Saturday #BBC10

by Renee on November 7, 2010

Saturday was a day of sunshine and beer. It doesn’t get much better than that.

The second morning of the Beer Bloggers Conference started off with some techy sessions, which were interesting and helpful–but I have to admit, I rely heavily on my own IT guy at home, Paul. So I probably didn’t pay as much attention to those as I should have. What I was really looking forward to as far as content was coming after lunch. But first, lunch.

Once again, Mariah Calagione, the marketing diva of Dogfish Head Beer (and wife of founder Sam) was kind enough to let a group of us pile into her rental car for a trip to town. We ended up at Mountain Sun Pub on Pearl Street. On this particular day it was aptly named, we couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather–in fact, the temperature hit a new record in Boulder as it climbed into the 80s.

The manager of the pub welcomed our group of bloggers (we wore our identifying tags everywhere!) and wasted no time bringing us trays of samplers. There was a wide variety of choices, including a Cleveland Brown (!), but I went with my fallback favorite, the Redemption Red. It was a delicious amber ale, and I was not disappointed. The meal was delicious as well–I had a perfectly seasoned buffalo chicken sandwich and side salad.

A really nice moment happened at the table when Stone Brewing Co. CEO and co-founder Greg Koch sat down to join us. I’m a little embarrassed to admit I didn’t know who he was at first–but soon I realized–oh *that* Greg! (Greg’s keynote speech later in the afternoon was one of those sessions I was looking forward to!) In the course of our conversation, I learned that he spent a number of years growing up in Ohio.(I’m sure that Midwestern influence is what makes him such a well-grounded CEO.)

After lunch it was back to the Boulder Marriott for a panel discussion on Craft Beer and Women: As Consumers, Industry Members, and Blog Readers. The panel featured Sebbie Buhler of Rogue Ales, Julia Herz of the Brewers Association, and Tamre Mullins, one of the founders of Girls Pint Out in Indianapolis. The conversation got a bit heated at times, with controversy around the idea of marketing beer blogs directly to women. The best idea of what happened in that room might be to go back to Twitter and follow the #BBC10 hashtags! In the end it was a very interesting hour, and everyone left with perhaps a more strongly held opinion than when they came in.

Next up was Stone CEO Greg, who gave a very informative talk about the state of craft brewing today, what’s happening with craft beer in Europe, thoughts on slow food and even some introspection on the three-tier system. But what really had everyone in the room buzzing was that he was kind enough to bring us all some bottles of the soon-to-be-released Lukcy Basartd. We aren’t allowed to describe it or even say how we liked it as part of an embargo of sorts, but let’s just say I felt like one very lucky bastard (adoptee humor there) myself. After his talk, he took a photo with all the Women of Craft Beer in the room.  (Then this morning I bumped into him on my way out of the hotel, and we took a picture together–without his trademark #GregFace if you can believe it!)

The real insanity was about to begin: Live Beer Blogging. It could be described as speed dating (or drinking) with brewers. We sat at tables and every five minutes a cow bell would sound, and then another brewer would bring us another beer to taste. Here’s the list of those who participated: Breckenridge Brewery, Colorado Native Lager, Deschutes Brewery, Dogfish Head, Great Divide, Great Lakes, Karl Strauss, New Belgium, Odell, Rogue Ales and Widmer Brothers. I enjoyed just about every sample I tried on some level, and once again I’ll send you back to Twitter to check out that tweet stream at #BBC10 if you really want to know what went on!

Thankfully there was an hour or so break, followed by a bus trip to Boulder Beer for dinner. This was definitely the highlight of the day for me, personally. After a very welcome Tex-Mex meal, Dan Weitz, “Marketing Tool” (I swear this is what his business card says!) for Boulder gave us a tour of the brewery. Boulder Beer is Colorado’s first craft brewery, and the oldest surviving since Prohibition in the United States. It was founded in 1979. “Chicken Dan,” as he’s known, gave us this information, but he also gave props to the one and only Jack McAuliffe for founding the New Albion Brewing  Company in Sonoma in 1976–and he mentioned that Jack’s daughter–me, of course–was part of the #BBC10. This was followed by a loud smattering of applause, appreciation and cheers for Jack, which I promise I will pass along. Thanks, Dan.

The rest of the evening was spent doing a pub crawl along Pearl Street, which was a lot of fun, as you can imagine it would be on a Saturday night with an extra hour thanks to “falling back.” There were five places we were invited to visit–each offering a free beer as part of the Beer Bloggers Conference. I managed to hit Old Chicago, Conor O’Neill’s Traditional Irish Pub, and even went back to the Mountain Sun Pub because they were such great folks. Three was enough for me, and I called it a night.

While there are a few more sessions going on today, I’ll have to miss them in order to make my flight back home. I can’t thank Allan Wright at Zephyr Adventures enough for the great organizing he did to make this first Beer Bloggers Conference a success. (And I’m thrilled to hear #BBC11 is already being planned for Portland, OR!) I thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many great beer people in such a beautiful setting. I can’t wait to read the blog posts to come, and feel like I’ve made many new friends. Cheers, to you all!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

BobbyLikesBeer November 8, 2010 at 8:19 am

Nice wrapup on what seems to have been a huge success for the first year of the Beer Bloggers Conference. I’m looking forward to attending next year’s but it was awesome to get your updates and play-by-play on Twitter!!

In the meantime, we need to have a Cleveland Beer Bloggers meetup sometime 🙂

Cheers!
~Bobby

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Renee November 8, 2010 at 8:41 am

Thanks, Bobby! We definitely need to do that!

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The Beer Wench November 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Renee!

Wonderful recap! I had an amazing time hanging out with you, drinking crazy good craft beers and having some awesome conversations with very intelligent and talented individuals like yourself! Thanks so much for doing such a great round-up of all of Saturday’s activities.

Love ya!

Ashley

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Renee November 8, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Thanks, Ashley, it was an amazing weekend! So glad we got to catch up IRL! Looking forward to the next time we can raise a few!

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Billy Broas November 8, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Thanks for the recap Renee. I’m so glad you did this because everything flew by so quickly there are things I would forget if not for people documenting (which I am horrible at). Hope to see you at #BBC11!

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Renee November 8, 2010 at 1:38 pm

There’s so much more I would love to include but I’m trying to keep my blog posts to a reasonable length 😉 I’ll definitely see you at BBC11!

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BrewDad November 8, 2010 at 6:59 pm

That was a great wrap up you did an awesome job. It was a pleasure meeting you.

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