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There will be new things to try for even the most experienced wine, beer and food connoisseurs at the Forks, Corks and Kegs Food and Wine Festival this weekend in Deadwood.

The fourth annual festival will see a variety of beer and wine from across the country and the Black Hills, as well as pairings with hors d'oeuvres and desserts. The event will kick off with a new addition, titled Wine Around Deadwood.

"That's something cool we added for Friday night to go with the Deadwood Dine Around theme on Saturday," said Amanda Kille, marketing coordinator for the Deadwood Chamber of Commerce. "It's an opportunity to go around to different locations prior to the Appetizer Crawl and taste wine from different vineyards."

Kille said that there would be representatives on hand to give details about the wine's profile and pairing advice.

"A lot of them will be on hand the next day for the Grand tasting, but it's cool to get extra interaction time," Kille said.

Vineyards hosted include Rodney Strong at the Gem Steakhouse, Medala Real at Saloon #10, Vintage Wine Estates at the Silverado Franklin Hotel, Layer Cake Wine at Eagle Bar and Steakhouse, and Schmitt Sohne at Deadwood Winery.

"An event like this is great for someone who generally likes wine but doesn't know a lot," Kille said. "It's a great opportunity to hone in on what you like and try a lot without having to pony up for a whole bottle."

The same can be said for beer, with breweries at the Grand Tasting often bringing in beers that might even catch connoisseurs by surprise.

"Last year O'Dell brought in beers that hadn't been released to the public yet," Kille said. "We'll have several South Dakota-based distilleries, and you get a beautiful crystal wine glass at the tasting, you can get on and off the trolley for free with a festival pass. That's a huge value."

There will also be an Appetizer Crawl on Friday, with restaurants getting creative with food and drink pairings.

"Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort will serve a mushroom tart with Gruyere cheese paired with Buffalo Sweat Beer by Tall Grass Brewery," Kille said. "The Deadwood Mountain Grand, meanwhile, will have a carmelized pear brie and balsamic crostini with Pitule sparkling wine."

Those who wish to have a smoke after a meal, meanwhile, can visit Deadwood Tobacco Company for a cigar tasting.

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"Because there are new regulations being more strongly enforced, they can't just give a sample cigar, and you have to smoke it there," Kille said. "But you can get a mini Sweet Jane Cigar for $2, which is a very good deal."

The big show accompanying all of the food will be the South Dakota Bartending Championships at Santana's at the Deadwood Mountain Grand. 

"Gosh, it's just really fun to have your drinks made for you with a little extra pizzazz," Kille said. "It has to be a good drink at the end of the day — that's part of the criteria — but to have a little show with your drink is a lot of fun."

It'll be a big weekend for everyone who wants food and drink to be a good time as well as a necessity.

"People might not think of South Dakotans as foodies, but I think they're totally wrong," Kille said. "We know good food, beer and wine and love it when they're paired well."

Tickets are limited to 1,000 and should be purchased ahead of time at ticketmaster.com.

For more information or a full list of events, call 578-1786 or visit deadwood.com/events/forkscorksandkegs.

Contact Max B. O'Connell at 394-8427 or max.oconnell@rapidcityjournal.com

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