Lucas posing below the St. Louis Gateway Arch

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance at mixing business and pleasure in St. Louis? This last weekend was WordCamp U.S. 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. After getting the nod from my boss man, and along with another coworker, I signed right up. At first, I wasn’t crazy about giving up a weekend for work. But soon, I embraced the opportunity. St. Louis is a cool city. Sure, work would be the reason for the trip, but that wouldn’t stop me from enjoying some good local beer and food.

The Business (WordCamp U.S.)

I’m still quite a noob in the world of WordPress, but the more I learn, the more I dig it. I attended the WordCamp in Minneapolis back in August and that stoked some excitement for the big event. I didn’t think the boss man would be on board with the idea of sending me out of state, but I’m glad he was. I’ll be sure to let him know that his training budget was not wasted on me.

Of course, WordCamp isn’t exactly training. In a way it is, yes. But only in a general overview kind of way. It’s a lot of information. A LOT of information. All that information overwhelms me. I’ll be honest. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I may feel a bit over my head for a while, or maybe like a deer caught in headlights, but soon enough, I’ll be able to put to good use some of that new knowledge. I may not be as quick a study as I once was, but that’s not for lack of interest.

My overall impression of the event is that I loved it. I can see what the buzz is about. The WordPress community is strong, and even though I’m new here, I feel like I belong there. I plan to keep going to the local versions, and if the boss man keeps flipping the bill for the big event every year? Score!

The Pleasure (Food)

Let’s be honest. There’s great food and awesome beer in every city. If you do your homework, it’s easy enough to track down. Sometimes I do that, but sometimes, I prefer to wing it. This weekend, I did just that. I winged it.

On Friday night we attended the WordCamp party, appropriately named WordFest. This had us looking for dinner close to the venue. We ended up at a place called Flannery’s, which is a little Irish pub with a full menu and a comfortable ambiance. They serve an entree called the Irish Slinger, which mashed potatoes and corned beef, topped with eggs, chili, cheese, and onion. It filled me up before I could finish it, but I finished it nonetheless.

Flannery’s took care of one meal, but I knew also I wanted barbecue. I’m more familiar with Kansas City style barbecue, but St. Louis is in the same state, so how different can it be, right? I’m sure there are purists out there that are in the know and may tell me that St. Louis style barbecue is very different, but as of this writing, I am pleading ignorance.

My time in town was limited so I chose to not overthink my search for barbecue. The first opportunity came at the end of day two of WordCamp at a place called Sugarfire Smokehouse. It was just down the street from the convention center, so it made it convenient for us. Of course, it seemed like the rest of WordCamp had the same idea. The line was out the door, and as good as it smelled in there, we chose to look elsewhere.

Plan B required an Uber ride south of downtown to a place called Bogart’s Smokehouse. Now Bogart’s is a much smaller place than Sugarfire, but it was open and there wasn’t a line. Unfortunately, all they had left was turkey, but we were hungry. It was going to have to do, and although I would have liked some ribs or some brisket, the turkey was splendid, as were the sides.

We did finally get our fix at Sugarfire for lunch the next day. It wasn’t nearly as busy. I’m drooling right now as I relive that meal in my mind…hell, both of them. Damn, I love barbecue!

The Pleasure (Beer)

I am a beer nerd, so everywhere I go I try to seek out a new brewery or two. For this trip, the two I managed to visit are probably two of the best in town. No, sorry Budweiser. I’m not talking about you. I mean two of the best craft breweries in town.

On our first night there, we hit up Schlafly, which planted its craft brew steak in town back in 1991, if I recall. The beer is great and the space is awesome!

The second brewery was Perennial Artisan Ales. My Missouri friend has often set aside bottles of their Abraxxas for me, but within the last couple years, they began distributing up here. As it turned out, it was Abraxxas week when we were there, so not only did I get a pour of fresh Abraxxas, I got a taste of the coffee variant. Bam!

The Pleasure (Fun)

The whole weekend was fun, even the work-related WordCamp stuff. I didn’t think I’d enjoy that as much as I did, but now I know I’m passionate enough about it to spend a weekend furthering my knowledge on the subject.

Anyway, I want to point out the venue for the official WordFest event party. It took place at one of the coolest places I’ve ever seen, the City Museum. I’m not even going to try to describe the craziness that you’ll find there. Check out the website and then check out some videos on YouTube. This place is nuts!

I’ll leave it at that. It was a great trip and I can’t wait to go back again next year. If the boss man allows it.