Jon and I woke up refreshed and renewed for Day 2 of the conference and were excited about our breakout sessions. He went to the WordPress.com session and I went to the Beer Blog Photography session. I learned quickly that this was over my head because the focus seemed to be on how to get the perfect shot with lenses/tripods, etc. I immediately thought of Gina Schauland, who is an amazing photographer and Bend Brew Daddy’s Beertography, and how much they would have gotten out of this session. I learned on the Twitter #bbc14 feeds that I was not the only one who felt the topic was a bit over their head and others wanted to know about how to maximize cell phone photos for their blog. It was a great session overall and I enjoyed learning.
Jon and I were both in the next session together, Beer Journalism Ethics. Alan McCormick from Growler Fills led the panel with Jay Brooks and Brandon Hernandez. It was a great discussion and I’m glad to know that most bloggers disclose if they get something free or discounted, like Jon does, as I personally think that’s the right thing to do (in exchange for a discounted rate to accompany Jon to the conference for a different perspective than he gains from this conference, a few blog posts before and after from me are warranted, which I’m happy to do). And thank you Dolly at The Growler Guys for the t-shirts that we wore during the conference.
Turns out, I was quite hungry as we arrived to the Yard House for lunch. After a little mis-communication of downstairs vs. upstairs, we settled downstairs for small bites and then once a warm welcome was had, I raced upstairs for some cider, sour, and to my surprise, Framboise on tap! I took them back downstairs to finish my lunch and was satisfied with some good food & drink! That followed with a very cool (literally) tour inside the cooler that houses 130-140 taps (depending on the restaurant).
We arrived back to the hotel in time for Ken Grossman’s Keynote speech. I loved hearing about his journey with Sierra Nevada and how they are continuing growth by building a new location in North Carolina. To me, it seems the theme of the mainstay, older craft breweries seemed to have the same struggles and overcame it with persistence, patience, and a determination for the love of the craft.
After Ken’s speech and before the main evening events, came Cindy Molcheny’s presentation of Advanced Social Media strategies. Then on to the event I was looking forward to: Live Beer Blogging. It’s fast paced and you have to be quick on your feet to come up with a tweet/instagram/live-blog. Your table gets five minutes with a brewer to describe their beer to you and like in the Portland session, it fast and quite fun. Look at our instagram/twitter feed for descriptions as well as Jon’s live blogging post. One thing to note: in addition to the beers, we had a variety of beer bread from Boardwalk Food Company, the 4 types of bread were all fantastic. I enjoyed Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout warm vs. cold and really wanted to spend more time with the Mexican hot chocolate beer, but that was our last one and we had to hurry to catch the bus for Stone Brewing.
I’m glad we did hurry as we were on not just buses, but PARTY buses! Once we got to Stone Brewing in Liberty Station, the magic happened! We were told we must have our badges on and we also got Stone Brewing badges with ten 4-ounce pours of any of their amazing beers. We quickly filled up our glasses, grabbed some of the dinner they provided and wandered about the property. I’ve been to Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido several times before and this property is just as impressive. I would love to come down to San Diego area and have lunch at both Stone properties. They are both experiences.
On the way home, the party bus became an experience in itself! I noted balloons were added from the ride there and once we were on our way, the music pumped through the bus. A beer social from our sponsors (some with different beers) was awaiting us when we got back to the hotel. We met David Walker from Firestone Walker while drinking Parabola. The party continued for a bottle share.
We represented our town of Bend, Oregon with beers you can only get within the general area, Ale Apothecary‘s Sahalie and El Cuatro, Crux Fermentation Project‘s first bottling of Doublecross, and Boneyard‘s Suge Knite. Like the Portland bottle share, epic! Trying beers from all over the county is a fun one! After pulling ourselves from the fun, we retired for the night.
The next day for the blogger reports, the room was noticeably empty, but filled up more so for Marketing in the beer industry and the cooperative blogger reports. A few more exclusive beers (including Hunahpu Imperial Stout, Viking Blod, and a green Berlinerweisse beer in a can from Cycle Brewing) was passed around the tables for those to try. A strong focus on blogging is a great way to conclude the conference.
Once the conference was over, we opted for a trip to Alpine Beer Company for lunch (about 30 minutes out of our way), but were disappointed once we got there and we saw it was closed (HINT: look all the way around the building, we found out about an hour later… the brewery was closed, but the pub on the other side of the building was OPEN!, we were obviously spent if we didn’t walk 2 doors down… sigh!). A quick trip around LA and back up to the Bay area was our Sunday afternoon.
Monday morning brought opportunity and a trip up to Santa Rosa for Russian River Brewing made up for the disappointment of the day before. Jon had a taster tray and I had a glass of Consecration. Yummy food was consumed with the beverages before a long trip back home to Bend. Just before midnight on Monday, we pulled into our garage. 2155 miles in six days with a conference mixed in there.
My takeaway: The beer community is an amazing community (and not just this past week). Everyone from the owners, brewers, brewery/pub people, bloggers, etc. are amazing. They are eager, genuine, generous, knowledgeable and wanting to share that knowledge, and friendly. I’m glad my husband is a part of this community thus I’m there at times to share and learn and become a small part of the community with expanding my repertoire and finding out I like more than I say/think that I do.