Review: Hops and Barley 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Epcot Food Wine Festival 2016 Hops Barley

Hops & Barley returns to the United States Pavilion on the far right side.

All three food items return, in addition to the Anchor Liberty Ale.

New England Lobster Roll – $8

Lobster Roll Hops Barley Epcot Food Wine Festival

While still on the small side of the spectrum, the Lobster Roll arrives with a couple bites of chunk lobster with no filler other than the addition of a squirt of buttery sauce on the fresh roll. You might get a kick out of using a Disney Dining Plan snack credit for such an expensive item, but it’s not much of a value out of pocket unless you’ve never had lobster before and live somewhere that it’s largely unavailable. Wherever that might be. With an $8.25 rib coming up in Japan, the Lobster Roll no longer reigns as the Festival’s most expensive food item.

Taste: 8/10

Value: 3/10

Smoked Beef Brisket and Pimento Cheese served on Griddled Garlic Toast – $5.50

Smoked Beef Brisket Hops Barley Epcot Food Wine Festival

The beef is a bit on the stringy side and we are decidedly in fork and knife territory, but this has a nice natural smoky flavor. The spicy peppery-ness of the pimento cheese contrasts nicely with the garlic and other herbs in the toast and the sweetness of the tomato chutney on top. It’s not so different that it necessarily demands a purchase, but fans of barbecue should be pleased. The portion size is pretty good too.

Taste: 7/10

Value: 6/10

Freshly Baked Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Icing – $3.75

Carrot Cake Epcot Food Wine Festival Hops Barley

Looks can be a bit deceiving as I feel like this looks pretty basic on the plate, but underneath the sweet cream cheese frosting is a delicious, warm, familiar carrot cake base backed by cinnamon and nutmeg. Usually I get mad whenever someone orders a returning item on the first day BECAUSE IT’S NOT BLOGGABLE, but this is one item I can get behind no matter what. With that said, it’s not the most unique item at the Festival and the portion size isn’t going to overwhelm anyone.

Taste: 10/10

Value: 8/10

Beer Flight – $9

With New Belgium Brewing Fat Tire White Ale, Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale, and Orange Blossom Brewing Foxtail Cold Brew Coffee Pilsner.

The Fat Tire White Ale is different than the usual Amber with much more of a Belgian vibe with a pleasant citrus quality with a malty finish. Pretty good.

The Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale has been available off and on at Epcot for the last couple of years. It’s an above average IPA with grapefruit and pine notes and a bitter finish. Pretty good.

The Orange Blossom Brewing Foxtail Cold Brew Coffee Pilsner is unique to the Festival as far as I can tell and has a surprisingly strong flavor of coffee considering it’s yellow color. Typically, a beer like this would be dark brown. Anyone interested in beer should give it a try as it’s probably the most unique beer at Epcot this year.

Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay – $6

Store Price: $1.10/ounce

Festival Price: $3/ounce

Value: Above average

This is one of the three best white wines available at the Festival at one of the best prices given the $28/bottle store price. It’s a medium-bodied chardonnay with a tropical pineapple flavor up front with a peach and vanilla presence throughout the sip. Very good.

Overall, the Brisket, Carrot Cake, beer flight, and white wine are all excellent choices. Waits are typically short, making a visit relatively easy.


  1. SMC FootGolf says

    Wish i’d taken a pic of my lobster roll! It was packed with lobster! The Brisket was also very flavorful and seemed fuller than the one pictured. Loved both of those items!

  2. Kevin says

    I just wanted to chime in and say thanks for doing all these reviews. It is impressive and my stomach hurts looking at all the food.

    Also, that lobster roll looks significantly better than one I ate 5-6 years ago, which would have been more appropriately called a celery roll.

    • RebeccaMcK says

      I’ll second that thank you. I will get that lobster roll even if it means maybe skipping the one I normally get at CHH. And to everyone currently in Florida, be careful and stay safe. My sister went thru Harvey stuff in Houston and it gets scary.

  3. Joe Micetich says

    I found the Smoked Beef Brisket to be one of the best dishes and a generous amount for the price. My beef had been braised for hours and was very tender. I think it may have been the best dish I’ve had so far.

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