And what a Friday it was. I’ve really enjoyed the inaugural Beer Bloggers Conference so far–so much good information, good weather, and of course, good beer. I think the best part has been putting real faces and voices to the Twitter and blog avatars of the folks I’ve been chatting with online in the beer world the past few months.
Things got rolling shortly after registration yesterday, when two carloads of bloggers headed out to Avery Brewing Company for a little beer sampling and some lunch from the catering company across the way (thank goodness they were there to feed us!). We really kept Phil-behind-the-bar hopping with our sampler orders. Soon he was just bringing trays of beery goodness out to us. And then we were invited back into the cask room, where we got to do a little tasting of some amazing wine cask sours that are ripening up. Great start to the day.
We got back to the conference just in time to hear Julia Herz of the Brewers Association kick things off. Her insights into how beer blogging is so important to the craft beer revolution was inspiring and thoughtful. That was followed by Julia Daynor of Draft Magazine, who made some timely observations from the print media side of things. Then we had a very good tech talk from SEO expert Dustin Woodard, who pointed out ways we could optimize our blogs. Things wrapped up in the conference room with a chance to sample some more Avery Beers and some ideas about beer and food pairings from Ray Decker of the Kitchen Cafe. That pretty much had everyone ravenous and ready to head to dinner.
We piled into two buses for the 20-minute ride out to Oskar Blues Brewery and Tasty Weasel Tap House. There was a fabulous dinner spread for us, along with plenty of Dale’s Pale Ale to drink. Nate gave us a great tour of the place, and made a very strong case for craft beer in cans. I couldn’t argue–it really does taste fresh, and the recycling aspect just makes sense.
Then it was back to the hotel, and time for Share Your Bottles night! The room was probably too small for such a big gathering of still-thirsty bloggers, but we made our way around in a mad dash to taste the most, the best and the unusual. I had some really delicious stouts, porters, seasonals, chimay, IPAs and lord knows what else. It was capped off by a live webcast from BeerTapTV with a tasting of BrewDog’s End of History beer, a 55% alcohol brew packed in roadkill. One bottle costs $765. Could I make this stuff up?