Day Two, Saturday, July 27:
The day started at 9:30 with a full morning of presentations. First we went over the Current State of Beer Blogging Survey Results. Next up was a panel of industry beer bloggers, featuring representatives from Schlafly, Woodchuck, The Bruery, and Oskar Blues. As someone who blogs about beer, it was interesting to hear the perspectives of some folks who are actually in the industry, to listen to their experiences and advice. Then came the Mechanics of Beer Pouring with Franck Evers of Heineken. What beer drinker hasn’t gone to a bar and gotten a really bad pour? Mr. Evers schooled us on how to pour the perfect beer. He was quite the entertaining presenter! He called on a few bloggers in the audience to give it a try for themselves, and it was obvious it’s not always as easy as it looks. It was a fun session, and by the end it was time to go have some lunch, courtesy of the National Beer Wholesalers Association. And, of course, everything was paired with beer. What was on the menu?
- Gazpacho, paired with Rogue Brutal IPA
- Crab Cake with Fennel Salad, paired with Stillwater Stateside Saison (mine was tofu, as I do not eat meat)
- Bbq Skirt Steak with Roasted Sweet Potato, paired with Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot (mine was simply a plate of roasted vegetables)
- Boston Cream Pie, paired with Allagash Black
Full and happy, we gathered for one more session: Social Media Best Practices, where we got some tips from the presenters (and other bloggers) on how to effectively reach our audiences by using social media tools. We then got on buses for our Live Beer Blogging Event at Burke Distributing in Randolph, MA. When we arrived, representatives from fourteen breweries were waiting for us, each with one of their beers to share with us. The event was set up so that the breweries had 5 minutes at each table of bloggers–they poured us samples and gave us information about the beer and the breweries. Meanwhile, bloggers were tweeting as the tastings were happening. It was compared to speed dating but with beer tasting. I thoroughly enjoyed this event. I learned about so many new (to me) breweries and sampled a wide variety of beers. My favorites were Backlash‘s Catalyst Double IPA and Shipyard Bourbon Barrel Aged Monkey Fist IPA, the latter of which combined two of my great loves: barrel aging and IPA!
We then hopped back on the buses for Harpoon Brewery for a beer pairing dinner. I have to say that everything about this experience was perfect from the moment we arrived. There were ladies handing out beer as we walked through the front doors, giving us the choice between two different IPAs (!). Then they gave us pretzels with spicy mustard to snack on while we learned about the history of Harpoon with Rich Doyle. And then it was off to dinner in the Beer Hall. There was an abundance of food on the tables, as well as a flight of three beers to pair with cheeses. Plus we were invited to try any/all of their other beers on tap.
The menu consisted of:
- Grilled Sweet Corn & Avocado Salad, paired with UFO Raspberry
- Red Bliss Potato Salad with Creamy Leviathan IPA Dressing, paired with Harpoon IPA
- Green Bean Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Feta, & Red Onions in an Italian Vinaigrette, paired with White IPA
- Roma Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella, & Basil Grilled Flatbread, paired with UFO White
- Char Grilled Midsummer Fling Bbq Chicken with Ancho Chili Bbq Sauce, paried with Midsummer Fling (the vegetarian option was Qunioa cakes)
The folks at Harpoon really went above and beyond for all the bloggers. They were extremely generous, and I greatly appreciated it. To see more photos of the Beer Hall, meal, and more; click this link to view.
It had been a long day. But there is always time for a little more beer! So, back to the Park Plaza for a Beer Social, where I got to try several more brews, many of which I don’t have access to in Colorado. While I can’t remember all the nice people who provided us with beer, I know I sampled some from Dogfish Head, Florida Beer Company, Karl Strauss Brewing Company (whose Big Barrel Double IPA was fantastic), and many more.
It was a packed, fun-filled day for sure. While I was aware that many bloggers intended on extending the evening into the wee hours of the morning, I decided it would be in my best interest to get some sleep so I could be good and ready for Sunday.