Sorry for coming to this discussion late, but I have to encourage you to give it a try. Curling rocks...as the tag line says.
I've been curling for about 9 years. To go from beginner to novice takes most people about 3 to 5 games. To go from novice to "expert" takes years, if you ever get there. Think of the game as a combination of shuffleboard and chess with a lot of exercise thrown in. Yes, exercise. The sweepers will travel over a mile a game...sprinting sideways...on the slipperiest ice achievable...while wearing a piece of plastic on one foot...while trying to sweep in front of a 42 pound stone.
Yes, drinking BEvERages is a very large part of the culture. The World Curling Federation rules used to require it after every game. Just to emphasize this, I belong to the Madison Curling Club. Our annual dues to the club cover all league fees and unlimited access to the soda fountain and the 4 beer taps. If you want popcorn, that costs an extra quarter.
Further proof is that a sizable portion of the Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild are also curlers. Enough that every spring we have a Bonspiel (tournament) for men of the club. Nearly all the beer consumed is homebrew and most of the rest is experimental batches donated by local breweries who are looking for an honest opinion of the taste.
Anyone interested can find info on U.S. curling at http://www.curlingrocks.net/
and world curling at http://www.worldcurling.org