The last conference morning started out in a fun way. The first session was “Over a Pint – Building Community in a Creative Way” by Elle and Troika Brodsky who met at BBC11, which was our first conference in Portland, Oregon. Notes:
- Start by being inclusive;
- Own it;
- and achieve and sustain success.
They are a cute couple and I enjoyed their session. The next was a panel about Beer Tourism – The Next Big Thing. I was curious about this because I live in Bend, Oregon and our town has created beer tourism as an important economic activity (Bend Ale Trail among others) and I was curious to see how it sustains and grows within other areas. It was an interesting panel and gained incite from the other perspective (not the tourist).
Next was the not-so-secret announcement of where the Beer Bloggers Conference 2017 was going to be held! It was announced that BBC17 would be held August 3-6, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin!!! The girls from Visit Milwaukee came on out with some Milwaukee beers and a quick celebration and slideshow was had.
We had to rush out and not give some proper goodbyes because we were off to eat a quick lunch before our bus was to pick us up for the post-conference excursion to St. Pete/Clearwater‘s Craft Beer Trail.
Our first stop was at the fastest growing breweries in Florida, 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Pete. After getting everyone settled with any beverage on the menu, a tour from the owner and mom of the three daughter’s took us on a tour. What a nice facility and a nice area for families to sit and relax (and play games or listen to a band on an impressive stage within the brewery itself!). Several bloggers took advantage of the games while waiting.
The next stop was at Green Bench Brewing which we were met by the brewer who gave us a tour and history behind the name and brewery, but first… impressively dunked a basketball. We imbibed in their beverages, which could be ordered at the bar and I enjoyed Purple Rain, a cider that they make because they are also a cidery and meadery in addition to brewing beer.
Dinner was next and we split up into groups and Jon and I were in the group that went to Red Mesa Mercado, a Mexican place just up the street. Fabulous food and a horchata to try to cool myself down. Highly recommended! We finished up a bit before the other group that had gone for Asian delicacies and headed to an “unexpected” stop at Cycle Brewing.
The other group joined us and soon after, we were on the bus to the next scheduled stop at Rapp Brewing. What a neat place! Small brewery, but lots of their own beers (20!) on tap, many of which are medal winners. I ordered a sample tray and tried the Gose, Blueberry Donut Porter, Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout and my favorite, Hibiscus Saison. I joined in on a tour of the brewery by the brewer that had just finished brewing a beer and was cleaning up and showed us around.
When it was time, we were back on the bus back to Tampa and the skies put on a show for us as we were crossing the bridge back! Once we were back, once again, we had an “after party” on the patio for which great pizza was ordered, beverages were shared and lots of talking and sharing favorite parts of the day commenced. Once we were “done for the day”, we headed up to our room and thought about packing up for the day of travel in the morning.
Overall, a fantastic conference where we met lots of friends, learned a lot of information, toured established and up-and-coming breweries and had a satisfying weekend! I’m not sure if we can make it to Milwaukee in 2017, but I know we’ll try.