The Big Grill Festival

August 26, 2014 – Craft & artisian food reviews
Big bellies from delicious beers and grilled meat. Life is now complete!

This weekend the much anticipated ‘big grill festival’ came to pass. A BBQ and craft beer festival featuring live demos, workshops, eating contests and entertainment for the kids. It seemed from the website that there was something to appeal to everyone and, when I arrived, this is what struck me first; there were as many children running freely as there were adult cracking into craft beers and people of all ages chowing down on what the food vendors had to offer . The weather was was appearing to be holding out so, with that, we were left to ponder the biggest decision of the day; what to eat and drink first.



With the selection ranging from fresh ginger beer to beer flavoured candy floss and everything in between, it took a while to make that all important first choice. Thankfully I was accompanied by a few friends with a wide range of tastes who were kind enough to let me try their beers after I had gone with my own relatively safe pale ale choice. The atmosphere of the weekend was relaxed, the area was adorned with picnic mats crammed with people lounging and enjoying the eats, only jumping up to grab another drink or stare aghast at the eating competitions that were taking place on stage throughout the day.



If the eating contests hadn’t dampened your appetite and the time had come where you felt you could possibly consume more food or beverages, there were plenty of eager staff at each concession only too happy to assist you towards your next choice. With a mix of Thai, Indian, BBQ & chicken orientated stalls (and more), you could have easily spent the weekend without going back to the same place twice.

There were some big name restaurants being represented over the weekend serving up  fresh food on par with what they offer day-to-day despite being dealt out of much simpler establishments. Although the crowd seemed, for the most part, pleased with their food choices, there were a few who were disappointed with the lack of hearty BBQ options available; some vendor were simply pimped out food vans and did not seem related to the cooking theme advertised.



The token payment option appeared to initially be at the forefront of peoples minds with concern about how much money should be traded for ‘big grill notes’ but, with most drink options being €5 and foods being 10. It seemed easier to manage than first anticipated. The overall tone of the day was carefree and happy, hardly surprising when you have given people the excuse to sit around and eat all day with the attitude of ‘I’ve paid in, I’m going to make it worth my while’. Thankfully they didn’t skimp on the facilities either, which, considering the copious amounts of beer being consumed, was definitely an important element not missed.


Aside from just the consuming of hipster alcohol and sweat-inducing portions of meat, there were other goings-on to keep people entertained. The demos which took place throughout the day went down a treat and there were different hang-outs if you hadn’t come equipped with a picnic blanket.



As the evening swiftly drew to a close, I had made the assumptions that the emphasis would move away from the food and towards the sounds systems surrounding the main stage; while there was music being played, there wasn’t much of a mood change between daytime and evening with a feeling of a lull happening somewhere between finishing your last round of binging and being ready to actually leave. Then again, with a clear focus on the food and a desire to maintain a family atmosphere, I can see how a few blaring tunes mixed with that much beer could take things from baby daddy to ‘who’s your daddy’ in 2 seconds flat.




Overall the festival seemed to go down well; having catered to sold out crowds, filling thousands of bellies and satisfying even the fussiest of drinkers thirst for the alternative. I heard whispers of contrast to ‘taste of Dublin’ throughout the weekend. A comparison that was inevitably going to be drawn with food and drinks being served in an outdoor area but I think Big grill stood it’s own this weekend.People who paid full price for tickets at €15 instead of being lucky enough to nab any array of ticket deals being offered in the week leading up to the event felt that they should have gotten something for that price; parting with 15 blips wouldn’t seem so wrong if it was washed down with a complementary beer on arrival. For those who cashed in on the more prudent last minute ‘6 tickets for 30 euro’ deals, it pains me to say but, sometimes the early bird does not, in fact, catch the worm.
They successfully pulled off the first weekend catering to a crowd who had all come looking for something a bit different and left with good memories, enough food eaten to get them through the winter and the hint of a ‘morning after’ headache to come.
I look forward to what will be on offer for #biggrill15


Words & Photography: i come undone