Monday, November 29, 2010

Beer Bloggers Conference and Where did November go?

Where has November gone? I can't believe it is nearly December 1st (my birthday) already.

I attended the 1st Annual International Beer Bloggers conference the first weekend of November, then immediately headed out of town to help my father move. When I returned I was working on the final touches for my first beer/food pairing event (next post) at the Sun Rose Cafe, then Thanksgiving and now head cold.

Between the long time lag, a million posts by the other 100+ attendees and my head cold, this blog post will be short.

I enjoyed the entire conference, had a great time, met some great people and learned a lot. I took 144 photos and will post a few here.

After checking in on Friday afternoon, a few of us headed over to Avery Brewing for lunch (liquid or otherwise). The folks at Avery were super nice to us and treated us to a tour of their barrel room along with a few tasters.

The Friday afternoon conference sessions were really good - Julia Hert from the Brewers Association, Jessica Daynor from Draft Magazine and SEO expert, Dustin Woodard. I thought they all did an excellent job and provided a lot of useful tips.

Oskar Blues hosted us for dinner/beers that evening. We were also treated to a brewery tour.

Then, onto Bottle Night back at the hotel. This was a blast! Everyone brought beer from their home state or region to share. Avery Brewing donated a ton of beer! There was enough beer for hundreds of people and we only had two hours.

The 1st beer I tried at Bottle night was my favorite! Upright Brewery's Four Play (Portland,OR) presented by Taplister:

Jennie Chen (Austin, TX) also known as MisoHungry made us homemade cupcakes that were to die for. A big thanks to Jennie.

Here is a photo of Jennie (our chef) and Eli Shayotovich from BeerTapTV

BeerTapTV setup live tweets from BBC10 during Bottle Night. These were in real time and super fun(ny).

Another beer I really enjoyed - presented by the Beer Babe(If I remember correctly):

One of the Saturday morning presentations (Room 214):

Erik and his crew from the Bull & Bush Pub invite us up to their suite for a beer and pizza party. We were offered Abo's Pizza, tons of beer, pretzels with homemade beer mustard and homemade beer ice cream.

Greg Koch, CEO of Stone Brewing, was our afternoon speaker. He brought us bottles of not-yet released Lukcy Basartd Ale for all us try.

Next up was Live Beer blogging - see earlier post.

Then on to dinner and a brewery tour at Boulder Beer Company.

Last photo of the night: Eric Steen from Beer and SciFi and Focus on the Beer enjoying (?) a Coors Light:

After dinner was the 'Mall Crawl' - 5 bars/breweries had agreed to give us all free beer as we 'crawled' along Pearl Street. I only made it out for a short time to the first pub, West End Tavern.

Sunday was another good day of presentations.

That's all I can write today. I highly recommend attending this great conference next year in Portland, OR and/or London, UK.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Live Beer Blogging at Beer Bloggers Conference

We had 12 breweries present their beer to the bbc10 attendees in one hour. It was fast and furious. The following I wrote live, the photos were added later:

New Belgium
La Folie 2010
Aged in French Oak Barrels
6% ABV

Yum. I love sour beers! This is one of New Beligium's Lips of Faith beers. Copper colored with a red hue. Aged 1-3 years. Very nice sour brown ale.

Breckenridge Brewery
Christmas Ale
7.4% ABV

This beer did not have spices added to it. All spice flavor comes from the hops - Chinook and Mt. Hood. Nice holiday ale that isn't a spiced beer. Personally, I am not a big fan of spiced beers so I like this one. Balanced and doesn't taste like a high alcohol beer. Breckenridge Brewery has been using the same recipe since 1993.

New Planet Beer
3R Raspberry Ale

Certified Gluten free beer. Won a bronze medal at GABF 2010. Contract brewed at Fort Collins Brewery. Nice beer with a light raspberry flavor. 5% ABV

Dogfish Head
World Wide Stout

18% ABV

Nice strong Stout that doesn't taste nearly as strong as it is.

Great Lakes Brewing
Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
5.8% ABV

Nice chocolate flavor. Very nice. Great Lakes doesn't pasturerize any of their beers which limits their ability to distribute in all states. Available throughout the great lakes area and mid-atlantic.

AC Golden Brewing Company
Colorado Native
5.5% ABV

All local Colorado ingredients are used. Brewed in the old pilot brewery for Coors.

Karl Strauss
Belgium-Style Brown Ale
6.3% ABV

Winter seasonal
Aged for 2 weeks in french oak - brings out a little vanilla flavor. Only available in Southern California. Would go pair really nice with a Thanksgiving Turkey. Yum.

Widmer Brothers Brewing
Brothers Reserve
9.5% ABV

Barrel-aged Brrrbon

Lots of cascade hops aged for 4 months in bourbon barrels. Pretty tasty for a high ABV beer - it doesn't taste like a 9.5%ABV.

Rogue Ale
Rogue Chocolate Stout
6.2% ABV

Unfiltered, unpasturized beer. Launched originally (in 2000) as a seasonal but now a year-round beer. Great chocolate taste. Lots of roasted malts. Pairs with Blue Cheese, Beef and Ice Cream floats.

Great Divide
Yeti Oak Aged Imperial Stout
9.5% ABV

Chocolate aroma and really nice taste. Doesn't taste like a 9.5% ABV.

Odell Brewing Co.
Mountain Standard Double Black IPA
9.5% ABV

Hop-focused. Nice hoppy black ales. Released today at 4:30PM Mtn to the public. The first few tables at BBC10 had it before the rest of the world! Cool.

Deschutes Brewery
Hop Trip
5.5% ABV

6th largest craft brewer
2 flagships - Black Butte and Mirror Pond Pale Ale

Fresh hop pale ale. Crystal hops (100%). Citrus/Orangey flavor. The bottle we are tasting is about 10 days old.

Okay, had 12 beers in one hour. Sorry for the sketchy notes. Room was loud and drinking/blogging was fast (1 hour).


Next up Dinner at Boulder Beer Company. Here we come!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ales for Females Beer Club Nov'10

I attended the monthly beer club at Left Hand Brewing earlier this week. The topic for November is Harvest Beer and Food.

Eric Wallace made recommendations on how to pair food with beer. He said you want to make sure that the intensity of each are equal. Then, you can pair them because they have complementary flavors or because they have contrasting flavors or both.

The food/beer pairing presented to us included:

Left Hand's Black Jack Porter paired with a Mushroom Ravioli with a little olive oil and some shaved 2 yr old Parmesan cheese.

The earthiness of the mushroom complements the golden hops in the Porter. The malty sweetness and bready characteristics go nicely with the aged cheese.

Next up was Lakefront Brewery's Pumpkin Lager paired with homemade Pumpkin Pie (made by Eric's daughter). The Pumpkin Lager was so lightly spiced that it actually was overpowered by the pumpkin pie.

Then, we had Left Hand's Haystack Wheat paired with homemade cranberry sauce. The cranberry sauce had lots of citrus in it. The tartness of the cranberries were softened by the Wheat beer. The Haystack Wheat has a hints of banana, clove and nutmeg. The cranberry sauce knocked out the banana flavor. This was a very balanced pairing.

As usual, I then tried mixing and matching the pairings to see what else worked and didn't work well together.

Cranberry sauce went well with the Pumpkin Lager, as well as the Haystack Wheat.
Pumpkin Pie paired really nicely with Porter.
Mushroom Ravioli went great with the Porter.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Big Beaver Brewing Co.

I stopped by the new brewery, Big Beaver, in Loveland last week.

Big Beaver Brewery bills itself as a 'Loveland Community Brewery'. Members commit to purchase at least 2 growlers per month ($9/growler or $18/month). Membership has it's privileges ... members may make special requests for beers and they also have access to special releases.

Big Beaver did a soft launch on Oct 8th and signed up 100 members! Currently, their tap room is only open on Fridays 4-8PM and Saturdays 12-8PM.

I ordered the sampler, which included:
Wonder Wiener Wheat - a Bavarian wheat beer
Bust-A-Nut Brown Ale - 'brewed in the northern England tradition with strong malt characters'
Big Beaver Bock - classic Munich Bock (with Saaz hops)
Woodchuck Bock

They were out of their Shave Tail Ale. The Wonder Wiener Wheat was quite tasty while the Big Beaver Bock had an unusual aroma (but tasted okay).

The Brewer, Peter Villeneuve, Ph.D

The tap room was small (6 barstools) but the people were friendly. They even let me bring my dog inside! :)

Stop by the next time you are in Loveland, CO.