Last weekend I attended the first ever Beer Bloggers Conference. Instead of doing a full wrap-up, I plan to highlight some of the beers and/or learning moments that occurred while I was at the conference. The first is a session described as Live Beer Blogging… so, you may ask, “What is Live Beer Blogging, anyway?”
“Live Beer Blogging is a sort of round-robin, speed-dating event in which 12 breweries poured for 12 tables of bloggers. Each brewery started at a different table and had five minutes to pour, explain, and answer questions about their beer while the bloggers tasted, evaluated, and Tweeted or blogged about their opinions.”
While this sounds terribly fun, I have to admit to this being quite a challenge. Though I managed to type out some notes and not spill any beer on my laptop (wohoo), many found this to be just too short of a period of time to drink, think, and write anything coherent. My tweets said things like “wow” instead of being descriptive. It was difficult to listen, taste, type and even have time for more than a few sips. However, I was privledged to be able to try some of these excellent beers, and it was a very fun session – there was definitely lots of laughter. My rapid-fire notes from the event are below, followed by a summary of the entire event.
Great Divide -Oak Aged Yeti Imperial StoutDescribed as “big bold balanced flavors” as the goal. Smoky flavor, very chocolately and rich.
O’Dell Brewing Co. – Mountain Standard Double Black IPA – The brewers “wanted to focus on locally sourced ingredients… lots of independant hop growers in CO.” Organic cascade hops in this one. Beautiful label. Pours brown smells really nice and hoppy – 5lbs of hops per barrel. No kidding! Woah. This one has a really nice aftertaste – there’ss something about this that has a great crispiness. Best black IPA I’ve ever had.
Deschutes – Hop Trip – Harvest the “chrystal hops” (100% crystal hops), drive them to the brewery (thus, the “hop trip”) and when they arrive at the brewery, theyr’e in the boil in 15 minutes after arrival. Part of their “Bond St. Series” Really clean hop flavor. Nice and floral very pretty. Crispy. Very nice.
New Belgium – La Folie – 6% ABV This sour brown ale has an unbelievable aroma of sourness and hay – could smell this ALL day. Pings on my salivary glands and brings the sour to the party. According to the rep, this used to be hand bottled, but just a ton of work. Still made in small batches. Grabs you with vinegar and tartness and funk. I am bringing a bottle of this home, so look for a full review soon!
Breckenridge Brewery – Christmas Ale - Nice sugars there, definitely not a typically spicy beer. This might make a great one to bring to thanksgiving dinner. It’s like a brown with some additional character and body.
New planet – 3R Raspberry Ale- This smells like a raspberry tart – cooked raspberries vs. the typical raspberry sugars. A nice sweet offering. Very literal raspberry, I wish this had a little more hops in it… but its different. “only make gluten free, don’t do anything else in the beer market” pride ourselves on variety “off grid” pale ale coming out this winter. Each labels support a different environmental cause.
Dogfish Head – Worldwide Stout 2006. When I saw Mariah Calagione come around to our table with this I was delighted. About 18% ABV. Tastes of plums, raisins, and paired with dark chocolate nonpareils. Perfect. Cuts the alcohol and pairs wonderfuly.
Great Lakes – Edmund Fitzgerald Porter- Aside from making that song become stuck in my head once more, I didn’t know much about this beer before trying it. Apparently it is one of their unpasturized brews. Nice porter, but that’s not my favorite style. A little thin for me. (But that may be because it followed the World Wide Stout).
AC Golden – Colorado Native Lager – “American lager”. CO ingredients. (Owned by miller coors) All the barley comes from Co, hops from CO, yeast, lager the whole bit. Lagers. “Went for a lot of taste in this one” Added 3x early, whirpool and late. Reminds me of Schlennker lager – but for all that hopping, there isn’t a ton of body there.
Karl Strauss – Full Suit - Referring to the time of year when you know it’s “time to put your wetsuit on if you want to swim” San Diego, CA – saaz hops, whitelaps 550 belgian yeast, aged it with French oak chips. A bit nutty, a little earthy. Difficult to describe.
Windmer Bros. – BRRRbon - Smells like liquor – tastes caramely -a little vanilla in the taste too. A little too sweet to have multiple glasses of, but really interesting. I didn’t realize at the time that it was actually Rob Windmer pouring for us. Cool!
Rogue – Chocolate Stout – Smells like a hershey bar, this chocolate beer was poured by Sebby Buhler who’s ON THE LABEL. Smooth, milky and like a good glass of chocolate milk. A nice treat.
All and all this was a lot of fun – and I’m glad no one brought any taste-bud-numbing IPAs to the party, or else we would have had a really hard time tasting 12 beers in a row. I left the session very happy , and ready for dinner that followed. A cool idea, and definitely a fun part of the conference.
For another blogger’s perspective on the same event (with pictures!) check out Brewpublic’s post on “speed blogging.” Cheers!