Several years ago, while I was studying abroad, my college boyfriend came to visit.  As an early 21st-birthday present, I took him to Dublin for a long weekend, where we celebrated by going, where else, the Jameson Distillery.  First of all, if you’ve never been (to Ireland, Dublin, and/or the Jameson Distillery), I highly recommend it (Ireland, Dublin, and the Distillery).  The tour ends with a whiskey tasting involving all the usual suspects: Jameson, Jack, and Johnny.  The idea, of course, is to prove to you how smooth and delicious Jameson is, as compared to the rather harsh bite of the other two, er, gentlemen.  Not that I’ve ever been a particularly hard sell in that department.

Irish whiskey is, was, and maybe always will be my shot of choice, especially when pitted against scotch and bourbon.  I just can’t get passed the burn of even the longer-aged bourbons, and the only scotch worth drinking is prohibitively expensive compared to my favorite whiskey.  But I never like to judge too quickly, especially when it comes to something that could be delicious if given a chance.  Thus, the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ festival in National Harbor this weekend.  The festival boasted 60 beers to sample, 40 bourbons to try, and a bacon-tasting station.

Now, just to recap, I do not like the following:

1) Bourbon

2) Bacon

Which left beer.  And pulled pork.  And hushpuppies.  And more beer.  And water, given that it was 93 broiling, sunny degrees, and, despite mopping sweat from my forehead for five hours, I got not one single shade tanner.  The injustice of it all.

Anyway.  I’d like to report that I gave bourbon a fair go and despite my best attempts to choke down more than the eensiest, tiniest little sip of a taste, I still hate it.  I’m sorry.  I don’t know why, beyond the fact that it freaking hurts more than I can explain, and if I wanted something to burn like that wouldn’t it be easy to just chug some shitty tequila?  I even tried the 18-year-aged stuff and, to be honest, I don’t think it even tastes any different from the not-aged-at-all crap.  I can taste the years in scotch, but definintely not in bourbon.

I did have some fan-freaking-tastic beer, pulled pork, and hot sauce though.  Also, whoever convinced me that I don’t like barbeque sauce is an idiot, because that shit is tasty if it’s done right.  We tasted one that I was fully planning on purchasing before our departure, but in our near heat-stroke state of mind, all we could focus on was returning to the air-conditioned car and taking a nice long nap.  I’m regretting it now though, and seriously considering ordering myself a little stock of it from their online store.  A few considerations must be made for the fact that I rarely cook anything on which barbeque sauce would traditionally be eaten, however, and I fear that if I learn to cook things like pulled pork and ribs for myself, it will be literally all I want to eat during grilling season.

Boyfriend also raved about the bacon, which I confess I didn’t even try.  Honestly, I’m not a fan of anything smokey – if you describe food to me as having any kind of smokey character, it immediately turns me off.  And don’t even get me started on the rauchbeir thing.  I can’t even stand how that smells.

All in all, neuroses aside, it was a pretty great day.  We ate ourselves silly and washed it all down with some great beer.  Boyfriend purchased an obscenely large bag of beef jerky and ate half of it on the 45-minute drive back to Baltimore, which meant I woke up from my sun-induced nap to the overpowering smell of dried meat and a Boyfriend who was maybe rethinking the amount of jerky he’d just ingested.  Because like everything else in life, you can often have just a little too much of a very good thing.