I had finished my beer, we paid our tab and just as we were leaving the bar feeling content—but otherwise nonchalant about the evening—my arm was grabbed by a woman at the end of the bar.
“Oh my god, are you the 35yo Alcohol Virgin?!”
Self promotion is weird. Kinda gross. I’m doing it. Hell, I’m even enjoying several aspects of it, but much of it is just awkward and imposing and often fruitless.
“I am, hi, hello.”
“Oh my god, hello! I thought it was you, I love your blog…”
We had met before, but over Twitter more recently, her name was Hilarey and she had offered to buy me a drink sometime at Nanny O’Briens. She literally recognized me from my goofy photos.
At the time I was flattered back on twitter, but I’m still feeling uneasy about free drinks and drink offers. Joe thinks this is weird. I’m sure it is. I even set up a PayPal when I started this project—but that was mostly for my friends who have always wanted to buy me my “first drink”. It was more funny, a coy nod to them. But it was purposeful.
But free drinks from strangers? Because of my blog? I know I should be thinking “Ahhh, it’s all coming together now, good good.” But my absolute truthful initial reaction each and every time is “No. Nope, that’s not what this is about. Thank you, no. I’m flattered, but no.”
I get it. It’s a cool opportunity for cross promotion with a bar or drink. But, you see, I don’t always like every drink. And each blog post is it’s own thing, sometimes having little to do with the drink at all in the narrative. Each post is striving to be entertaining, but they’re not always “nice”.
In fact, I often never know what I’m going to write about until well after my drink is gone and I’m at home thinking about the entire experience.
For example, last night I had my firstdrink of Fat Tire Amber Ale (from New Belgium Brewing in Colorado). I was at the Blue Banana again—supporting my favorite neighborhood bar at happy hour—and wanted something on draft. I was trying to decide between Fat Tire and Sierra Nevada.
I went with the mermaid monkey on the wine bottle. That is to say, Fat Tire sounded like more fun.
It was good, solid. Sorta creamy, bright for being musky, nicely nutty. I could taste green olive, dark brown bread and it was slightly chocolaty. It had a really full body and it was rich and only slightly sour. It had a malty finish and as it started to warm over the sipping it got a bit more brassy, but that just added a new element I enjoyed.
I liked it. It was the kinda beer I could see grabbing a 6 pack and drinking all weekend. It was kinda comforting and it didn’t blow my socks off in flavors like Magic Hat #9, but it was a kinder, mellower, tastier cousin to Yuengling.
Like, I said, I really liked it. But after finishing it I thought to myself, “Great beer, great bar. But what the hell do I write about that’s specifically interesting? Hm.”
I’m not going to lie to you and suggest this year-long drinking adventure is exclusively about the alcohol itself. It’s an unique, fun vehicle to support my desire to write and connect with others while doing something noteworthy and
That is not to say I’m not fully interested and invested in trying 150+ drinks, I most certainly am. But given the grand appeal alcohol has with the
general public everyone (but as you know, not me for so many, many years), the Adventures of a 35yo Alcohol Virgin was an opportunity wrapped in an experience and then fried in public interest. Mmmmm, fried.
So, free drinks make me nervous from strangers. My friends donating to PayPal know me. They know I’m going to potentially say crazy things at random, good or bad. But a stranger might hope I’ll throw some great wind toward their bar or the drink to return the massage. Crap.
“I read your blog all the time, I love it. The way you describe so many of the drinks, it’s really fantastic. I’ve been drinking for so long I don’t even think I taste things most of the time. I like how you describe things honestly.”
So apparently Hilarey does read my blog. Oh. Then she knows. Hm. Well, that changes things. She even mentioned my Sauvigon Blanc post where I was certainly not kind—referring to a wine as Windex is not kind. She mentioned she thought it was funny and honest.
So, I’m treading lightly were applicable and I’m not going to quiz anyone about my blog before taking an offer on a free drink, but I am putting people on notice.
I’m mouthy. I’m opinionated, goofy, often perceived as weird, blunt and highly sarcastic. I’m also a bleeding heart, compassionate and often try to heal with humor and not destroy.
But shit happens. And so do terrible drinks.
I’ll take your free drink, I’ll help cross promote places & drinks I like with ease and I’ll even try to self-promote without feeling like I always need to apologize.
But you get what you get. Buyer/reader/promoter/blogger/mixologist/alcohol producer beware.
Seriously though, that Fat Tire really was a really great beer and I love having a fun, local bar like the Blue Banana to call my own. But thank god for that being a good thing, right? Thank god for us all.
PS: Shout out to Hilarey & her boyfriend for being so kind and generous with her drink offer and raving about my blog. Made my night. And I’m going to be taking her up on it sometime next week over at Nanny O’Briens. Something Irish in nature, I’m sure.
PPS: Happy March. The next #firstdrinkHappyHour is already set in motion later this month. I’ll be promoting it soon enough, but spoiler: it’s a dog friendly event, so we’re calling this one a #firstdrinkYAPPYhour. Adorable, I know.