you amped on our unlimited bacon this year!

bloody mary being poured into a bacon and bourbon mug.
Who Would Have Thought a Premixed Bloody Mary Could Taste This Good!

Pairing #3: Bacon Cheddar Popcorn

Bacon fat is a required element of this recipe (we know it says optional, but it’s required, trust us!) That can only mean it will be tastier than expected. The saltiness of the popcorn with the delicious melty cheese and that luxurious bacon make this Bacon Cheddar Popcorn a must-eat!

Pairing #4: Big Wave Golden Ale & a BLT

Making a perfect BLT is a thing of absolute beauty, but pair it with a refreshing golden ale from Kona Brewing CO and you have heaven on a plate. We recommend this balanced beer because the malt to hop ratio is guaranteed to cut through the creamy mayo and bacon grease. Give it a try, it’s incredible– we promise!

Pairing #5: Spicy Wonton Tacos with Bacon, Jalapeno, & a Green Apple Sauce 

When spice meets sweet meets salty, have you found perfection? Lime Cantina is pulling out all the stops with this blend of flavor added into a crispy wonton shell. Make sure you get your food pass to test this food sample out!

an IPA tap handle
Bacon & Beer – We’ll Cheers to That!

Bacon Pairing #6: Pork Belly Bacon & Maple Bird Dog Whiskey

Pork belly is basically the king of bacon as we discussed earlier. And, what better combination than the king of bacon with the king of bourbon? Maple Birddog Whiskey is the perfect sweet counterpart to such a delicious slice of happiness. 

Bacon Pairing #7: Last but not least, Bacon and Bourbon (duh)

bird dog whiskey is poured into a branded shot glass
The Festival Bourbon Tour is Always Popular with Over 50 Varieties of Bourbon to Try!

Our Hungry Hog package at Colorado’s best Bacon and Bourbon Festival features our Bourbon Tour. So, while we know a lot about bacon, we also know a bit about bourbon.

Bourbon and bacon are a classic pairing because of their complementary flavors– smoky bacon and barrel-finished oak flavors of the bourbon are a natural fit. But, you can always be sure to choose a slice of bacon that doesn’t overpower your bourbon, and therefore, we recommend high-proof bourbons with intense bacon (like applewood smoked flavors). 

Our classy and smoky bourbon cocktail is a Smoked Bacon Old Fashioned. This is a cocktail you have to work for complete with candied bacon, maple syrup, and your favorite bourbon. Don’t have a favorite bourbon yet? Bacon and Bourbon Festivals is truly the event for you!

We are excited to announce the TINCUP Whiskey Tour this year at our Colorado kickoff summer festival. See the list of bourbon vendors here. 

Thanks for reading our best bacon pairings! We can’t wait to celebrate all things bacon (and bourbon) at the 11th Annual Bacon and Bourbon Festival this summer in Colorado!