I leave for the third annual U.S. Beer Bloggers Conference (BBC12) on Thursday, so I thought I’d better get myself organized a bit; the way work is rocking I know I won’t have time to be sensible during the week. There are all sorts of intriguing factors. I’ll be sharing a room with Lindsay from adventuresinbeerland.net, who writes a good local craft beer blog, mostly reviews. Lindsay genuinely loves craft brewing and knows how to do it, and it shows.
I thought I’d look up my fellow conference attendees; the organizers, Zephyr Adventures (who hail from my old stomping grounds in Red Lodge, MT), publish a list of the attendees and their blogs as well as lists of all the U.S. and international citizen beer blogs they can find. (I’m on that list!) It’s dizzying. About 120 beer bloggers will be at the conference, but there are more than 900 beer blogs in the U.S. alone! And then if you scroll down far enough there’s the whole rest of the world…clearly I have some catching up to do. Industry beer bloggers get their own list.
Because I am old school, I believe in system backups. I’ve got all the agendas, directions and in print, on my thumb drive, and I’ll probably load them on my phone. After last week’s painful derecho storm recovery, I’m not taking anything for granted – and I’m not missing the sponsored dinners in World Class Beer‘s warehouse or the Tomlinson Tap Room, either!
The event starts informally in Chicago with a pub crawl. The next morning they pour us on a bus and drive us down to Lafayette Brewing Company in Indiana, which is hosting a lunch for us. I have a sheet prepared for tasting notes already; they have eight house brews, one of which is something cask conditioned, another of which is whatever specialty ale they have available. Theoretically, after all that and about five hours on a bus, we’ll be fit and ready to check into our Marriott and into the 2012 Beer Bloggers Conference!
(Is it very rude of me not to link the Marriott’s site? They already have so much press…)
The next two and a half days will be spent with dreary, difficult activities like networking with breweries, distributors, retailers, and international beer importers; comparing beer and glass tasting with Spiegelau, the preeminent maker of barware and beer glasses; and a live beer blogging session in which we get to review 10 beers in 50minutes! I’ll be tweeting that one like crazy, and I bet my compatriots will be too;
watch for it (5:45pm Central time on Friday). Once and for all I can decide whether I think a stemmed pilsner (in crystal) is the very best beer tasting glass. And they say we’ll walk to dinner after that – hah!
The Indiana Microbrewers Festival is that weekend, and the Brewers of Indiana Guild are sponsoring our entry fees as well as hosting us at the Tomlinson Tap Room for dinner. This is not a homebrewing competition, I have no entries involved. Which is just as well, I’d be nervous as a cat; this way I’ll be able to focus on blogging. The Indiana Guild seems robust, to say the least. I’m looking forward to meeting some of these folks, who lobbied hard (apparently) to get BBC12 to Indiana and are doing so much to make us welcome.
Saturday ends with a Night of Many Bottles, a giant beer-bottle swap among the participants. Should be interesting getting the beers there. I can’t wait to see what I come home with! I bet many of you can’t either. What shall I take with me for the Night of Many Bottles, do you think? Stay tuned…
Anyway, it’s going to be a fun, busy few days in which I expect to learn a ton and taste about a zillion beers. I promise to keep good notes, or else I won’t be able to tell you a darn thing about any of them. This will be the most time I’ve ever spent in Indiana, though I don’t expect to be able to tell you a lot beyond some great restaurants and breweries, and how hot it is in summer.