C'est Cheese will be among the food offerings at Buckle Up in Cincinnati, starting July 18. (File image)
CINCINNATI - In its first year, the country music festival has a big name lineup and enough food, beer and sweets to keep folks happy.
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CINCINNATI - We are pleased to bring you this weekly feature from Julie Niesen Gosdin, the voice behind the food blog wine me, dine me. Julie serves up a "Pick of the Week," when she visits a local eatery and samples a signature menu item.
This is the first year for Buckle Up, produced by the same people who gave you Bunbury, but this time with a country twang.
There are big headliners: Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Band Perry, and a bunch of others. So while you're tapping your toes to a Willie Nelson classic or swaying to "If I Die Young," by The Band Perry, you might get a little hungry, or maybe thirsty. This is where I can help.
Whether you're looking for a beer, spirits, or just a soda, Buckle Up has it all right on location. Organizers are continuing the Craft Beer Village and Distillery Village from Bunbury, but with a few new and different vendors.
The Craft Beer Village has a bunch of local brews and other craft favorites, from Blank Slate and Rivertown representing the 513 area code, to Upland from Indianapolis, to Lazy Magnolia representing Mississippi. You'll also find an interesting addition: Magners, an Irish cider (called Bulmer's in Ireland) that I became a huge fan of on a recent trip. It's light and refreshing and is great to cool down with between sets.
As far as distilleries go, you can try local Watershed Gin (a favorite) and Buckeye Vodka, or Ole Smoky Moonshine, sold in a Mason jar, and in flavors like apple pie and cherry. Just be careful: moonshine, technically unaged whisky, packs a wallop.
There are a ton of food options at Buckle Up. I love that there's a real focus on local eats. Here are my picks:
If you're heading to or from Buckle Up--and want to keep up that country vibe--head to Bakersfield or The Eagle in Over-the-Rhine for some outlaw country music and tacos (Bakersfield) or classic country and fried chicken (The Eagle). It's walking distance.
Want to just soak in air conditioning and not encounter huge crowds? Pop into Horseshoe Casino, where you can get some great pizza to go or a burger from Bobby's Burger Palace and pretend you're in Vegas. Or, walk a little further west towards the Banks, where you can grab some grub and brews at Moerlein Lager House or Yard House.