Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Great America Red, White, and Brews

As one who hasn’t frequented Great America since I last owned a season pass (back when houses were affordable), it was with a keen sense of nostalgia that I devoted this past Saturday to checking out their Red, White & Brews event. Would the place be as vast as I remember? Could I handle the permanently-looped opening strains of the Top Gun soundtrack while in line for 45 minutes at the eponymous ride?

Spoiler alert: it’s even more fun as an adult. Because, you know, alcohol; and you’re grown-up enough to remember to wear sunscreen.  Also Top Gun was re-named years ago when Paramount sold the park to Cedar Fair, so at least there was no threat of death-by-soundtrack. As an added bonus, Great America has these lovely things called Fast Passes, which (for a fee) let you skip most of the lines anyways. Who says the world isn’t becoming a better place?

Back to the original reason for this posting. The Great America staff kindly invited members of the San Jose Blog team to cover their Red, White & Brews event. They provided us with the press release (previously covered), which showed an impressive number of brewery/winery choices, and well as some special food offerings.

It was a rollicking good time. The SJ Blog team divvied up the beer tastings so we got to at least try the majority of the beers served in tidy little kiosks around the event area. The San Jose Beer Bike was also present, so we hopped on that and pedaled around the park doing our best Avril Lavigne karaoke, much to the amusement of the other park goers... at least judging by how many decided to participate as we cycled by.

The food was quite tasty, and, being the adventurous souls that we are, we all started off with the chicken heart skewers (see photo). The skewers are proof that one can grill nearly anything, slather it in BBQ sauce, wrap bacon around it, and feed it to the pickiest eater with no shame. The grilled corn was excellent. We split up the desserts so we could try each – but the clear winner was the apple bacon cheddar parfait, followed up by an off-menu selection that tasted vaguely like peaches soaked in a cinnamon-bourbon syrup. You had us at bourbon.

We then decided to make use of our Fast Passes and hopped on several roller coasters, which were just as amusing as any of us remembered (particularly the front row to Top Gun… er, Flight Deck). For those readers over the age of 30, if you haven’t been to the park since your teens, just remember that your spines aren’t the robust things they once were, and plan your riding schedule accordingly, perhaps interspersing them with regular stops at the food and beer kiosks.

The event was immensely enjoyable. Count us in next year; we look forward to continued events that highlight local brewing and winemaking talent.

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