Hattiesburg Zoo hosts beer, bacon pairing


On Thursday, the Hattiesburg Zoo hosted Frosty Ales and Curly Tails, a bacon and beer pairing event targeted at young adults.

The event, exclusively for those 21 and older, lasted from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with an entry fee of $20 per guest. Each ticket insured guests access to games, live music by Tennessee folk duo Honeyboy and Boots, a dunking booth, a bacon eating contest and beer and bacon tasting stations. Over 200 confirmed guests attended and approximately 300 guests were expected to attend.

Hattiesburg restaurants The Keg and Barrel and Vicki’s on Walnut presented the bacon and beer pairings.  Each guest received a punch-card menu and a plastic mug to visit five different tasting stations, each of which had its own unique beer and corresponding bacon dish. The beer served at each station came from breweries that distribute locally or regionally, including Southern Prohibition, New Belgium and others.

Mississippi State representative for House District 102 and Southern Miss alumnus Toby Barker, who operated the dunking booth, noted the event was targeted toward young professionals in Hattiesburg.

“Hattiesburg is a great city,” Barker said. “Out of any city in the state, it offers a better quality of life, like the Austin of Mississippi. (It’s) great to see so many neighbors and friends come out.”

Hattiesburg Convention Commission sales and advertising director Matthew Godfrey commented that the event is important to the Hattiesburg community because it is the first of its kind

“It’s tapping into a market that maybe doesn’t ordinarily visit the zoo,” Godfrey said. “It’s kind of new and different, and it’s an adults-only event. So it gives us a good opportunity to showcase it and (show others) what we what we have to offer outside of just a day trip with your family to the zoo.”

Workers of the Hattiesburg Convention Commission managed all five pairing stations.

The initial booth prepared pulled pork belly over Gouda grits and paired the dish with Southern Prohibition’s Lazarus brew. The second booth presented lettuce-wrapped bacon with green tomato relish and bacon mayonnaise, which was paired with New Belgium’s 1554. NOLA Brewing Company’s 7th Street Wheat ale was sampled with bacon jam atop blackened gulf shrimp.

The fourth booth prepared cherry-smoked bacon and pimento spread on French crostini served with Tin Roof’s Voodoo. The fifth and final booth created a dessert dish of Shipley’s Donuts bread pudding and peanut butter bacon alongside Not Your Father’s Root Beer, a root beer flavored brew by Small Town Brewery. The bacon eating contest highlighted the event. Twenty-four contestants each received a pound of bacon and rushed to finish his or her respective pound first. There was a first-, second- and third-place winner.

For more information on upcoming events at the Hattiesburg Zoo, visit the zoo’s website, Facebook page or the Hattiesburg Convention Commission’s website. More information on Honeyboy and Boots can be found on the band’s Facebook page.