Beer Bloggers Conference Wrap Up Part 1

We’re still recovering from our whirlwind trip to the Beer Bloggers Conference, but here’s a few notes and my takeaway on the fifth annual conference that took place in San Diego this past weekend.

We left early Wednesday morning to drop the kids off in the Bay Area with Jon’s brother’s family and then the two of us took off to sunny San Diego early Thursday morning. The slowdown from an accident on the LA freeway seemed to follow us all the way to San Diego, yet we arrived around 6pm. After a few errands, we set off for the Blind Lady Ale House, which was recommended by Jon’s brother Ben. It took us a few minutes of trying to find parking and then we were at the entrance where the guy at the front door if we’d been there before (we had not), he then directed us on how to order from the bar and then find a spot at a communal table. We did just that and enjoyed a fig and Gorgonzola pizza with prosciutto added along with a salad.  It was just the right amount for us and we enjoyed the atmosphere after two solid days of driving. Once we got back to the hotel, we enjoyed a drink by the pool and relaxed with the soothing sounds of the waterfall.

Marriott Mission Valley pool

The next morning, we met a friend that we hadn’t seen in awhile for breakfast at the hotel and then met up with Tiffany from 99 Bottles to explore the Best Damn Beer Shop where we found some beers that we can’t find back in Bend. It was a successful trip.  We went back to the hotel just in time for registration.

At noon on Friday, the 5th annual Beer Blogger’s Conference got underway at the Marriott Mission Valley. For lunch, a taco bar was served that was sponsored by The Reyes Beverage Group for lunch with ice tea and of course, beer. After that was over, we headed over to the Dome and the Trade Show got underway with, you guessed it, more beer. You could tell it was the beginning of the conference because everyone was getting their bearings and introducing themselves while sampling beers and collecting swag from the sponsors (NBWA, Warsteiner, Goose Island, Sucuri, Craft Beer Hound,, .beer, Sip SnappReyes Beverage Group, Lagunitas Brewing, Stone Brewing, and Rogue Brewing). (I apologize if I left anyone out.)

BBC 14 trade show

By 3pm, we were back in the conference room and after a warm welcome by Alan from Zephyr Adventures, Julia Herz of the was giving her introduction of the conference. She’s always amazing to listen to and a wealth of knowledge. The next panel was of San Diego Craft Brewers and was an amazing talk involving Tomme Arthur from The Lost Abbey,  Chuck Silva from Green Flash Brewing Company and Peter Zien from AleSmith Brewing Company. Amazing discussion and we learned a lot of the San Diego Brewing history. We also gained insight into Social Media practices from Red Door Interactive before we hopped on the buses to Karl Strauss Brewing for dinner.

If you’ve never been to the tasting room for Karl Strauss on Santa Fe Street, make it a point to go. They have created a wonderful beer garden and we got to enjoy authentic street tacos and beer (I can’t remember the name of the lady sadly). There was a cooler of four beers for us to try, but it was also observed that many of us were buying taster trays and other full beers. I’d noticed a comment on Twitter #bbc14 that another blogger commented on how it was great seeing so many of the bloggers inside BUYING beer and taster trays instead of just taking advantage of the free beer provided with our meal. I totally agree and observed not just Jon buying a beer there, but lots of merchandise, etc. being purchased at all the places we went.

Karl Strauss beer garden

After dinner, I know Jon and I thoroughly enjoyed Chris Cramer’s (CEO and Co-Founder, Karl Strauss Brewing Company) talk about his company’s history and we both noted the similarity of Central Oregon’s history with Deschutes Brewing’s forging the way for industry growth in the city and when we introduced ourselves to Chris after his talk, we discussed Central Oregon’s history paralleling San Diego’s. Karl Strauss’s early struggles paved the way for San Diego’s rich brewing history. Bravo!

Karl Strauss

Day one was nearing a close, but we had to first go to Lagunitas‘s Couch Trippin’ party!  We arrived and the lights were dimmed and a band was playing!  There was a bunch of Lagunitas’s beer around the room and I tried (blindly, thanks Jon) Mandaraison and Farmhouse Sour. I liked the raison-y character of the Mandaraison, but I liked the Sour slightly better and got a glass of that to go with my cheese and dessert plate. They had a cool couching trippin’ video station in the corner and many bloggers took advantage to film themselves and watch themselves couch trippin’ on the screens that filled the room. We bloggers were the lucky ones hearing the exclusive announcement for their fresh hop beer, Born Yesterday. The fresh hop Pale Ale will soon be in bottles, with it hitting the stores within 24 hours after it’s packaged!!  We’re grateful Lagunitas took to the bloggers to announce this special beer!

Lagunitas Born Yesterday

BBC 14 Lagunitas party

A little while after the announcement, it was time for bed. It’d been a long few days for us and we’d wanted to rest up (and for Jon to blog) for the next day!!

Stay tuned for the 2nd half of the trip!