OK, it’s not as scary as the Blob or War of the Worlds, but 100 or so beer bloggers descended on Colorado to discuss beer, technology and the bloggers’ role in the world of craft beer as part of the Beer Bloggers Conference.
I learned quite a bit about some blog tech (and had even more fly over my head). I also learned that I still don’t like twitter. But I want to use this space to talk about the beer, the breweries and the luminaries that joined in on the fun.
Over the three day weekend, I sampled about 45 beers. I did my best to stick to brews that are not available in California and to local Boulder offerings. Here are my top 5 beers:
Rising Tide Brewing / Ishmael – A wonderful effervescent alt-bier with loads of malt taste.
Russian River Brewing / Sanctification – Sour and funky and fruity while still being easy to drink.
Quaff Brothers / Jones IPA – Not an IPA but a wonderful caramel and vanilla bourbon concoction.
Avery Brewing / Jerry’s Roggenbier – A great spicy and heavy brew for a fall day.
Great Lakes Brewing / Edmund Fitzgerald Porter – Just a perfectly done porter.
On the brewery side, I was able to visit four unique breweries. All with vastly different missions and beer styles. Twisted Pine is known for their Hoppy Man and Hoppy Knight IPA’s but I wasn’t as impressed by those offerings as I was by their. Petit Saison and their new Schwartzbock. Also impressive was their grilled cheese sampler and wood tap handles.
Avery Brewing (which recently visited LA) was the next stop and their special drafts were amazing. From the above mentioned Roggenbier to the Rumpkin to a special blended beer by the scary name of Moloch. I also revisited their excellent DuganA IPA which just blows away all of their other hop offerings.
Third on the list is Oskar Blues. There were so many empty cans waiting to be filled! Every time they expand, the demand grows ever higher. I didn’t try any special or new beers while in their Tasty Weasel Tap Room but taking the tour was a fun experience.
Lastly, I visited a great little place on Pearl Street called Mountain Sun that reminded me of Portland’s McMenamin’s chain. Funky artwork on the wall. Simple but well made food. And most importantly a great variety of beer! I sampled their Illusion Dweller IPA and the Cleveland Brown and both were great. And more importantly, I wanted to try the rest of their line after those two.
As if the beer wasn’t enough some really big names in the craft beer world were there to impart some of their knowledge but to also challenge us beer bloggers to strive to write better and to stay as passionate as we were when we started.
Greg Koch from Stone Brewing is a masterful speaker. He can talk candidly about sensitive subjects and passionately opinionate without pissing off people. He also brought some beer that was very good.
Jay Brooks from the Brookston Beer Bulletin knows more about craft beer and the industry then I probably ever will and like Koch presents his opinion strongly but without causing arguments.
For all you beer bloggers out there that didn’t go this year, you have two opportunities next year! You can head to London for the European Beer Bloggers conference or you can head north to Beervana aka Munich on the Willamette or as some people know it Portland for the second Beer Bloggers conference.
The beer of the week is Stimulus from Eagle Rock Brewery. A lovely Belgian amber with a big coffee aroma and taste without the heavy roasted malts of a porter or stout. You can get it at Intelligentsia Pasadena or at the brewery.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.