The All American Barbecue & Brew Fest at Worlds of Fun combines world class barbecue with beer from some of the best Midwestern craft brewers! Read on for my full experience attending this year's festival.
*Please note that as of March 2020, I do not believe Worlds of Fun hosts this festival any longer*
Where can you get food from an Executive Chef who has cooked for the likes of the Pope and past Presidents? Would you believe me if my answer was Kansas City's favorite theme park, Worlds of Fun? Worlds of Fun has Chef Kevin Williams at the helm, dreaming up creative cuisine that coaster fanatics and dignitaries alike would love. Chef Williams has taken on several challenges for the park in his years there, his very first task being switching the parks' barbecue restaurant to all authentic, slow-smoked meats. Having authentic barbecue is exceedingly important in Kansas City, where barbecue reigns king, but also a daunting task for such a large operation. Chef Williams also lends his creative flair to new and returning events, like the All American Barbecue and Brew Fest at the park. Craig and I attended last Friday night. We had a blast, and left absolutely stuffed!
How it Works
Tickets are available for purchase online and if you're a season ticket holder, you may be eligible for a discount or even some freebies based on your pass level. Tasting sessions are set up throughout the park so that you can come and go in between rides as you please. During the hours of the event, you can walk up to the tasting stations to claim your beer and food samples. Each station has one brewery represented with multiple beers, and a food choice. You're allow two beer samples from each brewery, and one small plate of food. As you collect your samples, staff will hole punch your pass for you.
You all know I'm picky about my barbecue. My husband is a world class smoker, and I regularly get to eat at restaurants owned by barbecue teams who have been crowned champions at the World Series of Barbecue which is held in KC each year. The food at the All American Barbecue and Brew Fest was good. Fantastically good. So good that I chased down Chef Williams to thank him for for his efforts. This meeting was serendipitous for me, because I then got to try his new creation, Red Velvet Funnel Cake. Heavenly!
While at the fest, we were able to sample six different small plates ranging from perfectly grilled shrimp and smoked ribs to a pulled pork sandwich and chicken wings. We were also served a Chicken and Waffles Cone, which we should REALLY make into a thing at all festivals and theme parks. You know how people always complain that barbecue is messy and doesn't translate well to festivals? Well, Chef Williams solved this with an insanely creative take on Chicken and Waffles. Baked beans, tender pulled chicken and coleslaw are layered in a waffle cone and served with barbecue sauce. I have to admit I was hesitant. I love Chicken and Waffles, but in a waffle cone? Say what? It was delicious, and I gobbled it up. Then, I wished they were for sale so I could buy another! Oh, and there was dessert. of course. Bananas Foster, because you shouldn't fix what isn't broken, right?
Beer is available for sampling from six different breweries. Worlds of Fun did a great job representing local Kansas City craft brewers, and reaching out into the surrounding region to find some of the best breweries. If you love craft beer, you probably relate to the extreme analysis paralysis that comes with choosing a new beer to try. I'm thrilled that craft beer is thriving and I now have thousands of choices at my finger tips. But how do you even begin the task of finding your next favorite beer or brewery to support? Craft beer festivals are my favorite way to find my new favorite beer!
Overall, we thought this event was a hit and well worth the trip out! It was a date night for us, and a super nice change from our typical dinner and a movie routine. We both found a few new beers that we'll happily buy in stores and the food and staff were exceptional! Being able to zip in and out of the festival to go ride some rides was an added bonus. We really went nuts over the newer wooden coaster, The Prowler! There are a ton of fun events coming up this season to check out. I personally can't wait for the World Food and Wine Festival!
Have questions or attended the All American Barbecue and Brew Fest yourself? Hit me up in the comments!