Saturday, April 05, 2008

Beer, Bourbon and BBQ

Earlier this week, when I first heard about the “Beer, Bourbon and BBQ” show, my gleeful reaction was, “They’ve finally come up with a show just for me!” It turns out that it was a show for me and what seemed like 100,000 others like me.

The show, at the 4-H building on the state fairgrounds in Timonium today (Saturday, 4/5/08) drew a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd of beer-swigging, bourbon-sipping, bbq-chomping humanity. Most of that humanity was male and in what seemed to me to be the 20-35-year-old range. I wasn’t surprised that it was mostly male and I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at how young the crowd was. For the $35 entry fee, you could get samples of beer and bourbon from the exhibitors, limited only by how much those exhibitors brought with them. The food at the show cost extra.

It took about 10 minutes of shuffling in line to get into the building, where after paying for entry you picked up a glass for sampling. It was by the door that I also saw the first of a few long lines of people waiting to get into the restrooms. This was the point at which I decided to forgo the beer and stick to bourbon.

I believe I hit most of the bourbon booths that still had samples available, and by the end of my day I had sampled five small-batch brands. Three of them I had had before – Bookers, Wild Turkey Rare Breed and Woodford Reserve. Two were new to me – Buffalo Trace and Evan Williams. I was very pleasantly surprised by the Evan Williams, which I found to be very smooth and not too sweet. The Buffalo Trace, a brand I had gotten good reviews about from a co-worker but have found hard to find, was a little too sweet for me. The others, all of which are among my favorites, didn’t disappoint.

In between the bourbon samples, I wormed my way through the crowd. In addition to the food and beverage booths, there were other exhibitors pushing salsas, spices, t-shirts, brand new windows and other odds and ends. The only booth I saw with no action whatsoever was for the National Guard. Almost out of pity, I stopped to talk to them. They said things tend to pick up for them after people drink for a while, once they start to become less inhibited, one of the guardsmen said. I asked if guys try to enlist their drunk buddies as practical jokes. They explained that they’re not allowed to actually enlist people at the event, but if a name winds up on their list, they do indeed follow up a few days later with a phone call.

After an hour and a half at this four-hour event, I started to see the first signs of trouble, as a few people were starting to stagger. I had spaced out my five shots, wolfed down a delicious pulled-pork sandwich from Kloby’s and was feeling like I’d gotten out of the event what I’d wanted. Being smart enough to know better than to drive myself, I phoned my wife, who was my pre-appointed designated driver, and she came and picked me up.

Am I glad I went? Yeah, I think so. If I hadn’t, I would have just moped about not going. Would I go back? I don’t know that I would. It’s one of those things that would be a lot of fun for someone in their 20s (21 and up, of course) and 30s – and there were plenty of them there. But for an old fogey like me, I think I’d prefer to line ‘em up on the bar with an intimate gathering of friends or loved ones.

1 comment:

jj said...

Lol...can relate to the "old fogey" line of thought, but this sounds like an intriguing event just the same. Thanks for sharing your experience!