Beer bloggers across the country took Boulder, Colorado by storm last weekend. It was the first ever beer bloggers conference, and what a time it was.
First the Great American Beer Festival in my backyard, and then the beer bloggers conference just a short drive away. I'm thinking this move to Colorado was a good idea.
The festivities started on Thursday night when I met up with a fellow beer blogger I've been anxious to meet, Peter from SimplyBeer. He is also the creator of the Iron Brewer contest which yours truly is competing in over the next few months.
After a couple beers with Peter and his friend Scott at the Falling Rock Tap House in Denver, I made my way down to Dry Dock Brewery to pick up the stash of beer they very generously gave me to share over the weekend. Then Sarah and I hit the road to Boulder in the morning for three days of presentations, dinners, and of course, beer.
I could go on forever and bore you to death about every detail, but I do like you guys and will spare you my ramblings. Instead, here are my top 3 moments from the beer bloggers conference.
1. The Night of Many Bottles
The bottle share on Friday night was beyond anything I imagined in terms of quantity and quality. The entire room was lined with tables filled the best beer each blogger had to offer. There's no way I can remember all I tried, but some of ones that stood out were Dark Lord Stout, Sink the Bismark, and everything from New Glarus. I now love New Glarus.
The culmination of the night was a tasting of BrewDog's End of History, a 55% beer of which only 12 were made. What's even crazier is that each bottle was placed inside a dead stuffed animal. The critter at our event was a cute little stoat with a longneck shooting out of his mouth.
Only 4 people got to taste the beer, and unfortunately I wasn't one of them. Honestly with the amount of great beer in the room I didn't care one bit. I did make sure I got a photo op with Mr. Stoat though.
Tatiana over at FugglyBrew created this video of the bottle share:
2. Rapid Beer Blogging
This event on Saturday is the most fun I've ever had reviewing beer. Think of speed dating with beer.
Twelve brewery representatives walked around to each table with a beer of their choice. They had 5 minutes to pour everyone samples and tell us about the beer as we blogged/tweeted our reviews.
You should have witnessed this scene. The room in an uproar, brewery people red in the face from yelling, bloggers throwing back beer after beer as they type furiously, and the whole time I'm thinking, “Ok Billy, DO NOT spill beer on your new MacBook.”
My reviews went from very detailed flavor notes in the first one to “Hey look it's Todd from Breckenridge!” in the last one.
Brewpublic did an excellent job of summarizing every beer we tried on their speed blogging recap. I'm glad they did it, because I sure as hell wasn't able to.
3. The “Networking”
I put networking in quotations because when you go conferences that's normally what you call it, but with the beer bloggers it's hard to call it that. It was just hanging out with friends. A corny pick for #3, I know, but honestly one of the best parts was just getting to know the people there. As connected as the internet has made us with Twitter, Facebook, and blogging, there's nothing like getting to meet someone face to face.
The chit chatting with the rest of the group over fantastic beers was worth the price of admission on its own. To hear their stories, frustrations, and goals made me realize what an awesome community I belong to. Which leads me into…
My offer for you
If you want, I'll help you start a beer blog.
Have you ever thought about it? If so, don't let the technical stuff hold you back.
Beer blogging really is a rewarding experience, and I recommend it for anyone who loves craft beer and wants to get the most out of it. This weekend reminded me how much fun I have being part of this craft beer revolution, and blogging is a great way to share and document your experiences.
Now if you've wanted a beer blog but have hesitated because of the technical side, I'm here to help. I'll set up your beer blog for free. All I ask is that you use my Hostgator link (I'll email it to you) so that they give me part of their cut.
You see I'm a bit of a geek and like to set up websites. I'm not a designer or code monkey so you'll have to go somewhere else for a custom site, but I am good with WordPress and can get you set up with that very quickly.
Here's what I can do:
- Help you get set up with your own domain and hosting account.
- Install and configure WordPress with the theme of your choice. There are thousands of free themes out there.
- Install up to 5 plugins that will allow you do cool things on your blog like add sharing buttons, videos, tabbed menus, and much much more.
- Make sure your blog is optimized for search so that people find you when they search Google. I'll also give you my tips on making your site search friendly.
- Set up your Feedburner account so you know how many people subscribe to your site, and Google Analytics so you can see how many people visit your site, how long they stay, etc.
- You can also ask me anything you want about getting video on the web, finding pictures to use, setting up a newsletter, or whatever else is bugging you.
If you're interested, email me through the contact form with “I Want a Beer Blog” in the subject.
I've set up a bunch of blogs for friends and would be happy to do it for you. In my opinion, the more beer bloggers, the better.
Question: If you had attended the conference, which beer would you bring to the bottle share? Or which beer did you bring?