Last weekend, Mohegan Sun hosted the 2017 Sun Wine and Food Fest. While there was an abundance of great wine and food options available at the Grand Tasting and celebrity chef dine-around events, there were several other events during the festival with more to offer than just wine and food.
A bourbon tasting event Friday night featured several top notch whiskeys. The Maker’s Mark Cask Strength was an ode to vanilla. Baker’s bourbon featured nice caramel notes and a robust finish. Basil Hayden’s was a nice smoothed out choice, and for rye fans there was Knob Creek’s offering. Paired with excellent brisket from Hartford’s Bear’s Smokehouse and a mac and cheese bar to boot, you had everything a bourbon fan could need.
If you smartly managed to save room, however, afterwards was chef Aaron Sanchez’s Mexican Night Market, with great Mexican dishes to round off a solid evening. The vegetable empanandas might have actually been sent from heaven. The mole station featuring green mole with pork and mole poblano with short rib was also a real treat. A raw bar including oysters and lobster ceviche was a welcome offering, and there was plenty of Dos Equis, Tecate, and margaritas to keep the party going.
The best kept secret of the Grand Tasting on Saturday is the beer section upstairs! IPAs were the name of the game this year. Sam Adams came through with an array of hoppy brews, including their redesigned Rebel IPA. New Belgium also brought their newly reformulated Voodoo Ranger IPA, a more tropical/citrusy take on the previous version. Local favorites Grey Sail brought their new Keller Pils along with Captain’s Daughter DIPA, while Two Roads came with a variety including Lil’ Heaven session IPA, Route of All Evil hoppy dark ale, Espressway coffee stout, and the excellent Bog Wild, a cranberry sour ale. Otter Creek also had a great new IPA, Free Flow. Guinness showed strong with their new Brewer’s Project West Indies and Dublin Porters, and Goose Island rounded out the selection with their Matilda wild ale and their Preseason Lager.
If you hadn’t had enough whiskey on Friday, The Grand Tasting also featured a Jim Beam cocktail station and a selection from Michter’s Whiskeys. The Elite Cru tasting, previously confined to only high-end wines (not that there’s anything wrong with that), mixed things up this year in the form of some excellent Scotches: Auchentoshan 12, Bowmore 25, and the delightful Laphroig Lore, a tour de force in integrating smoke and sweetness.
All in all, a formidable weekend (and that’s not even mentioning all the world class food and wine on top of it)! The Sun Wine and Food Fest knows how to do it right, proving once again that Mohegan Sun really has something for everyone.