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    Eat & Swig

    First Annual Knob Creek Campout Is In The Books
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    You may remember earlier this year when Knob Creek announced it would be giving away 10 weekend campouts on Knob Creek grounds for winners and their guests.  This weekend was the campout weekend, and Knob Creek pulled out all the stops.  Twenty campers from ten states plus multiple Knob Creek employees spent the weekend touring the distillery, learning how to make classic cocktails, sampling bourbons, and being cooked for by Michael Symon.

    I was invited by the PR team to attend Saturday night’s festivities.  I arrived just in time for the seminar on how to make the perfect Old Fashioned.  I’ve wanted to learn more about cocktails lately, so I very much enjoyed getting in the middle of the lesson with the other campers.  We were shown two different ways to make the classic cocktail- muddling and stirring.  We each made our own slightly different cocktails- more bitters here, loads of muddled fruit there, and maybe just a straight pour of Knob Creek here and there.

    After the cocktail lesson, I sat and talked with many of the campers about their experience.  They told me all about touring the distillery, fishing, and tasting bourbon.  But the event that impressed the campers the most was the Friday night bonfire.  Master Distiller Fred Noe showed up after dinner and sat around the fire with the campers telling them stories of the Beam family and the distillery.  Everyone was struck by how down to earth he was.  Fred Noe is my favorite story teller in the industry, so I was very sad I had missed it.

    After happy hour, I meandered over to the pig roast, where Iron Chef Michael Symon was preparing our dinner.  As he attended the pig, he told stories about the restaurant industry and how the Food Network has changed the way America cooks.  “When Emeril and all that stuff happened,” Symon spoke about once-obscure ingredients like wild mushrooms, “it painted a brush across America.  Now everyone can get it.”  He went on to talk about how his family life revolves around his restaurants, saying, “My dad has more degrees than a thermometer.  Now he works for me!”  Symon was an absolute delight and was happy to talk to the campers about anything and everything.

    I walked around some more and talked to more campers.  There were people from North Carolina, Texas, California, Florida, and many others.  As we sat down to dine on our first course of tomato and arugula salad with olives and feta, we talked about bourbon and how we all came to love it.  This is a popular theme among bourbonites, because everyone has their own reasons for loving it.

    Course after course of expertly prepared food came to the tables.  We had salad, collard greens, polenta, and then finally the Manhattan-injected roasted pig.  The smell wafting off the roasting box was amazing, but the taste was out of this world.

    After dinner my favorite bluegrass band, the Whiskey Bent Valley Boys, played for us as we roasted marshmallows over the camp fire.  Every detail of this event was thought about and perfected, including the marshmallows.  I talked to a member of the PR team who told me all about going through the process of finding someone who made bourbon marshmallows and having them make custom marshmallows with Knob Creek.  I don’t know if you’ve ever had real marshmallows before, but they are completely different than the ones you buy at the grocery store.  These Knob Creek marshmallows, made by a company called Wondermade, had just a hint of bourbon flavor to them, and they were fabulous just roasted over the fire by themselves.

    Because of bourbon, twenty strangers from across America came together and formed lasting friendships while camping in the rolling hills of Kentucky.  There were even a few among the crowd who didn’t like bourbon before they arrived, but left loving it thanks to the dedicated and knowledgeable team from Jim Beam and Knob Creek.  This was the first event of this kind Knob Creek has ever hosted, and they pulled out all the stops to make it a once-in-a-lifetime memorable experience for twenty lucky bourbonites from across America.

    Photos Courtesy of Jordan McFarland

    Maggie Kimberl's picture

    About Maggie Kimberl

    I'm a Louisville native with a passion for traveling and homegrown tomatoes. I write the bourbon news, which keeps me plenty busy since Louisville is the center of the bourbon universe. See bourbon news happening? Contact me on Twitter @LouGirl502!

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