Experiencing the Big E in food and beer

Somehow, 28 years of my life as a person who resides in New England passed without me ever going to The Big E. I never really understood what it was until this year, when it finally clicked that it's a giant fair with crazy food and an abundance of regional craft beer. Obviously, I had to go.

So a group of us went on Saturday, the coldest day and grayest day in some time. We warmed up with some fresh, hot beignets from Piche's Beignets. They transported Jason and I back to our respective trips to New Orleans (specifically visits to Cafe Du Monde and Cafe Beignet).

big e food

The beignets from Piche's Beignets were just as good as Cafe Du Monde's!

As should happen with any bag of decent beignets, we were covered in powdered sugar and left a trail as we headed deeper into the Big E.

One snack down, many to go. We washed the beignets down with refreshments at the Harpoon beer garden tent. I had an un-pictured Flannel Friday. (Check out my Untappd page for an overview of the Big E in beer).

We made our way to the state buildings to discover the finest food, beers and wares that Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine have to offer. I grabbed an Ice Cream Man IPA from Back East Brewing Co. at the Connecticut building to complement my quahog chowder from Rhode Island.

big e food and beer

Back East Brewing's Ice Cream Man IPA pairs well with a cup of quahog chowder.

I haven't had a chance to visit Back East yet, so this was one way to get a pour of one of their beers! This was juicy IPA was refreshing and balanced the salty, savory chowder.

After perusing a few of the other state buildings, it was back to Rhode Island to grab a beer. I tried Revival Brewing Company's Night Swim'ah, a witbier. It was pretty good but I like a lighter wit. This was almost too fruity for me (at least, fruitier than I was expecting).

big e beer

Left – Revival Brewing Company's Night Swim'ah. Right – my friend's blueberry beer (forgot to take note of this one).

Like a dummy, I pronounced it "Night Swimmer" when I ordered, and was greeted with exclamations of "Night Swim'ah!" reminiscent of Peter Griffin's buttscratcher salesman days.

After some time spent on the Midway wasting money on carnival games, it was time to eat a full meal. We sat down at the Sam Adams Brew Garden, which served pub food. I got the Harvest Hefe, which was delightful. It's basically a pumpkin spiced hefeweizen. My basic self loved it.

big e beer

Sam Adam's Harvest Hefe. I really liked this!

The Sam Adams Brew Garden is also home of the mac and cheese burger, which I indulged. The mac and cheese was dry so I was a little disappointed, but it filled me up for the rest of the evening. The chips were great!

big e food

The mac & cheese burger from the Sam Adams brew garden, plus some yummy chips.

It was too cold and dreary to stick around much longer after dinner, so we called it an evening. There was so much more to see and do, but now I know better for next year (which is just 345 days away!) I wanted to check out the Wine & Cheese Barn, but the line was too long and stayed that way the entire day. Next time we'll get there when the gates open and line up for the wine and cheese. It looked like it would have been worth the wait.

Have you ever been to the Big E? What was your favorite thing to eat/drink? 

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