This past weekend I attended the 4th annual Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival at the Timonium Fairgrounds. The all-you-can-drink event, which is put on by the Baltimore-based Trigger Agency in seven locations throughout the summer, has been growing in recent years. A couple years back, the Timonium festival expanded into the grandstands and, this year, the festival was two days and they added 20,000 feet of heated tent space.
But something that never changes is the large variety and selection of premium bourbon and beer. This year, guests got a 5-oz. tasting glass that they took around to the 60 beer and 40 bourbon vendors. There was a bluegrass band on stage, various BBQ options, a mechanical bull, and two tasting theaters. Also, you got to discover random companies like Bearpong, which makes a giant, portable version of the popular drinking game. (The vendor also featured a bear, in costume, playing beer pong).
I certainly had some favorite vendors, including the Wisconsin-based Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. Leinenkugel's cirtus-accented brews (the Summer Shandy and Sunset Wheat) were refreshing wheat beers, perfect during the day. I also liked how the festival jumped on the trend of sweet tea vodkas, and my favorite was the smooth Jeremiah Weed Southern Style Sweet Tea. I also enjoyed Jack Daniel's Single Barrel, Dogfish Head's Aprihop, and the classic Magic Hat #9.
If you didn't get a chance to go to Timonium this weekend, then you should head down to the festival at the National Harbor June 18th and 19th. I highly recommend splurging the extra $10 and purchasing a VIP ticket. For two extra hours, you get to browse the vendors with practically no lines before they let the general admission ticket holders in. Well worth the price.
Something I would like to see in upcoming years is a tent devoted to all local products. Sure, they had plenty of Maryland brewers scattered around, but it would be cool for them to be concentrated in one place. It will be interesting to see how the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival evolves next year.