Beast Feast 2013
Succulent meat cooks at the 2013 Beast Feast
If I had to name the most sense-enchanting food event that I attended in 2013, it would be Beast Feast, hands down. When you arrive at Scotchtown on Sunday, Sept. 28, you'll walk through a field toward a hazy blue cloud nestled in the trees where hay bales and tents punctuate the landscape, and the closer you get, the deeper and richer the smell of sizzling meat will become. But you'll find the real jaw-dropper when you round a bend and see what’s hanging over the huge open fires; peace out, ego and super-ego. It’s party time for the id.
Beast Feast is the brainchild of Belmont Butchery proprietor Tanya Cauthen, who enlists Richmond chefs for the wild-style local meat and veggie cooking extravaganza. This year’s lineup includes The Magpie’s Owen Lane, Rappahannock’s Travis Croxton, Julep’s Randall Doetzer, The Rogue Gentlemen’s Aaron Hoskins, Aziza’s Kyle Cox, The Governor’s Mansion’s Chris Blain, The Federal Reserve Bank’s Dave Quisenberry and The Whole Ox Butchery’s Derek and Amanda Luhowiak. Keeping it local, the turkeys, goats, pigs and vegetables they’ll be preparing all hail from Virginia farms, with one exception: Creekstone Farms, from Kansas. I’m not sure what’s on the new menu as far as vegetarian options go, but last year’s stewed greens, salads, mac 'n' cheese and sweet potatoes were insanely tasty.
Live tunes by The Honky Tonk Experience will once again fill the smoky air, and VIPs will sip cocktails fashioned by brilliant mix-men like The Roosevelt’s Brandon Peck and The Rogue Gentlemen’s John Maher. Wine and beer will flow freely, poured by the hands that feverishly type your local food news. And all of it — the liquor (James River Distillery, Reservoir Distillery, Belle Isle Craft Spirits, Virginia Distillery), the beer (Center of the Universe), the wine (Blenheim, Tap26), the cider (Blue Bee) — is also from Virginia.
Here’s where your super-ego returns, satisfied: proceeds from Beast Feast benefit the site on which it takes place, Scotchtown, a historic landmark under the care of Preservation Virginia. Patrick Henry lived at Scotchtown when he delivered his “Liberty or Death” at St. John’s Church. I’m going to think about that as I’m driving home at 55 mph in a gas-powered machine.
Important note: Tickets sold out last year so you might want to secure yours now, before 2013's attendees remember how much fun they had and scramble for passes. A well-spent $50 gets you unlimited food, beer and wine, and $80 bumps you into the VIP tier for free cocktails and extras.