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Calling All New Yorkers…Who Own Plaid?

“I’ll have whatever is on tap.” 

That is a statement we would never utter, for two different reasons. One of us, the Phantom Beerie is, well, a huge beer snob. The other, Sarah, a cocktail girl, only resorts to beer to fit in with the commoners.

Enter the adventure of the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ festival.

It was a cold cold day. Seriously, it was so cold we almost passed out from hypothermia. Last week, New York went through an identity crisis where it was pretending to be Siberia. You know, like when teenagers experiment with hipsterism.We braved the freezing temperatures for the promise of BBQ (we’re foodies) and beer (the Phantom Beerie was all over that one)…but mostly the BBQ. The Beer, Bourbon and BBQ festival is held annually. This year it was held at THE TUNNEL, which meant we braved the elements to 11th Ave, AKA “Am I still in Manhattan??” Avenue.

As soon as we walked in, we were smacked in the face by our fellow festies. We crossed paths with a guy who reeked of a certain illegal substance, so just to make conversation, we asked him if he was high. “No, but I wish I was,” he responded. Quality.

The eccentric group we witnessed roaming from table to table seemed to have very little in common other than owning plaid shirts and willing to pay $70-120 for what was promised to be a beer, bourbon and BBQ nirvana.

Nirvana it was not, unless you count that really awkward moment in middle school when guys stopped cutting or washing their hair to look like Kurt Cobain. This event was appealing to us; we love BBQ and beer. 

That said, we do not love really long lines. Nor do we love a venue so crowded that people kept bumping into us, and us into them…which dudes then mistook as a sign of courtship.

So what did we think of the Beer?

The Phantom Beerie: As the resident NYMM beerie, I was asked to come along and use my innate beer skills. The selection of beer was legit! They had many great East Coast breweries present (we didn’t see Brooklyn or Dogfish Head though) and we enjoyed walking around and sampling the goodness. That said, most beer fests have beeries who know about the brewing process and the makeup of the beers; this had hipsters who had answered an ad on Craigslist manning the tables. Although I’m sure many of them are indeed beer pong champs, their lack of knowledge of the brew was disappointing at best.

Sarah: Although beer is not my thing, I quite enjoyed the tasting and probably drank more beer than I ever have. The Phantom Beerie guesstimates I drank like four glasses’ worth. But surprise of all surprises, I found many beers I liked and would buy for a party, picnic or BBQ. I found delicious fruity beers such as Magic Hat #9’s Apricot flavor and Angry Orchards Crisp Apple Cider…though what are they so angry about? Their cider is delicious. I also found a gem by Sierra Nevada called Ovila Quad, which I lovingly nicknamed the “Communion Beer.” Wine lovers would love this one. I also quite enjoyed the Andygator by Abita. I know I’ve picked some girly beers, but I feel the Andygator would be respected by the dudes. Last but certainly not least, I loved the ever-reliable White Ale by Blue Moon. Blue Moon is the only beer I used to drink…until I discovered the other goodies. The Phantom Beerie loves Sam Adams, but I found their “Alpine Spring” just ok. Oh, I also learned Moonshine is disgusting.

Now on to the main event: THE BBQ. Oh wait, did we miss it? Though we each received a dinner ticket, we discovered we could not sample each table to decide which BBQ we loved the most! We were only allowed to eat from one table or pay extra. Worse, our ticket only got us a basic plate; any variation would cost extra.What the what?! The BBQ we did get our hands on was subpar…major disappointment for these foodies. We scarfed down our less-than-exciting meal and headed to the bacon sampling station to try to fill up as we were still hungry. Wrong again! By the time we got to the bacon table, they wouldn’t let us have any. They claimed to be saving it for a contest.

We heard through the grapevine the theater was holding a sampling. Our stomachs growled and led the way. Guess what? No tasting. But we did watch a butcher dissect a pig. Was it gross? Yes! (At one point a lady walked around showing us the pig’s head and pointing out it’s little brain. 

MEAN! The Phantom Beerie ran out of the room like a little girl.) But we learned this little gem from the butcher: “The male reproductive organs can contribute to a flavor called ‘”Boar Taint.’”

Don’t think we forgot about the bourbon. There was plenty of it and our contest winners loved it. But it wasn’t for us. One sip and we could have sworn the festival was held in a rotating circus. But if you’re into bourbon, this would have been your night.

Would we go again next year? Probably not. The amount of food and drinks was disappointing. We give it 25 seconds; that’s not great for a New York Minute 😉 We say skip it next year. Instead, invite your friends over for some great beer, buy your own bourbon, order BBQ and save $67.

Featured Image by Elevate on Unsplash

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