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With six years under its belt, there is not a doubt that BottleRock Napa Valley has become a pioneer and an innovator.

Multiple stages are packed with fun for all tastes. The culinary stage brings together chefs, artists and athletes for memorable shows like that one time Iron Chef Morimoto went on stage with renowned hip-hop artist Snoop Dog to roll sushi.

BottleRock has become an irresistible excuse to attend the festival just to explore the diversity of food available all in one place.

Not many festivals attract the caliber and multicultural cuisine that BottleRock does — from Michelin star chefs to American and Japanese Iron Chefs and even highly sought-after food trucks.

As expected, a significant number of Napa Valley’s most recognizable eateries were present for this year’s festival.

But let’s not forget the proper beverages to enlighten the experience. This event hosts a collection of wineries, spirits and beer to ensure concert-goers have plenty to imbibe.

There are many levels of experience, from the general admission experience, which tops any festival in the planet to the Platinum lounge where Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers pour Champagne, cult wines and sake with renowned mixologist Scott Beattie making unique cocktails, paired with Meadowood Napa Valley bites.

The Food

With something for everyone, organizers certainly did their homework. Are you a pizza fan? Covered. Indian food? Yes. Plus poke, vegan, meat-eater and even great dessert options.

The Thomas Keller team brought plenty of options from their classic ham and cheese sandwich from Bouchon ($13) to the famous Buttermilk Fried Chicken (three pieces, $20) to the new venture into Mexican cuisine La Calenda with their killer elote, (grilled corn) ($7).

Local legends like Fumè Bistro offered San Francisco Giants-style garlic fries ($6) are great to get the appetite going while browsing the venue.

Ristorante Allegria featured a simple and well executed steak sandwich ($13), a bang for your buck and great mid-day snack.

Newcomer and highly anticipated opening this year Japanese Iron Chef Hal Yamashita showed up with all bells and whistles showcasing an Omakase (in chefs’ hands) ($28), which included Wagyu Beef Yakiniku, a beautiful sushi roll with wagyu beef and sesame seeds and two pieces of Tokyo-style Chicken Karaage (fried chicken and also including a traditional iced matcha green tea. A great option to get acquainted and to enjoy while listening to Mumford & Sons.

For an excellent vegan option there was Tarla Mediterranean offering roasted chickpeas with a salad on a grilled pita ($13) ideal for the Flora Cash performance.

Sonoma’s Girl and the Fig showed up with an amazing pizza option featuring goat cheese, scallions, leeks and bacon ($20) excellent option for a Con Brio performance.

Of course, we couldn’t talk about BottleRock Napa Valley’s culinary bounty without mentioning Chef Masaharu Morimoto, who has been a part since Day 1. This year, his selections included the popular Menchi Katsu Burger, a fried patty served with tartar and barbecue sauce ($18) and the incomparable hand rolls with spicy tuna ($12) that made a hell of a pairing with his Guinness World Record set — breaking down and portioning a 205-pound tuna in less than 15 minutes. It even included two famous Sumo wrestlers on stage.

Sweet tooth? There was a selection of San Francisco’s own Humphry Slocombe ice cream — two scoops ($8) featuring some of their famous flavors like Secret Breakfast — condensed milk, kosher salt, and vanilla beans, steeped with bourbon. Excellent to enjoy with Pharrell Williams.

The Wine

Whether you enjoy a luscious Napa Cab or a crisp and refreshing white, BottleRock has it all. Here some of the exciting findings:

  • Schramsberg Vineyards Blanc de Blanc ($18 per glass) from one of the most respected California sparkling houses gets the party started or goes great while listening to Imagine Dragons on the main stage.
  • Art House Pinot Gris ($12 per glass) citrus driven and complex from Carneros fruit. Paired perfectly with your favorite new electronic act.
  • The Anarchist Wine Co White Blend ($12 per glass) made up of a handful of varietals that make up for a floral and harmonious wine, very easy to drink and great with acoustic sets.
  • Blackbird Vineyards ‘The Killers’ Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley ($11 per glass) sharp, fresh and zippy. A wine greatly enjoyed watching Citizen Cope.
  • You can enjoy a glass of The Prisoner Wine Company Red Wine ($16 per glass) while enjoying Neil Young.
  • G Cellars 7th Letter Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley sitting down at the Wine Thief lounge.

For a playful summertime sip, attendees really enjoyed the Smith Deveraux Vacationer Rose ($10 per glass), an ideal wine while enjoying Michael Franti and Spearhead and in the relaxing lawn.

The Beer

If you are a beer aficionado, there was a range of styles for you to explore from a pilsner to a hoppy IPA — you just had to head to the Beer Garden.

Some options included:

  • Pyramid Hefeweizen ($13 per pint) crisp and refreshing style beer with citrus notes and a great beer for the Friday warm day start listening to Neon Trees.
  • The Hop Valley ‘Citrus Mistress’ ($13 per pint) great with a set from DJ Paul Oakenfold at the Silent Disco.

Of course, your options included the popular Pacifico Mexican Lager ($13 per pint) enjoyed at their Pacifico Porch while enjoying Too $Jory’s performance.

The Cocktails

Elevated mixology was observed all around the festival with elaborate cocktails from Hendricks Gin to simple and well executed drinks like an Aperol Spritz.

  • Barrel Rock ($16) Bulleit Bourbon, ginger beer, passion fruit and orange ideal for that Cypress Hill set.
  • Aperol Spritz ($16) an excellent way to sit back and enjoy the local Silverado Pickups perform on Saturday.

And, of course, a Michelada Bar by Modelo ($13) made with all the works including a tamarind straw great with One Republic’s popular performance.

No concert is ever complete without balance, and BottleRock 2019 had the SOFI Spa that included a number of options like massage and even Rapid Recovery Hydration Solutions. They offered a Festival Fatigue Fighter ($140/500ml), because after all the rocking out everyone needs a fresh start.

A true celebration of talent in so many levels and all arts. I am awaiting next year’s lineup.

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Eduardo can be reached at eduardo@sakedrinker.com.

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